This week’s interview is with Qun Lai, a quality assurance specialist within the Office of the Chief Information Officer of the Library of Congress.
Describe your background.
I was born and raised in China. I came to the United States for my graduate studies in my twenties and have stayed since. I have a Bachelor of Science from Peking University and Master of Arts from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, both majoring in psychology. I went back to school to study computer science. I am an ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board) certified Advanced Test Analyst.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I am a tester and a quality assurance specialist. I check Library of Congress websites to make sure they are usable and functional.
What is your role in the development of Congress.gov?
My role in the development of Congress.gov is to serve as a tester. Congress.gov has a powerful search capability and sophisticated web interface. My role is to ensure the functionality works without error. I check the website manually as if I am a user using the website, entering information and checking the results. If you have visited the website and checked things out, I probably have gone through similar steps hundreds of times over.
What is your favorite feature of Congress.gov?
My favorite feature of Congress.gov is the capability of word highlighting when you do a word or phrase search. After your search, when you view a bill, your search term is highlighted in light green. It feels so intelligent and by glancing over the frequency of the highlighted search term, one can get a sense of how closely a bill is related to the phrase being search.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the legislative process while working on Congress.gov?
While working on Congress.gov, I learned how a piece of legislation is introduced and works its way to becoming law. Legislation is introduced to address an issue people are facing in their daily lives. Members of Congress work out their differences to pass the law. Law is the structure a society is built upon. It gives the society stability and ensures the fundamental rights of its people. I feel how fortunate the American people are to be able to enjoy freedom and prosperity, to live under this sophisticated legal system and democratic political system.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I worked with gerbils and golden lion tamarins during my graduate studies at the animal behavior labs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.