New Role: Developer at RRCHNM

Some news: Towards the end of June, I’ll be joining the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media as a developer working on digital and public history projects!

At the risk of sounding sentimental, it’s a dream move to be making professionally. It’s hard to overstate just how important RRCHNM has been to my own origins and career in digital history. Some of my earliest writings and thinking in this space emerged from pieces I’d read by Roy Rosenzweig, not to mention the countless hours I’ve spent with Zotero, Omeka, and various projects that emanated from RRCHNM. To be doing this work as part of this team is a tremendous honor.

I’ll be primarily working on building out web projects, spanning interactive scholarly works to sustainability on legacy projects to public history initiatives and educational projects. One of the things I’ve greatly missed from my work at Stanford is the creative design work around data, visualization, interaction design, and software architecture. My move to RRCHNM brings all of this back into focus for me, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to being doing this kind of work again.

And in the near future, it’s likely I’ll teach a regular online course in digital history and/or public history. Despite some efforts to build in some of this kind of teaching at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, for a variety of reasons it never fully got off the ground. Nor will I be losing my research time—RRCHNM has thoughtfully included built-in time for my own work, allowing me to be what they think of as a developer-scholar. As it did for many of us, 2020 did a number on my plans for completing my book manuscript and I’m excited to have the time to continue working on it and future research.

You may have noticed that I mentioned online courses above, and for good reason: I’ll be working remotely for RRCHNM. What that means is my family and I will be remaining in Nebraska (good thing, since I just finished this fence), and I’ll make a couple of trips out to Fairfax each semester for meetings and working sessions (Virginia friends, lets grab coffee as things become safe again). And since I’ll be remaining here, I’m hoping to stay (or, become more involved) with some local organizations working on transit, climate, and housing.

The hardest part is leaving behind my colleagues at UNO Libraries. We’ve done a lot of amazing work over the past four years on a wide variety of initiatives, from digital humanities to voter education to community engagement to research data services. We’ve also become close friends, and you all are some of the most generous, motivated, and caring people I’ve had the opportunity to work with. I’m glad, since I’ll remain a local, that we’ll be able to still keep in touch and perhaps collaborate on things from time to time.

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Jason Heppler is a digital history developer living in Omaha. More ยป

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