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A Congress.gov Interview with Chalonda Newman, Quality Assurance Lead

Today’s interview is with Chalonda Newman, quality assurance lead for Congress.gov within the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) of the Library of Congress.

Describe your background. What is your academic/professional history?

I am an information technology specialist with years of experience developing web-based applications for the Library of Congress.  Prior to becoming a software developer, I worked in Help Desk Support and the Digital Scan Center where I cultivated my analytical and web graphic skills.

Throughout my profession at the Library of Congress, my career has transitioned from software developer to quality assurance (QA) tester. However, I maintain my role as developer on daily operations and maintenance for our legacy system applications until the end of the system life cycle. I have worked on the following software applications: THOMAS, CRS ERPO, and Congress.gov.

Chalonda Newman / Photo by Ralphael Small

How would you describe your job to other people?

As a quality assurance lead tester, my job is to be the tech leads’ troublemaker, but in a good way. I develop and execute test cases, scripts, plans, and procedures to improve testing. I work with the QA team members to establish and develop formal QA processes, ensuring the team is using best practices.

What is your role in the development of Congress.gov?

As a quality assurance lead tester, my role is to help the team develop methods, procedures and best practices to implement, and continuously improve the testing function of Congress.gov.

What is your favorite feature of Congress.gov?

My favorite feature of Congress.gov is the Members section. This was the one feature that was not available in THOMAS.  To see this developed from the beginning and how much it evolved is impressive. In my opinion, this makes Congress.gov a one-stop shop for finding legislative information with the ability to get alerts on your respective Member of Congress.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the legislative process while working on Congress.gov?

While working on Congress.gov, I found it interesting to learn that both chambers working together can override the President’s veto. There have been very few passed over veto actions when House and Senate agreed to make a bill become law.

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I love movies from the 80s such as “Back to School” with Rodney Dangerfield, and “Weird Science,” to name a few. But my all-time favorite is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” with Matthew Broderick. I paid to see that movie over a half dozen times. I found it witty how he masterminded a plan to take the day off school and totally got away with it.

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