Thea Atwood is a librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has been involved in the research process since 2005, when she pursued an independent study and honors thesis in letter learning, the importance of writing, and the associated brain activity, measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). After graduating from Indiana University in 2007 with her B.S. in Psychology, Thea took a position as an fMRI technologist with the Indiana University department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. This position played an integral part in her future pursuit of librarianship -- by witnessing first hand the challenges of quality data collection, security, the fragility of digital data, the unexpected loss of data due to environmental disaster, and the challenges of the publishing process, she was emboldened to make science better.
This formative experience, along with frustration towards US educational guidelines that demonstrated a lack of awareness of current research, and a desire to work with researchers across all disciplines, lead her to pursue a degree with Syracuse University as part of their eScience Fellowship program. This program introduced the concepts of eScience, data management, programming, and workflow management, and fostered the importance of reproducibility, ease of access, ease of understanding, and the role of librarians in the research process. The eScience program at Syracuse University also helped her broaden the scope of her work: that all scholarly data needs protection and curation, and all researchers, regardless of experience, should have training and skill development available.
In her current role, Thea works to help researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst better their research through consultations, workshops, and invited talks. She also manages the Data Services website and UMass Amherst's instance of the DMPTool. Her recent appointment as Chair of the UMass Amherst Data Working Group affords her an opportunity to deepen the Libraries' ties across campus, and to market the services of the Data Working Group to all disciplines -- not just those that identify has having 'data' needs.
She is also driven to help her fellow librarians with research data management responsibilities. For example, Thea is a founding member of the New England-based Research Data Management Roundtables, and was recently invited to serve as a member of the eScience Advisory Board. As with her pursuit to better scholarship, Thea hopes to better librarianship.
In her free time, she likes to embroider and code. She currently lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts.