We are working with great people with a strong motivation to teach and learn. Here you can read more about the Coding Club team and our collaborators.

Gergana Daskalova

I am a PhD student with a research focus in global change ecology. I am interested in biodiversity change, global change drivers, conservation and agroecology. For my PhD research, I am conducting an attribution analysis of biodiversity change on local and global scales to determine if land use change explains biodiversity trends. I am absolutely fascinated by the power of good education in helping people reach and exceed their potential and dream big. My own dream is to become a lecturer and researcher at least as inspirational and empowering as the mentors that I have been fortunate to have so far. For more information, check out my personal website and Twitter account @gndaskalova. I am part of the NERC E3 Doctoral Training Programme at the University of Edinburgh and I'm also a Carnegie scholar.

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Sandra Angers-Blondin

I have recently completed my PhD at the University of Edinburgh, studying the growth responses of tundra plants to climate change. I love to share my passion for nature and science, be it through outreach, photography, social media, or teaching. I’ve been a tutor for the Coding Club for over two years, and I love that I get to learn new things every week by helping other participants solve their coding challenges! I am now working on developing our brand new online course set to launch in 2020 (stay tuned…).

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John Godlee

I am a PhD student from the University of Edinburgh where I research the canopy structure of savanna ecosystems and its relationship with biodiversity. I have used R on a range of projects, from analysing employee satisfaction data for a private equity firm to mining linguistic transcripts for speech patterns. Through my own work, I have gained experience in using R for statistical modelling, mapping, and data manipulation. I have experience designing sustainable projects through my work in nature conservation and as the student representative for the University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences. I’m very interested in the role of open-source and collaborative technology in academia. I am part of the NERC E3 Doctoral Training Programme.

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Izzy Rich

I am a fourth year undergraduate student studying Ecological and Environmental Sciences. My main interests involve using data and statistics to understand and help create a more renewable and sustainable energy sector. Currently, I am working on my undergraduate dissertation, which looks at the extent to which socio-economic events can be linked to land-use change through satellite data. I started coming to Coding Club in 2017 and the journey since then has provided me with an insurmountable love for data that I can’t help but share! I hope that I can use my journey to inspire others and help conquer their coding anxieties, too!

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Beverly Tan

I’m a final year Ecological and Environmental Sciences with management undergraduate student, and interested in the use of technology such as unoccupied aerial vehicles (UAVs) in conservation, environmental and ecological sciences. I also have a passion for learning about new programs and software: I was first introduced to R in Year 2, started regularly attending Coding Club in 2017, and have familiarity with other programs such as ArcGIS and Pix4Dmapper. The Coding Club team, and the friendly and accepting environment has played a key role in inspiring me to boldly take on these ventures I never thought possible, and I am happy to join the team and hopefully inspire my peers to do the same.

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Declan Valters

I am a Research Software Engineer working in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. I help researchers to write better scientific code, so that they can solve their research questions more efficiently with the right programming tools and methods. I've worked on a variety of software projects including numerical flood modelling, topographic analysis, land-surface modelling, and scientific workflow management. I occasionally blog about scientific programming at https://dvalts.io and tweet about programming under @dvalts. My favourite languages are Python, C++, and Fortran. I originally studied for an undergraduate degree and PhD in Earth sciences, but have since become a full-time software developer.

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Haydn Thomas

I’m a third year NERC E3 DTP PhD student investigating the causes and consequences of vegetation change in the tundra biome. My research requires a range of coding tools and software, from using GitHub repositories to hierarchical Bayesian modelling (which I still haven’t quite grasped yet!). I had never even used R before starting my PhD, so a course like this earlier on in my research career would have been immensely valuable: this is a great opportunity to pass on the skills I have learnt onto others. I have a large amount of teaching experience, both as a tutor for Masters and Undergraduate course and as a demonstrator in previous statistics classes, and have been previously nominated for a teaching award.

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Pedro Miranda

I'm a PhD student investigating the main floristic patterns and their environmental drivers in Lowland Tropical South America and how these patterns will change due to climate change. Through my project, I gained experience in handling large quantities of data in R, as well as in using different R packages and clustering methods. I began to consistently use this software in my research when I started my PhD and, because of this, I see how valuable an initiative such as Coding Club is for students and young researchers who want/need to acquire coding and data management skills in R.

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Gabriela Hajduk

I’m an evolutionary behavioural ecologist, with a particular interest in reproductive and social behaviours. I’m currently doing my PhD at the University of Edinburgh working on the superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus). The main focus of my project is to explore the dynamics of inbreeding and infidelity, investigating context-dependent mate choice and the effects of the social environment in this cooperative breeder. Most of my time is spent working with a long-term dataset and modeling in R, however I also carry out fieldwork investigating the interactions between fairy-wren mothers and their sons in Australia. For more information, please see my website.

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Kat Keogan

I am an ecologist interested in the effects of environmental change on marine ecosystems. For my PhD I am studying breeding phenology in seabirds, and the way in which they respond to changing conditions. I am researching the patterns, drivers and mechanisms of breeding phenology in a range of seabird species with diverse life history traits. I’m particularly interested in phenological trends on a global scale, and looking for patterns across phylogenetic groups or regions that might help us predict how species respond to environmental change. You can find more information here.

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Dr Isla Myers-Smith

Dr Isla Myers-Smith is a senior lecturer in the Ecological and Environmental Sciences Programme at the University of Edinburgh and winner of the EUSA teaching award for innovative assessment for the course Conservation Science. She works with large-scale ecological data to understand global change in tundra ecosystems and biodiversity change across the globe. She is particularly interested in how to encourage the development of quantitative skills to keep up with the rapid advances in statistics and programming in the field of ecology. Check out TeamShrub's website and blog for updates on their research.

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Dr Kyle Dexter

Dr Kyle Dexter is a Lecturer in Plant Ecology at the University of Edinburgh and a Research Associate at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Much of his teaching focuses on statistics, at the undergraduate, masters and Ph.D. levels, while he also teaches forest ecology and a field course on plant and invertebrate identification. His research focuses on large-scale eco-evolutionary studies of tropical plants. He completed his Ph.D. in the USA and a postdoctoral fellowship in France prior to moving to the UK and thus has experience with a variety of pedagogical environments. For more information, check out the research group's website.

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Dr Christina Coakley

Dr Christina Coakley is a University Teacher within the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. She has created a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to develop a basic understanding of the R Statistical Software among undergraduate students and fully supports the advancement of quantitative teaching through in-person and online distance learning.

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We are very keen to connect with people around the world who are also interested in promoting skills in statistics and programming and would love to organise collaborative workshops, so feel free to get in touch with us.

Francesca Mancini

Francesca is a PhD student from the University of Aberdeen, where she uses computational methods and non-conventional data sources to study sustainability of socio-ecological systems. Francesca is also the leader of the Aberdeen Study Group and together we organised Coding Club's first joint workshop on quantifying population change and visualising species occurrence. You can read more about our joint workshop on the Team Shrub blog and Francesca's blog. We look forward to working together again in the future!

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Koenraad van Meerbeek

I am a postdoc at the Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in a changing world at Aarhus University in Denmark. My PhD at the University of Leuven (Belgium) was about the link between nature conservation and bioenergy production. Now, I am studying the effects of global change drivers (climate change, invasive species) on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning on a global scale. I am also interested in how to best design nature conservation in the future. As a nature conservation manager of a protected area in Belgium, I also have practical experience in protecting the regional biodiversity. I really love statistics and I try to learn as much as possible (so much to learn!). By teaching and developing tutorials, I want to pass on this fascination to other people. I will soon move to fixed position in Belgium, where I will be teaching courses like Ecology, Botany and Ecological data processing (statistics!).

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Max Farrell

Max Farrell is a PhD student in the Biology Department at McGill University. His research merges theory and tools from macroecology, computational statistics, and biodiversity genomics to study interactions between hosts and parasites. You can check out the `Stan` tutorial we developped with Max here.

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Coding Club Alumni

Coding Club is approaching its third birthday! Time has passed and some of our members have graduated and continued onto further adventures!

Claudia Meca

I'm in my 4th (and last!) year of my undergraduate degree in Ecological and Environmental Sciences. My interests lie in sustainable development and peaceful coexistence with nature i.e. permaculture and my passion is definitely wildlife conservation! My dissertation will focus on biodiversity changes and ecosystem interactions across altitudes, with access to data from cloud forests in Peru and alpine tundra in Canada. For this, I will of course, be using R. I was introduced to R two years ago and since then have become fascinated by with what computers can produce with a simple script of code. It has been a love-hate relationship (but mostly love) and I want to show as many people as possible that coding is not as abstract or inaccessible as it looks!

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Sam Kellerhals

I'm an undergraduate in my final year studying ecological & environmental sciences at the University of Edinburgh, with my honours project focusing on quantifying the above-ground carbon stored in Arctic ecosystems. Over the years I've delved into many projects, from founding Elpis Solar, a non-profit developing solar-powered infrastructure for refugee camps, to establishing the Edinburgh Mindfulness Ambassador Award and Social Innovation Forum. Coding Club is a unique opportunity for students across the department of Geosciences to broaden their knowledge and advance their field through working at the intersection of Environmental Science and Informatics. I am excited to be part of this journey!

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Eleanor Walker

I am currently in my fourth year studying Ecological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Having proficient coding skills promises to become of more importance as I enter my final year. In particular, to aid with independent research projects such as my dissertation. Being a class representative for my degree programme has given me the opportunity to talk to peers about potential ways to increase student support in this area. Joining a research expedition this summer lead by Dr Isla Myers-Smith has taught me valuable techniques such as technical expertise, data analysis and ethics in the field, while enabling me to work with a team of scientist who are experts in their field.

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Joe Boyle

I’m a fourth-year ecology student looking for ways to improve my R skills without having to read books about it alone in a darkened room. I've been a member of Team Shrub since November 2014, including the 2015 field season, from which I gained direct experience in scientific practice, including some coding. I’ve been trying to practice R whenever I can, but it’s difficult to know what’s possible of myself and the software without some outside help. Considering how important R is for modern ecology, this course should give me some of the skills I need to improve both my final year’s work and anything beyond.

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We are always looking for new ideas and feedback.

We are very keen to discuss ways to innovate teaching in quantitative analysis and are also happy to share our experience in creating and leading Coding Club. Feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback: we would really appreciate your input!