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Monday, May 16, 2016

Get to Know LATIS's Thomas Lindsay

Name: Thomas A. Lindsay

Where did you go to college?
- M.A., History (modern European social history), University of Minnesota, 2003.
- B.A., History and Music, Lawrence University, 1999.
- I passed prelims for a Ph.D. in European History in 2005 but did not complete the dissertation and am among the ranks of the permanent  ABD (all but dissertation).

When did you start working at UMN? August 1999

What is your current job title? Research Coordinator, LATIS, College of Liberal Arts

Describe your specialty in LATIS. 
I work with faculty and collegiate leadership to design and maintain research support services that meet the college’s current and expected needs.  I manage the primary research support staff, and I work directly with researchers to develop and implement their projects.

What is your favorite aspect of your job? 
I love the diversity of research questions our faculty and students study, and it’s really fun to get to engage in such a broad range of quality research.  I know the work they’re doing makes the world a better place, and supporting that work means that I also get to help improve our world.

What is your favorite accomplishment at the U, so far? 
No good researcher could answer this question without considering the effect of recency bias, but our recent development of data management services to support the whole research lifecycle, and our introduction of mixed-methods research support services have substantially improved both the depth and the breadth of assistance we can offer researchers across the College.  These set us up to help more researchers be competitive on a broader range of grants and publication opportunities than before.

Your hometown and the first place you lived after leaving? 
I grew up in the Saint Louis, MO area.  I went to Appleton, WI for college, and my first winter there happened to be one of the coldest on record, but none of the locals would admit that it was any worse than usual.  That winter I was always cold, and the last snow was still on the ground at graduation.  I went back to Saint Louis for the summer and spent as much time as possible out in the extreme heat, giving myself a nasty sunburn in the process.  When the next winter was much milder, I decided I liked the north, and after four years of college I chose to stay in the north largely because of the winters.  I just needed a long period of acclimation.

What was your worst or most unusual job?
During college I spent a summer waiting tables at a new upscale harborfront restaurant in a rich touristy town in Wisconsin.  The owner was a bit like Rodney Dangerfield’s character in Caddyshack though, and his wealthy boating buddies filled the restaurant most nights.  Over the course of the summer it became less and less upscale until, by the end of the summer, it was a harbor bar.  The tips were lousy and I went back to school in the fall with less money than I’d had at the beginning.  On the positive side, it was good inspiration to finish my degree.

People may be surprised to know: 
For my undergraduate degree, besides my history major, I completed a major in music with an emphasis on music history.  I gave my senior lecture on the high classical piobaireachd music of the Highland Bagpipes outside, in full Scottish dress, with a piper from the Appleton Police Department as my demonstrator.  Though few people noticed the announcement of the lecture, the introduction my piper gave got me a very large audience, including the college president.