Andi Jones joined the ALS User Services Office as proposal coordinator last April and has taken over the processing and tracking of General User, RAPIDD, and Approved Program proposals. She also maintains the ALS publications database and serves as a point of contact for users who have beam time or proposal questions.
How was the transition from your previous job in the academic world to the ALS?
I have a PhD in Anthropology from U.C. Davis and I taught Physical Anthropology courses at Berkeley City College for nine years. In academia there aren’t a lot of full-time jobs, so I’d been working part-time at Berkeley City College, teaching biological anthropology. I was ready for a change and a new challenge. I had been teaching the same classes all those years, so the transition to this job was really refreshing. At first it was extra challenging though, because for a few months I was working part time for both the ALS and Berkeley City College! My husband, Andrew Doran, has worked here at the ALS for almost 16 years, so when I came in I was already somewhat familiar with the facility.
Do you feel that your scientific background has enhanced your role at the ALS?
I definitely feel like my scientific background is helping me in my current position. I’m used to talking to scientists—I have to talk with beamline scientists, users, and reviewers a lot. And I had to apply for grants to do my PhD work and I published journal articles, so I understand the peer-review process. I know how journals work and how to communicate with them if need be.
What’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me really depends on the time of year; my workload really ebbs and flows with the proposal cycle. Usually I have a lot of emails to check, communicating with users about their proposals, answering questions. Facilitating the process for users, whether it is the RAPIDD system or general beamline proposals, takes up the bulk of my time. When users have problems or questions about beamtime, I’m their point person.
What do you like most about your job?
Interacting with the people, whether it’s my coworkers in the user office, beamline scientists and staff, or ALS users. It’s really fun seeing all the different proposals come in, getting a glimpse of the work that we do here. Once in a while, something comes in that sort of relates to my previous anthropology research. It’s nice to be at the forefront of all this exciting science.
What’s most challenging about your job?
Keeping track of all the little and big things I have to do. I have a long “to do” list!
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
When I have time, I love to travel. And I like to go camping with my family. I like to play Minecraft—it started as a bonding mechanism for my son and me, but now I think I play more than he does! He’s moved on to other games. I also really enjoy reading books.