This article was co-authored with Tiffany Vo.
We are delighted that Heather Amato joined our Research IT consulting team in April 2020!
Prior to joining us at UC Berkeley, Heather achieved a Masters in Public Health at Emory University. However, her career in data developed through a data analyst position at Tracking California where she worked on environmental justice projects throughout the state. While honing her skills in data management and analysis through a PhD program at UC Berkeley, she found the opportunity to further explore her interest in data and computing by connecting with team members at Research IT. Amidst her rigorous program and exciting work with us, Heather enjoys connecting with her Italian-American roots through frequent pasta meals and looks forward to playing soccer with her team in the Bay area again!
As a PhD candidate in the Environmental Health Sciences Division within the School of Public Health, Heather conducts research on antimicrobial resistance and zoonotic pathogens that circulate in communities. She delves into understanding different exposure pathways and the interventions and policies that could reduce contact and health risks with these zoonotic infectious diseases. In her perspective, computing plays an influential role in precision health with sizable and high dimensional datasets. She also emphasizes that one of the most exciting aspects of data science and computing is increased transparency and reproducibility and that these ethical approaches to data are especially important in the field of public health where there are human outcomes. In addition to working with data, Heather has engaged with more qualitative and interpersonal work in the non-profit sector when volunteering in Ghana for a summer. Through this powerful experience, Heather was able to connect with local communities and widen her knowledge on different global public health issues. After graduation, she hopes to continue engaging with the community through her work. We are grateful to have Heather contribute her domain expertise, experience in data management and analysis, and inspiring outlook on data and computing.
For other women who may be working or interested in this field, Heather emphasizes the importance of having female mentors and advocates in their corner. She believes that a mentor, whether it be a fellow student or faculty member, may offer the support women need to fully express themselves and feel comfortable and empowered within their career moving forward.
Joining us as a Domain Consultant, Heather focuses on Secure Research Data and Compute (SRDC), a new service within Research IT for researchers who are working with highly sensitive data, and Heather contributes to developing our novel SRDC virtual machine service. Heather’s collaborative nature and passion for engaging with the community makes her an exceptional Research IT team member. We are excited to have Heather assist UC Berkeley researchers in connecting with our computing and data resources alongside fellow domain consultants.