An interview with Dr. Marieke Jones

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The Library is delighted to welcome Dr. Marieke Jones to our Research and Data Services department. We enjoyed getting to know our new colleague through this interview, and we hope that you do, too.

Dr. Marieke Jones, Research Data Specialist

Dr. Marieke Jones, Research Data Specialist













What originally drew you to your field?

During my PhD, I was drafted to teach a recitation section of biostatistics. Within the first semester I fell in love with teaching statistics and programming. It was really gratifying to convince students who self-identified with being bad at math that they could excel in statistics and could successfully learn R programming. Over time, I took on more responsibilities and students, leading lecture sections, developing online learning modules, and teaching advanced statistics and R for adult learners. By the time I finished my PhD I had taught over 2000 students and I knew that teaching data skills is what I wanted to do.

How does your work relate to the Library’s mission/guiding principles?

As the Research Data Specialist, I will be supporting the library’s mission of knowledge sharing to support education and research within the UVa Health System. To accomplish that mission, I will be teaching workshops and consulting one-on-one with researchers to elevate their data skills and research methodology.

What most excites you about your work here?

Libraries have always been in the business of helping people retrieve knowledge. Today, there is oodles of knowledge trapped in data, so to me, the transformation of libraries into a data analysis support center is a logical progression. The UVa Claude Moore Health System Library is at the forefront of this budding trend, and I am thrilled to be part of this innovative library model. I love teaching, data, and learning new things, so this is a great fit for me!

What classes/workshops will you lead in the coming year?

In 2018, we hope to offer our R workshop series including Intro to R, Data Wrangling in R, Essential Stats in R, and Advanced Data Visualization in R more often. With multiple instructors, that should be possible. Over the next few weeks we are looking at these curricula to ensure that the workshops progress from one to another logically and we actively working to standardize the content across all of our instructors.


Where are you from originally/where did you grow up?

I am proudly from New Jersey, the Garden State. I am here to testify that it really is beautiful! The area I grew up in is a region of rolling hills, horse farms, and small towns with colonial history. I went to college in Boston before heading south to Virginia where I attended graduate school at George Mason University in a collaborative program with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. My job search after my PhD graduation focused on Charlottesville because I absolutely adore this town and region. The great spine of mountains and undeveloped landscapes all around us here are just the best…and my apartment has a great view!

J.R.R. Tolkien did some amazing world-building when he created Middle Earth. With which race do you most identity, and why?

Dwarves   Elves   Hobbits   Orcs   Ents     Men

I like the idea of being an Ent and taking a long view of the world. Concerns of the other races on Middle Earth matter little to the Ents until the entire world is threatened when they are spurred into action. They are thoughtful and approach difficult decisions with careful attention and logic. Once they make up their minds, they act decisively and are effective at accomplishing their goal (of stopping Saruman and saving the world).

Are you interested in working with Dr. Jones? If so, please email her at

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