2 minute read


image of Abbey Roelofs

Abbey is a great example of someone who is already very accomplished in software development, but has recently begun to contribute to the PsychoPy project. At the University of Michigan, Abbey leads a team of software developers who serve the specialized needs of researchers in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. She first came to our attention on the PsychoPy Forum a couple of years ago when she began requesting possible workarounds for certain video-playback bugs in PsychoJS, while at the same time suggesting how to fix the bugs.

Recently, she participated in one of our online contributor workshops to learn the culture of how code contributions are made using Git and GitHub at PsychoPy (probably because she was tired of the bugs!). Most recently, she came to the University of Nottingham to participate in our in-person codesprint, where she added support for additional functions to the Python->JavaScript translator.

A Day in the Life

A typical day for me consists of a mix of writing code, working with others in my group, and meeting with team members or researchers. Because our group serves over 75 academic departments, we get a very wide variety of projects, so the type of code I’m writing varies depending on the day. I might be debugging a behavioral task in PsychoJS for a psychology graduate student, working in LabVIEW to develop a control program for a spectroscopic instrument in the Chemistry department, or creating a new mobile app in Unity and C# to demonstrate cell structure for a biology professor. Our group tries to make sure every project has at least a couple people working on it, so I’ll probably also spend some portion of my day working with my team members. We could be going over pull requests, discussing design options for a project on which we’re collaborating, or doing some pair programming. Finally, because I’m the team lead and responsible for project planning and administrative details, I usually spend a decent bit of my day in meetings. The administrative ones, while necessary, aren’t my favorites, but the meetings with researchers to discuss new projects or get feedback on ongoing projects are always interesting.

Since I work in a role supporting researchers and work on whatever type of programming they need, my use of PsychoPy/PsychoJS tends to be somewhat sporadic. It’s always nice to know, though, that when I do come back to it, there’s a great support community there to help out!