#MentorMonday: Andy Kelly

When he’s not biking or hiking with his family, Andy Kelly is the budget officer for the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). He’s been with the office since June 2012 and is a mentor to a Coding it Forward Civic Digital Fellow this year.

“Our IT groups jokes that I’m an honorary member,” Kelly quipped. “We actually do a lot of data analysis for the center,” which is why he chose to mentor a fellow this summer.

Coding it Forward and the Office of Data Science Strategy work with mentors like Kelly months in advance to prepare fellowship projects. With COVID-19 shifting most knowledge workers to telework, Kelly had to adapt quickly to ensure his fellow, Meera Kurup, would be able to complete her project virtually. At the same time, Kelly and NCATS were juggling a sudden influx of work to support COVID-19 research efforts.

“NCATS got CARES act funding, we’re involved in Operation Warp Speed, we’re involved in many of the major initiatives” related to COVID-19, Kelly explained. “It’s a lot of planning and coordination as things change constantly.”

Kelly’s original project for Kurup involved converting existing dashboards across two different software. While the unexpected telework requirement shifted Kurup’s ability to complete some of the project, a silver lining quickly emerged—extra hands were needed for the growing amount of work supporting COVID-19 research.

Kelly quickly pivoted to have Kurup help on a data software platform called Palantir that NCATS is utilizing for data analysis for the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C). The goal of N3C is to build a centralized national data resource – the NCATS N3C Data Enclave – that the research community can use to study COVID-19 and identify potential treatments as the pandemic continues to evolve.

Kurup was excited to learn that she would be working on Palantir, as she has done trainings and already knew a lot about how the platform runs. Along with the technical work, Kelly has also been including Kurup in planning and organizational development meetings. “I’m hoping she’ll get a nice flavor of how you run an institute at the NIH and how we do long term planning,” he said.

Despite the challenges of working remotely and having to adjust planned work, Kelly reiterated how excited he was to have a fellow.

“She can’t physically be here, but hopefully we’re still giving her a great summer.”

The Office of Data Science Strategy at NIH works with institutes and centers like NCATS and with Coding it Forward to bring fresh perspectives to tackle computational challenges facing the biomedical research workforce each summer. ODSS will feature fellows and mentors from the 2020 cohort throughout the summer.



This page last reviewed on July 20, 2020