Academic Staff Profile – Lucas Gallagher | SMPH Informatics & IT

Lucas Gallagher

Workplace: SMPH Informatics & IT
Role: DevOps Cloud Engineer
Pronouns: He/him

Briefly describe your role and key job responsibilities at UW–Madison

I am a DevOps Cloud Engineer, which means I create and maintain infrastructure (think servers and websites) for the School of Medicine and Public Health’s medical research. Day-to-day, I deliver resources to researchers by writing code that automatically creates things like servers remotely—in other parts of the country—all from my basement office.

What is the coolest, most interesting, or rewarding project you have worked on at UW–Madison?

I’m working to migrate multiple instances of REDCap, an electronic data capture application at the core of clinical research, to a secure cloud environment. Once fully migrated, this application will support hundreds of research projects to advance medical science and improve health outcomes. It’s really cool to be a part of something this impactful!

What is your favorite way to unwind?

Building or sorting LEGOs! At the start of the pandemic I responded to a Craigslist ad for 850lbs of LEGOs, driving all the way to Indianapolis with a friend to load up our two SUVs to the brim with giant rubbermaid bins of LEGO. I sorted them over the pandemic and enjoy building small and large sets and MOCs (“My Original Creations,” to use the lingo—because of course LEGO fans have lingo).

Strange as it may sound, I actually find programming relaxing. Python is my language of choice. For exercise, I bike (having a pair of toddlers in tow is a great workout) and play an open source version of Dance Dance Revolution. With family and friends I enjoy board games, and collaborative storytelling through tabletop roleplaying games similar to D&D.

Have you enjoyed the arts lately?

The last concert I attended was by The Gray Havens, their first concert since releasing their new single ‘Anywhere’. The song is a really compelling one from the viewpoint of someone in the midst of depression and struggle. The band isn’t big enough to be packing stadiums, but I enjoy the more intimate concert settings of auditoriums or church sanctuaries.

What are some ways you serve your community?

I serve at my local church as ‘Deacon of Technology’ (handling technology matters so the Elders can focus on spiritual ones). I love being able to use the gifts God has given me to serve him and his people! I’m also hoping to participate in the near future in Microsoft’s TEALS – Technology Education and Learning Support program. The program brings computer science education opportunities to those who would otherwise not get to learn, whether because of geography or other disparities.

We’d love to hear about your family.

I met a UW Milwaukee Academic Advisor just over five years ago, and we are now married with two boys ages one and three. I’ve learned more about going through the day sleep-deprived for sustained periods of time than I ever thought I would—young kids can certainly keep parents busy at all hours! But it has been a joy to teach them about life and watch them learn and explore, and the oldest in particular saying the funniest things as he takes in the world around him.

Lucas was nominated by a peer.