Sarah Stevens

Data Science Facilitator

Trained in computational biology, Sarah currently supports researchers with their data science and computing needs. Since 2018, Sarah has been working to devleop UW-Madison's Data Science Hub, a unit that supports researchers campus-wide by hosting training workshops, consulting with researchers, and developing community around data science through various projects. Sarah's PhD work included studying the evolutionary dynamics of microbes in lakes using metagenomics, starting a community of practice for computational biology, and managing the lab server.

Work Experiences

Data Science Facilitator

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Data Science Hub | 2018 - Present

Consulted with researchers about their data science needs. Organized, hosted, and taught at local Data Carpentries, Software Carpentry, and Instructor Training Workshops. Developed new lesson materials for new workshops. Managed the hub communications and community building efforts, including the annual conference, the Research Bazaar. Led the development of the strategic plan. Peer mentored other facilitators. Supervised undergraduate student assistants. Developed and carried out various projects often with teams across campus units to support researchers, including the researcher toolkit.

Graduate Research Assistant

University of Wisconsin-Madison, McMahon Lab | 2012 - 2019

Studied the forces that shape population structure and how wild bacterial populations change through time in lakes as a model system using reference genomes (composite genomes from metagenomes and single-cell genomes) for uncultivated but common freshwater bacteria and metagenomic time series from several lakes.

  • Lab Server Administrator - 2014-2017

Laboratory Technician/Visiting Researcher

University of Illinois U-C, Metcalf Lab | 2011 - 2012

Assembled genomes from isolates belonging to the archaeal genus Methanosarcina and analyzed shared genomic content of members of this genus.

Undergraduate Research Assistant

University of Illinois U-C, Whitaker Lab | 2010 - 2011

Studied insertion sequences in Sulfolobus islandicus in an independent project, cultured archaea,organized sample/culture database, cleaned-up and prepped lab equipment.


Carpentries Community

Open Educational Community
  • Executive Council Member 2021-
  • Certified Instructor 2015-present
  • Certified Trainer 2019-present
  • Lesson Developer / Maintainer

Taught 20+ Softare and Data Carpentry Workshops. Taught more than 10+ Instructor Training Workshops. Developed lessons for the Carpentries Incubator Lesson. Hosted most UW-Madison Carpentries workshops starting in 2019. Hosted local UW-Madison Carpentries instructional community. Started and hosted Midwest Carpentries Community.

Computational Biology, Ecology, and Evolution (ComBEE) group Study Group

Founder/Co-Chair - 2014-2017

ComBEE provided an opportunity for researchers to discuss new computataionl tools and learn bioinformatics skills together. ComBEE also ran python and R study groups to help support researchers in developing programming skills.


Stevens, S. L. R., Kuzak, M., Martinez, C., Moser, A., Bleeker, P., & Galland, M. (2018). Building a local community of practice in scientific programming for life scientists. PLOS Biology. doi:10.1038/s41396-017-0001-0

Garcia, S. L.*, Stevens, S. L. R.*, Crary, B., Martinez-Garcia, M., Stepanauskas, R., Woyke, T., Tringe, S. G., Andersson, S., Bertilsson, Malmstrom, R. R., McMahon, K. D. (2018). Contrasting patterns of genome-level diversity across distinct co-occurring freshwater bacterial populations. ISMEJ. doi:10.1038/s41396-017-0001-0 *Equal contributors

He, S., Stevens, S. L. R., Chan, L.-K., Bertilsson, S., Glavina del Rio, T., Tringe, S. G., Malmstrom, R. R., McMahon, K. D. (2017). Ecophysiology of Freshwater Verrucomicrobia Inferred from Metagenome-Assembled Genomes. mSphere. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00277-17

Bendall, M. L.*, Stevens, S. L. R.*, Chan, L.-K., Malfatti, S., Schwientek, P., Tremblay, J., Schackwitz, W., Martin, J., Pati, A., Bushnell, B., Froula, J., Kang, D., Tringe, S. G., Bertilsson, S., Moran, M. A., Shade, A., Newton, R. J., McMahon, K. D., Malmstrom, R. R. (2016). Genome-wide selective sweeps and gene-specific sweeps in natural bacterial populations. ISMEJ. doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.241 featured article *Equal contributors