Meet Debra Houle: IT Associate Director in FAS-SEAS IT

Monday, March 11, 2024
About Debra: Debra has more than 12 years’ experience within Yale ITS and began working with the NGN project roughly three years ago. A lifelong learner with degrees from Dartmouth College and Wesleyan University, Debra was eager to learn about NGN and how her team of distributed service providers (DSPs) could best support their communities within Central Campus throughout migration and beyond when the time came. Debra watched carefully as the NGN Program was piloted at Yale’s Medical Campus and folded the lessons learned into her own approach for team and community engagement.  She is proud of how her team has continually provided steadfast support from their first migrations at Yale Science Building and Peabody Museum, to their more recent ones at Sterling Chemical Lab and A.K. Watson.   
Debra’s career trajectory reflects the breadth of her talents and skillset; she has held roles in finance and technology at a liberal arts university and as an elementary school teacher in Connecticut’s public school system. Her experience across multiple functions and sectors has equipped her well for the NGN project, allowing her to navigate complex environments with a spirit of curiosity, collaboration, and willingness to learn and help. 
Debra’s NGN Journey: Debra has led a group of DSPs for over six years, whose focus is on supporting Central Campus buildings. The knowledge, experience, and connections she has gained in this role provide invaluable assistance to the NGN team, where the work often involves close collaboration across various departments. Her understanding of departmental needs and campus geography are critical to NGN migration planning, ensuring a smooth transition for faculty, students, and staff. Supporting research labs with intricate instrumentation presents both excitement and challenges for Debra and her team. While these migrations may be complex, they offer valuable exchanges to build trust with Principal Investigators and continuous improvement opportunities for the Program. Flexibility is key, according to Debra, in navigating the intricate decisions and priorities affecting NGN migrations.  
Technological Innovations: Debra looks forward to the increased security features of NGN, which will foster greater research collaboration inside and outside of Yale. This innovation promises a secure environment essential for advancing research. 
Proud Achievements: Migrating science buildings on central campus stands out as a major milestone for Debra's team. Although they often come with post-migration challenges, these buildings have also taught Debra and the team many important lessons that help the project move forward and improve. 
Out of the Office: Debra is an avid runner and has recently embraced weight training with gusto! She enjoys cooking with fresh ingredients from her garden (we’re coming over for dinner!), rediscovering her musical talents, and watching women's soccer. You may not know that Debra studied African drumming and plays the congas, so she’s ready to entertain at any moment. She was also one of the first women on Dartmouth's Women's Track Team, making her not only a Division 1 athlete, but also a great trailblazer to feature during Women's History Month! 
Campus Spot: Debra's favorite spot on campus is 55 Whitney, where snacks and humor shared among the FAS-SEAS team make the days a little brighter.