About

Hi! I'm Serena Chen, a product designer with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. I've been making and breaking the web since 1999, and have been fully plugged into the technology Matrix ever since.

In a previous life I dabbled in the world of academia, and came out with a First Class Honours in Physics and Math. I had the honour of studying in the beautiful halls of UC Berkeley, and grew enormously as a citizen of the world during my tenure there.

Nothing makes me happier than finding elegant, beautiful solutions to large and complex problems. That, and good food, good music and good company is what I live for.

❤ Communities.

In the end, it's people who make our products and people who consume them. If we foster good communities, we foster good designers, coders, and leaders.

Outside of my day job and side projects, I enjoy volunteering as an organiser for Rails Girls Wellington, as well as mentoring and coaching at various hackfests and student outreach events, such as Summer of Tech. I've also just given my first talk at a tech conference! It was super exciting, and I learned so much from the wonderful people there.

Forever a nerd.

When I'm stressed I like to go through elegant mathematical proofs — I find the certainty and beauty of it calms me down like nothing else. It's also a good perspective shifter. My problems don't seem so bad when I've gone through a proof that took humanity hundreds of years to solve.

Other nerdy things I like to indulge in include security, reverse-engineering puzzles, Magic the Gathering (though not much anymore, because $$$), architecture, video games (my list is neverending), and Star Trek: Voyager.

Don't get me wrong though. While I feel that “science nerd” describes me well, it can't quite contain my love for art, fashion, music, history and poetry.

Life events: A bullet point distillation.

2016

  • 💁🏻  Spoke at Refactor (transcript here) 🔥🔥🔥
  • ✨  Soaked up inspiration at Webstock
  • 💯  Had endless fascinating conversations at KiwiFoo
  • 🎪  Chilled out at Railscamp
  • 🙆🏾  Met incredible women at WWGSD
  • 🎤  Started a podcast! 🔥🔥🔥
  • 💪🏽  Organised Rails Girls Wellington alongside an incredible crew
  • 🏆  Awarded a Chevron at BNZ 🔥🔥🔥
  • ✈️  Travelled to China
  • 👽  Confirmed my paranoia at Kiwicon X
  • 💁🏻  Spoke at CSSConfAu 🔥🔥🔥
  • 🤖  Visited the future at Future Assembly
  • 👀  Learned about Project Management from Jeff Patton

2015

  • 💯  Expanded my brain at KiwiFoo
  • ✨  Soaked up inspiration at Webstock
  • 📽  Directed a film crew for 48HOURS
  • ⚡️  Released new BNZ website redesign 🔥🔥🔥
  • 🎪  Designed t-shirts, nametags and sponsorship forms for Railscamp
  • 🏆  Received the Goodwithpixels award at BNZ Digital 🔥🔥🔥
  • 👏🏼  Mentored young designers at the Summer of Tech Hackfest
  • ⚡️  Released redesigned Store & ATM locator for BNZ 🔥🔥🔥
  • 💃🏻  Talked HVNGRY with Soraya Darabi
  • 💻  Completed the Kiwicon Badge Challenge

2014

  • 💪🏽  Founded, built and ran HVNGRY Magazine 🔥🔥🔥
  • 💁🏻  Pitched HVNGRY to Webstock's Startup Alley
  • 📽  Directed a film crew for 48HOURS
  • 🤖  Received a scholarship to attend Google I/O 🔥🔥🔥
  • 💻  Filled my brain to the brim at KiwiPyCon
  • 🎨  Bathed in art at Semi-Permenant
  • 👏🏼  Mentored at a local Swift programming workshop
  • 💁🏻  Spoke at National Digital Forum (video here) 🔥🔥🔥
  • 💻  Played with RTL-SDRs at Kiwicon

2013

  • 🙋🏻  Founded ATOM, Otago University's Science Students Association
  • 📽  Made it to City Finals for 48HOURS
  • 🤓  Judged a local science fair
  • 🎓  Graduated with First Class Honours in Physics 🔥🔥🔥