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Scholarship recipient reflections on RDAP 2024 - Casey Mckenna

April 24, 2024 11:20 AM | Jennifer Chaput (Administrator)

My name is Casey Mckenna. I am a graduate student with Syracuse University’s iSchool, pursuing my MLIS. I take my courses online and am anticipating a graduation date of June, 2025. I was granted an opportunity to attend the RDAP conference, due to the generosity of the scholarship committee, donors and sponsors. I could not be more grateful that I, along with my fellow recipients, were offered this experience. The week began when my Summit Buddy, Erin Foster, a Research Data Management Lead at the University of California, Berkeley reached out to me. We shared bits about our backgrounds, experiences and our draw to RDAP. A few days later, we met over Zoom. With Erin on the West Coast, and me on the East Coast, I was reminded of how wonderful it is that we live in a world where we can connect with bright minds, regardless of location.

Having the opportunity to connect with a mentor within the community was important to me, as I am going through a bit of a career pivot, and have been hoping to connect with someone who was interested in having some conversations about their own experience. I have been both a mentee and mentor over the past eight years in particular, and truly enjoy the partnership that mentoring can bring. The committee did an excellent job of providing the schedule in advance, in order to give attendees the opportunity to plan which sessions they’d like to attend. I felt the presentations offered an array of experiences and projects, from individuals who have been in Research, Data, Access and Preservation roles for the entirety of their careers, to newcomers like me, receiving their MLIS degrees. I appreciated the diversity of the presentations, presenters, attendees and overall RDAP community.

I opted into two pre-summit courses, one on Python and the other on NIST RDaF Toolkit. Through taking these courses at the start of the summit, I began to tie my newer knowledge of coding languages to concepts I am learning in a new role. I appreciated that this conference allowed me to take what I learned back to real-life situations. As I entered each session, I reminded myself to be mindful of noticing where the conference's theme, ‘Bridging Boundaries: Interoperability in the Data Community,’ came up in each presentation.

In regards to the platform used for this summit, it was my first time encountering Pheedloop. I noted the incredible ease of use, and accessibility options. It was clear that this platform was thoughtfully designed, to ensure all attendees had the tools they needed for the duration of the conference. Channels had been created to communicate with fellow-first time attendees, giving us an opportunity to reach out to tech support and view recommended journal articles and resources. Upon completion of the summit, I was able to connect with several presenters and attendees, who I hope to both learn from and support moving forward. I’m excited about the year ahead, as a first time member of RDAP.

I’d like to extend my gratitude to the RDAP Association, the RDAP Sponsorship and Membership Action Committees, Joshua Finnell, Elsevier, Center for Open Science, Cornell University Library, Dryad, Iowa State University Libraries, University of Illinois Libraries and University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.


The RDAP community brings together a variety of individuals, including data managers and curators, librarians, archivists, researchers, educators, students, technologists, and data scientists from academic institutions, data centers, funding agencies, and industry who represent a wide range of STEM disciplines, social sciences, and humanities.


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