Jennifer Pierre

UX Researcher
“Find your own ways to shine.”
Jennifer Pierre loves to dance and explore new forms of expression, which is also what she finds fascinating about the platforms and systems she studies as a California-based researcher. Jennifer’s work pushes the tech we use every day to represent and engage all communities.

What sparked your interest in tech?

I took my first class in human-computer interaction (HCI) as an undergraduate elective. We read research articles discussing new trends in the field, spanning from topics like robot-human interaction to computer-mediated communication. Each study I read left me more fascinated than the last, as I started to fully contemplate how new forms of technology were changing the landscape of how we communicate with each other forever. I decided I had to be a part of the research I was reading. I changed my major specialization to Communication and Information Technology, decided to apply to PhD programs, and my path into a STEM career began.

How did you find your specialty?

The decision to go into tech full-time after graduate school came from diving into and specializing in critical research in the field. I came to deeply understand and come to terms with the harm and exclusion occurring with and through technology alongside the innovation and possibility that first drew me to HCI. I developed a desire to try to bring a more critical sociotechnical lens to the work happening at companies producing the technological platforms and systems I use every day, and though it is a challenging space to be in, I’m really grateful for the opportunity.

What advice do you have for Black women in tech?

My advice to other women trying to get into tech is to find your unique contribution and really try to build on that. Keeping up with the pace, challenges, and energy of tech is difficult when you don’t fully believe in the mission and your purpose for being there. What you bring through your background, expertise, hopes, and vision are what will enable you to find your own ways to shine.

How can allies in the industry create impact?

For all those looking to support other Black women and people/communities underrepresented in tech, work to create a space that feels engaged with and supportive of the type of work that will improve Black women’s experiences both as employees at tech companies and as users of technology. This was a critical part of why my entry into tech was a positive one, and it is invaluable to have true support and understanding of the importance of this work even if it’s complex, long-term, and difficult. Work in tech that centers, supports, uplifts, and engages the communities that have been harmed or not adequately considered by tech has to be an embedded part of all that we do.