Marcela Alfaro Córdoba is the Assistant Professor of Statistics at the School of Statistics at the University of Costa Rica (UCR). She earned her PhD in Statistics from the North Carolina State University in 2017. UCR is the oldest and largest institution of higher learning in Costa Rica, and considered the most important research university in the country and Central America.
Much of Marcela’s work focuses on the environment. She strives to develop novel statistical methods to address scientific questions related to areas including climate issues, weather forecasting, and veterinary applications. Marcela is committed to practicing open science and mentoring young scientists.
Marcela organizes the R-ladies chapter in San José. The R language is an open source environment for statistical computing and graphics, and runs on a wide variety of computing platforms. She is also part of the organizing committee of ConectaR2019, the first R Users Conference in Central America.
Marcela’s other interests include Spatiotemporal Statistical Modeling, Functional Data Analysis, Computational Statistics and Reproducible Science.
Marcela is a co-chair of the CODATA-RDA Schools of Data Science Working Group. These schools teach a range of skills relating to data including but not limited to the principles and practice of Open Science and research data management and curation. These collective Research Data Science skills educate students as to how to look after and utilize the data that is core to research.
She is a key organiser for the RDA 16th Plenary, to be held in Costa Rica in November 2020. The event will be co-organised by CONARE Costa Rica, RDA United States and Research Data Canada, with the theme "Knowledge Ecology".
We asked Marcela about her introduction to and involvement with RDA:
My experience with RDA has been very rewarding and eye-opening. It started with the CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Schools, where I learned to treat data as a fundamental tool for scientific reproducibility, and continued with my participation in RDA Plenaries and working groups. As a statistician, and before RDA, I used to see data as just an input I could use, and maybe save in my archives; I did not yet see the importance of preserving, managing and formatting data to share, or even less its economic value.
Having conversations with RDA members from all over the world and from different areas of knowledge has opened many windows to collaborations, but also to a better understanding of the impact of my research and the data it produces. Helping to bring the Plenary to Costa Rica is a wonderful chance to give back to the Central American Region, providing the opportunity to connect and learn from the experiences in other countries, and to start conversations about Research Data that have not yet begun, and that are key to the future of research in the region.