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Q&A Jamie Shopland

shopland-jamie12mfName: Jamie Shopland

Title: IT Project Manager/Political Volunteer

Organization: Data Management Services, Inc., a contractor for the National Cancer Institute at Frederick

Family Details: Seeking a labradoodle to love

Favorite Book: “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Dream Vacation Destination: Tuscany, Italy

Hobbies: Volunteering, “trying” to learn Spanish, watching Netflix original series and reading nonfiction.

Tell us about your day job. It’s awesome. No, really. Every morning starts with copious amounts of coffee and a 15-minute daily scrum with my development and UX team. After that, it’s a series of meetings, emails, phone calls, and tons of team collaboration. My team is re-developing and enhancing a 15-year old Classic ASP application that allows scientists to request lab services uniquely offered by the NCI at Frederick, a community of more than 2,800 government and contractor biomedical researchers, laboratory technicians, and support staff. These folks are doing cancer research, so basically I manage web development projects that help scientists solve cancer. How incredible is that?

What is it like to be a woman in IT?   I try not to think about my job through a gender lens. Although, sometimes it’s unavoidable. I am the only woman on my team of seven. I’m used to being in situations where I’m the only woman at the table. Hopefully one day very soon, women in tech becomes the norm, so this question will be irrelevant. Putting that side, I’d say it’s both terrifying and exciting. Terrifying because every day is a reminder of how much more there is to learn about technology. Exciting because I am leading the only web project at my company that is using a newer technology stack. Luckily, I am constantly surrounded by brilliant, collaborative colleagues who don’t take themselves too seriously. Anyone late to a meeting has to do the chicken dance!

How did you get involved in politics? I remember watching President Obama’s 2008 speech in Grant Park, Illinois on TV. His message of hope and change moved me so deeply that I had tears streaming down my face. I was mad at myself for not being part of that historic moment, so I promised to get involved in electoral politics if ever presented with the opportunity. And in 2012, that opportunity came on the campus of Hood College where I met Zeppa Kreager. She connected me to President Obama’s re-election campaign. This involvement changed my career trajectory from IT to several jobs in politics and public policy. Although I am back in IT, I still help elected officials and candidates in a volunteer capacity. I’m laying low this cycle so I’ll have plenty of energy to help a friend run in the Frederick city elections in 2017.

What is this time of year like for you? For all of us political junkies, this time of year is chaotic and stressful because we are so tuned in to the election outcome and thereby our society’s future. This year, in particular, has been especially draining and nerve-wracking given the political theater and vitriolic tone of the presidential election

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