Queenie Chow: Women in Technology @ OSU

Searching for an audio studio on campus? Need to print a poster for your class project? Or maybe you just need a convenient place on campus to drop by and use a computer. The Digital Unions have you covered for these features(link is external) and many more.

For our next women in technology story at Ohio State, we caught up with Queenie Chow, manager of the Digital Unions.  

Can you describe your day-to-day job?

I oversee the Digital Unions(link is external), a collection of snazzy computer labs and professional recording studios here on main campus. In the past several weeks, I've hired and trained four new staff, launched free 3D printing(link is external) for all of OSU, helped plan a new distance education course aimed at journalists from all over the world, ran a digital storytelling workshop, built a new website, and baked two dozen brownies for my two dozen staff. The next several weeks will be an entirely different list of things all ultimately related to the goal of empowering people with technology. It's a bit hectic at times, but it beats being bored!

When (and how) did you decide to work in the STEM field?

I'm not sure I really ever decided. I've just always been drawn to learning about our world through science and technology. As a latchkey kid with immigrant parents who worked 10+ hour days for 6 days a week, I probably averaged over 8 hours of TV a day...and Discovery Channel was always the favorite. In school, I was always most interested in science classes. When personal computers started becoming popular, I was all about it. By the time I was in high school, I was typing 120 wpm and had built a simple website from scratch, by typing basic html code into a text editor. It featured a picture of me hanging out in my back yard, a scrolling marquee welcoming visitors, a spotlight page of all my besties, and it was published for the whole world to see! Can you imagine how cool that felt for a small town high school kid in a world way before social media was a thing?

What advice can you give young women who would like to take on a position in the STEM field?

Don't be intimidated by people who seem smarter than you. They've just been doing it for longer. Learn as much as you can from them, then figure out how to teach them a thing or two.

How do you stay up-to-date with new trends in the STEM world?

Google it. If it's not there, then make it. Don't just be a follower, get involved!

Is there any technology that you are particularly excited about right now? Why?

I love when technology is used to facilitate connections in real life between real people. Although videoconferencing is nothing new, I am currently developing an intergenerational volunteering program that connects seniors in assisted living facilities with their families over Skype. In this case, it's not the technology I'm particularly as excited about, but the programming that can be built around it to achieve meaningful goals and improve people's quality of life.

What has been your favorite moment/experience from working in the STEM field?

I love seeing how technology can empower people by giving them access to make, publish, and share things that used to take all kinds of money, connections, and special expertise to do. For instance, I'm part of the OSU Digital Storytelling program(link is external) at the moment, and through that program I have helped so many people tell their stories to the world - stories that are now illuminating our understanding of history, encouraging future world travelers, and giving hope to struggling cancer survivors.

What has been the hardest part of working in STEM?

Hmm...I wouldn't call it hard, but just recognize that science and technology changes constantly. I've learned that as I'm planning, I also need to look forward to predict how I might need to adapt to stay relevant.

This feature blog post is part of our #OSUWomenInTech campaign. Hear more stories from female leaders involved in technology at Ohio State by following us on Twitter @TechHubOSU(link is external) and stopping in store to see our digital signage features. Are you interested in getting involved with technology? Don’t forget to check out our Student Developer Kit(link is external) and student project development grant opportunities.