Matthew VanEseltine has joined the IRIS-Ann Arbor team as a Research Investigator, whose focus will be the development of special projects, including assisting in the creation of new reports. He is excited at the opportunity to apply IRIS UMETRICS data in different ways to bring new and useful reports to our member universities, and has launched his work at IRIS by delving into the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) pilot project. With a manuscript in the works and a new CTSA report on the horizon, it is safe to say he is already off and running! Matt next plans to turn his attention to the XSEDE (eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) project, working with XSEDE leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop a set of metrics that will help demonstrate the impact of funding for high performance computing allocations across the country.

Matt describes himself as a “Sociologist, Programmer, and Data Enthusiast.” His PhD from The Pennsylvania State University is in Sociology, with graduate training in quantitative survey research and criminology. He completed his dissertation work on life course criminology, focusing on patterns of crime in early parenthood. One of his biggest excitements in working with the IRIS UMETRICS data is the opportunity to contribute to the development and curation of data sources and products, which he characterizes as a big shift from his graduate student days when he was merely a consumer of secondary data sources.

Matt recalls early engagement with the Institute for Social Research (where the IRIS-Ann Arbor offices are housed) from his graduate coursework, where the advice was “need data? Look at ICPSR!” He also worked with Jeremy Staff, Professor of Sociology at Penn State, on a project using the Monitoring the Future data. Looking to transition careers after several years as an Assistant Professor at Bowling Green State University, he spent a summer working at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data in ICPSR before joining the Criminal Justice Administrative Records System (CJARS) project, also at ISR. As Research Manager for the CJARS pilot, he took on a variety of roles, from research support services and communications to programming and software development. Although the datasets are wholly different, Matt points out the similarities between his work with CJARS and IRIS, noting that with regards to data development, “it’s almost the same project, but instead of universities you’re talking to criminal justice agencies. And instead of funding and grants, it’s arrests and court cases.”

On a personal note, Matt says he spends what “free time” he has “chasing after my three-year-old, Tristan.” Matt is a native Michigander who grew up in Kalamazoo, and enjoys living in Ann Arbor, where he takes advantage of the restaurant scene when he can. Asked for a recommendation, he says Momo Sushi. Tristan particularly loves the edamame.