Carnegie Mellon University
June 01, 2022

Yenching Scholar Studies the Digital Divide

Ng explores ways to improve access to information and communications technology

By Daniel Carroll

Daniel Carroll
  • College of Engineering
Abby Simmons
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-6094

Carnegie Mellon University student Andey Ng has been named a 2022 Yenching Scholar by Peking University's Yenching Academy program. Ng is a master's student in engineering and public policy (EPP) in the College of Engineering who graduated from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences in December 2021 with a bachelor's degree in information systems.

Ng combines a background in software engineering and technology with a drive to explore how technology can improve people's lives. In particular, she said she hopes her work will help to close the digital divide in access to information and communications technology.

At CMU, Ng is the leader of Project Rwanda, an initiative created to help support and empower STEM education in locations based in Rwanda with CMU-Africa and in Qatar. She gained valuable experience understanding the impacts of science, technology, engineering and math at a global scale.

"Carnegie Mellon has helped me in reaching my dreams," Ng said. "Since I got here my dreams have just kept getting bigger."

Ng has been dedicated to using her degrees from CMU toward closing the technology gap internationally and domestically. She has created her own experiential learning opportunities through travel like her cross-country road trip from Pittsburgh to her home in the Bay Area last summer, where she lived on agricultural farms to understand the digital divide and the inequitable distribution of technology in rural America.

"They say that our heart is in the work, but I've learned that my work should be coming from the heart." — Andey Ng

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Ng works on a project in the CMU's Tech Spark facility.

In her free time, she often is woodworking in Tech Spark where she recently completed her personal project of building a 4-foot-tall, adult-size rocking horse.

Ng will spend her time at the Yenching Academy studying the socioeconomic impacts of high-tech firms. Having grown up in Silicon Valley and studied in Pittsburgh's emerging tech hub, she has a personal interest in the topic.

She is excited to continue her research in this area and plans to explore the socioeconomic impacts of technology through ethnography. By eliciting lived experiences of individuals impacted by advanced technology, Ng hopes to learn more about how countries like China work to mitigate stratification in digital resources.

Before trying to solve any technical problems, Ng said she still has much exploring, listening and learning to do by putting the people in her local and global communities at the forefront. Through field work in China, she plans to immerse herself in lives and perspectives different to what she is familiar with to begin that journey of listening.

"They say that our heart is in the work, but I've learned that my work should be coming from the heart," Ng said.

The Yenching Academy Scholarship is an interdisciplinary two-year master's program at Peking University in Beijing with a 2% acceptance rate. The program is a fully funded opportunity for scholars who have demonstrated a talent for leadership and innovation to immerse themselves in an intensive learning environment while exploring China and its role in the world.

Ng is the second CMU student to be accepted to the Yenching Academy. Haider Nazir earned the award in 2020. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development helped support Ng and Nazir throughout their educational journey and is a key resource for students to engage fully in their CMU experience through research and creative pursuits, and to explore options such as competitive national and international fellowships.

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