Shark attack - pyOpenSci at SciPy

I was so excited for SciPy this year.

I wanted to spread the word about pyOpenSci’s core mission - supporting the scientific open source Python community. I wanted to get more people involved.

pyOpenSci represents everything that matters most to me:

  • 🌱 Community & People
  • 🎓 Education
  • 🔓 Open Science and Open Source
  • 🌈 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Unplanned is often best

I am not used to going into a meeting with no specific plans and obligations. While pyOpenSci didn’t get a talk or a community session / BoF this year, we did get a lightning talk! It was a randomized selection, and I threw my name into the bucket (literally) with fingers crossed that i’d get a lightning talk.

And on the final day of the meeting, I was selected to present!

The shark attack - my lightning talk about pyOpenSci

Let me give you the backstory on lightning talks at SciPy. It’s known that moderators will often “play” with those presenting.

Puns are always pervasive and community embraced!

This year there was a “sea” theme featuring sharks and crab claws. 😂 Watch below as the session is started with a crab claw pun by Paul followed up with a shark attack on yours truly from Madicken. You will also learn about the pyOpenSci mission and vision.

Sprints - my new favorite part of every meeting

A sprint, in the tech world, is a short time period where people on a team work together to complete something on a technical project. At conferences, there are often open sprints. The idea here is that people, often some of whom are new to a project, get together in person and work on things that the project needs.

Mentored sprints make open source more inclusive

In our open source world we also have mentored sprints. The term mentored sprints was coined by an amazing team of people including Tania Allard (who’s passion for open source and open data resonates with my own). It focuses on supporting those who are new to sprinting and using platforms such as GitHub in making their first contribution to open source.

Given pyOpenSci’s core values around diversity equity and inclusion, every sprint we hold is a mentored sprint as far as i’m concerned!

This was the second sprint that i’ve lead with the first being at pyCon US 2023.

An organized list of tasks is key for any sprint

My friend, colleague and esteemed pyOpenSci advisory council member, Inessa Pawson taught me that:

  1. It’s best to go into a sprint with an organized set of help-wanted issues.
  2. Identifying issues that could be completed in a few hours to a day is ideal.
  3. And tagging issues as beginner friendly helps those who are newer to sprints
An image with a black background showing all of the issues that we could use help with at pyOpenSci. The caption for this image contains a link to the board which will allow you to hear and read through each issue listed on the board.
Our pyOpenSci help-wanted issue board has a list of things that we could use help with. Issues that could be done during a sprint are tagged "sprintable". Issues that are ideal for beginners are also tagged - beginner friendly. View the board here.

I went into our SciPy 2023 sprint with a more organized pyOpenSci help-wanted board. This board has been a great way to keep track of things that we need help with.

GitHub PROTIP: I struggled at PyCon with assigning people who didn’t belong to a repository or our organization to specific issues. Now, I know that if someone comments on an issue first, I can then assign it to them (many thanks to Thomas Fan for the tip!!).

So many helpful contributions to pyOpenSci!

I am absolutely blown away by and profoundly grateful for the support that pyOpenSci received at this year’s SciPy sprints!

We had over 20 pull requests emerge from this sprint - WOW! Two sprinters also submitted their first ever contributions!!

Info: a pull request, known as a “pr”, represents a set of suggested changes to a set of code or text. In the interface you can view the suggested changes and comment on them - in the same way that you might comment on suggested changes in a Google doc.

Some of the contributions included:

  • Updating our website workflow to allow for site preview on every pr. This means that no one needs to setup a ruby environment locally in order to view website changes. And the less ruby environments contributors need to deal with, the better as far as I am concerned :) !!
  • Updating and enhancing our contributor package metadata workflow to be more efficient and effective
  • A first contribution ever!! Grace helped us by fixing typos in our throughout our peer review guide! She called these fixes trivial but there is NO SUCH THING as a trivial pull request. We need fresh sets of eyes on all of our guides and appreciate any and all fixes that pr’s bring big or small!

In case you are curious, most of the pull requests submitted during the sprint this year are listed below:

Pull requests submitted to pyOpenSci the 2023 SciPy sprints

People kept sprinting without me!

I left before day two of the sprints. However, that did not stop the community from continuing to sprint and contribute to pyOpenSci! People continued to work additional website fixes that were still open our project board.

Lessons learned from SciPy 2023

I learned a lot this year from SciPy.

Sometimes the best moments are the unexpected ones. I had the chance to connect with amazing individuals and share pyOpenSci’s impactful mission that I care about so deeply.

And the best part? Our pyOpenSci community continues to grow, attracting more wonderful Pythonistas who share our vision. Together, I’m confident that we will make a positive impact on scientific open source Python community.

That’s what truly matters.

And I gave out a lot of pyOpenSci stickers too!

Two pyOpenSci sticker designs. the one is a light purple flower with white stamen and the letters pr and O as the center of the sticker. The S is a snake. The econd sticker is a darker and lighter purpler that says pyOPenSci and has the top half of a flower above the O in open.
Fresh off the press - pyOpenSci stickers!

For all of you introverts - a few tips that helped me this year

My approach to participating in SciPy was so much better than that at pyCon.

I learned some valuable lessons about taking care of both my work and my mental well-being. As an introvert in a busy meeting filled with awesome colleagues, it’s easy to get burnt out.

Here’s what I did to make sure I left the meeting feeling refreshed and energized:

  • 🌟 I prioritized mental health: It’s all about balance. I put as much effort into taking care of myself as I did into my work during the meeting.
  • 🌟 Embraced breaks: During the meeting, I consciously took short breaks to unwind. Whether it was chilling in my hotel room or going for a stroll outside, giving my brain a breather made a world of difference. And guess what? I slept better at night too!

  • 🌟 Me time matters: While I didn’t participate in every social activity, I didn’t feel like I was missing out. Instead, I used that time to recharge solo and get some extra sleep. And let me tell you, it worked wonders!
  • 🌟 Balanced work and recovery: To avoid getting run down, I allowed myself to miss the second day of the sprints. This allowed me to travel home on Sunday and recover in the afternoon with my furry friend, Juno.

In the end, I may have missed a bit of the action, but the payoff was totally worth it. I left the meeting feeling way better than I did after PyCon.

So, fellow introverts, remember this little secret weapon called “recovery time” at your next big event! It’s a game-changer!

A personal note - flying solo in the open source world is never truly solo

Back in March 2023, I made a bold decision to leave a toxic academic environment and fully dedicate myself to building and growing pyOpenSci—an amazing, community-focused organization.

Let me tell you, taking that leap of faith was pretty intimidating. The academic setting had taken a toll on me, shattering my confidence and even affecting my health. But I knew in my heart that I wanted to channel all my energy into community work, collaborating with people who respected and appreciated me as much as I respected them.

And guess what? This journey has been beyond my wildest dreams! Not only has the pyOpenSci community thrived and made a remarkable impact in just its first year, but it has also turned out to be the kind of inclusive, supportive community I always envisioned.

It’s incredible how not only is pyOpenSci helping others, but it’s also been a source of support and healing for me. I couldn’t be more grateful for this vibrant and uplifting environment that we’ve created together.

I’ll keep pushing forward, knowing that this beautiful journey is just the beginning.

Thank you, SciPy for supporting me and reinforcing the fact that I made the right decision! And i’d be remiss if I didn’t also thank the pyOpenSci community that is truly bring pyOpenSci’s vision to life.

Wrapping up

And that is all I have to say about SciPy 2023! It was an incredible experience. If you are reading this and we connected at SciPy this year or if you contributed to pyOpensci this year, I just want to say thank you.

From the bottom of my heart. I see change coming in the upcoming years. pyOpenSci wants to be a part of and to drive that change!!

We can’t achieve that without your help!

Categories: blog-post , community , highlight , talks


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