Hi, I'm Shaomei Wu. I study, design, and build technologies with marginalized communities to dismantle barriers and seek social justice. My work takes place at the intersection of community, technology, and advocacy, and I am particularly interested in understanding and challenging structural marginalization materialized through current and emerging technologies.
I am a fan of Afsaneh Rigot‘s Design From the Margins approach and frequently shift my focus between community research, intervention development, and social advocacy, depending on the needs of the community and the stage of the engagement. My current work looks into stuttering and telecommunication technologies, investigating the experiences and challenges of people who stutter with telecommunication technologies such as videoconferencing tools and voice operated interfaces.
Shaomei Wu is the founder and CEO of AImpower.org, a tech non-profit that researches and co-creates empowering technologies for and with marginalized communities. Previously, Shaomei was a staff research scientist at Facebook and Instagram, leading and driving various "tech for good" initiatives to research and create accessible, equitable, and empowering social media experiences for marginalized and low-resourced communitie. One of such experiences is automatic alt-text, a computer-vision powered service that describes images on Facebook and Instagram to people with visual impairments in real time. Prior to Facebook, Shaomei received her Ph.D in Information Science from Cornell University, studying the spread of information and behaviors in large social networks. Shaomei publishes her work in HCI, accessibility, and Computational Social Sciences venues such as CHI, CSCW, theWebConf, and ICWSM.
Shaomei is a person who stutters and is still exploring this part of her identity. She volunteers her time and experience mentoring students and junior researchers from underrepresented groups, organizing academic conferences and workshops on equity and accessibility topics, and supporting other nonprofit community organizations as their technical mentor and advisor.