Get to Know the Avalon Team: Andrea Zielke


In our new series "Get to Know the Avalon Team," we'll be providing a closer look at the individuals who are working each day to develop the Avalon Media System.

Andrea Zielke


Andrea Zielke is one of the Project Assistants for the Avalon Media System. She assists with planning and organization for Avalon in addition to providing support for Northwestern University's Library Technology Division.


Can you talk a bit about your role in the project?

I am a Project Assistant for Avalon so I help with the day to day logistics of setting up meetings, keeping track of upcoming conferences, organizing the team through various method like Basecamp, the wiki, JIRA, listservs, chatrooms and Google docs.  The rest of my day, I assist the Library Technology Division in much the same manner.  Right now I am filling in as Scrum Master so I spend quite a bit of time tracking down folks and asking them what they are working on.


What is a typical work week like for you?

With Agile, you never know what your day or week is going to look like.  Some days will be meetings, meetings and more meetings.  Other days involve user testing of Avalon, working on presentations/proposals or planning the logistics for a face-to-face meeting. Every other Friday is a day I like to affectionately call Demo Day.  Demo day is always the same: a 3.5 hour sprint planning session followed by an editing session to get the demo published for anyone interested in Avalon’s progress. 


What apps/software/gadgets can't you live without? 

With Avalon, I could not do my job without Microsoft Lync.  A quick chat is just less disruptive and usually quicker than waiting for an email response.  Since we are all working in different locations within the same building and at different universities, this makes it seem like we are all on the same team, working at the same time. 


In my daily life, everything is better with a beat so I am always streaming music from any and all Pandora, Spotify or Grooveshark.  I like to document the daily lives of my cats, Ziggy Smalls and Magnus, on Instagram – my followers are few but loyal.  As an avid moviegoer, I try not to remember the time before smartphones when you had to sit through Mr. Moviefone to find out a movie’s time and location.  I love my Flixster app; it has freed me from calling theaters and newspapers!


When you’re not working, what can you be found doing?

If not working, I am usually tooling around Chicago trying to find the best eggroll joint around.  As a transplant from Wisconsin, I have stopped comparing Chicago to my home state and instead make frequent trips to the north for beer, cheese, frozen custard and family.  Other than that, I am just an amateur cat photographer that likes to go to movies on a whim!