Welcome on board! This document provides information about the first few steps that you should take to become a member of the group. It includes pointers to many other parts of the SOP, that will provide you more detailed information.

Resources and access:#

  1. Get on Slack

We use Slack for immediate communications between members of the team. Ask Ariel to add you to the group slack.

  1. Get on GitHub

We use git and GitHub to keep track of our projects. Create a GitHub user-name here and ask Ariel to add you to the teams and projects relevant to your work.

  1. Get on AWS

We use Amazon Web Services for some projects. If you need credentials to AWS to do your work, as Ariel to give you the access.


While we try to vigorously apply the principal of least privilege, so that you have only the access you really need to do your work, please take care of any AWS credentials you might receive. Please do not post them anywhere public (don’t commit them to a git repo!) and report any breach that happens, as soon as you discover it (if you commited credentials, let someone know as soon as possible!)

  1. Key-card access to CHN space. Ask Ariel to email the building manager with your UW student/employee number.

Getting to know the work of the lab#

If you are interested in working with us and want to know a bit more about the work that we do, and learn how to do it, a good place to start is our onboarding repo.

Designing a individual development program#

An individual development program (or IDP) is a methodology used to set goals for mentorship interactions. The IDP is a “living document” that records both goals (long-term and short-term) and concrete plans to achieve these goals. As the name implies, the goal of the IDP is specifically the development of the individual and focuses on the things that the person wants to learn and achieve. It is developed in collaboration with a supervisor and balances a person’s interests and individual goals with their obligations (e.g., courses that are required, teaching that needs to get done, other kinds of goals), though these may sometimes be correlated. A good plan would support both a set of consistent long-term goals, as well as shifting targets for short-term and long-term. Keeping track of changes in the IDP provides a good way to track how a person’s interests and goals are changing over time, providing useful material for individual reflection. There are a variety of templates that can be used.

As a general rule, we should try to revisit the IDP twice a year, using a one-on-one meeting with Ariel to discuss these changes. These meeting should take place at reasonable points in time: at the beginning of end of large cycles of work (e.g., end of a project, end of an academic year, or its beginning). It is jointly the responsible of Ariel and the person in question to make sure that these updates happen.

To download a Word template file click here. This template provides a good starting point for writing an IDP, with some links out to additional resources.

If you are a student and you need further career guidance, it might also be a good idea to seek counseling on this topic from the UW Counseling Center.

Training in responsible conduct of research#

There are many ways to get training on responsible conduct of research at UW. At the very least, everyone in the group is required to undergo CITI training as part of their onboarding process. Instructions are available on this webpage. In addition, there are courses that you can take to fulfill the requirements of particular training programs (e.g., some fellowships require extensive training on the topic). Some resources on this topic are available on this page. In addition, given the work that we do, it is a good idea to take a course specifically about data science ethics. There is a list on this page.

Mentoring philosophy#

The goal of scientific mentorship is for trainees to develop their ability to conduct independent research. The starting point varies between individual trainees, and mentorship must meet every mentee where they are. Growing in indepenence and ability entails encouraging a growth mindset, the outlook that argues that every individual can change their skills and abilities with learning and experience. This entails providing challenging research objectives to achieve and providing the means and guidance to achieve these objectives. At the same time, mentorship of individual trainees needs to be designed to help them meet their own individual goals, while also pursuing the goals of our overall research program. A research program as broad and ambitious as the one that we pursue at the NRDG can accommodate individuals with many different goals, and get them closer to discovering and achieving these disparate goals. For example, trainees may be interested to explore different options for the career path that they would pursue, and the mentorship and training that will be provided should be tailored to prepare them for the career path of their choice.