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Shang Shang
Amazon research scientist Shang Shang competes in the Asians@Amazon Ping Pong Tournament. (Via Amazon)

Shang Shang is a model. She’s also a baker. And she’s an Ivy League PhD. But as sporting geeks, we can’t help but be impressed by her ping pong skills.

The Amazon research scientist, our new Geek of the Week, is the women’s singles champion from the sixth annual Asians@Amazon Ping Pong Tournament. The event, held earlier this summer, attracted more than 650 Amazonians in five categories: men’s singles, women’s singles, mixed doubles, doubles and teams.

According to Amazon, the tournament spanned six weeks and hundreds of employees watched in person or live streamed the finals, which were held at Amazon headquarters. (Check out lots more photos here.)

Shang Shang and other players hold up their trophies. (Via Amazon)
Shang Shang and other players hold up their trophies. (Via Amazon)

Shang, who received her PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton in 2014, works in supply chain optimization technologies for the retailer. She beat out dozens of other women to collect a rather fancy trophy — and an Amazon gift card. She tells us she’s been playing ping pong for almost 20 years — since the fourth grade. She never had training with a coach and mostly played with classmates for fun.

Asians@Amazon provides a network across Pan-Asian communities, according to the company. The group’s purpose is to provide a support structure for Pan-Asian employees and to promote diversity within Amazon. Employees share experiences and gain access to career development, networking, and community-building opportunities and the group also hosts local community and recruiting events.

Shang Shang
Shang Shang.

Learn more about this week’s Geek of the Week, Shang Shang — and watch out if she shows up at the annual GeekWire Bash next year!

What do you do, and why do you do it? “I am a research scientist in supply chain optimization technologies at Amazon. I am looking for affinity among Amazon inventories. We have fun projects. It is rewarding to see the designed algorithms go into production and make an impact on people’s life.”

What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? “From the moment a customer submits an order, tons of optimization is going on behind the scenes to meet delivery promises and improve the customer experience.”

Where do you find your inspiration? “Research papers.”

What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? “Machine learning. I am a research scientist — I use machine learning as a tool to build predictive models.”

What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? “Two displays, one desktop, one PC, and I use several 250G RAM servers remotely. PC for emails, desktop for some quick computation, and servers for big data.”

Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life? “I do my meditation through baking.”

Mac, Windows or Linux? “All.”

Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? “Not a ‘Star Trek’ fan.”

Shang Shang
Shang Shang’s desk at Amazon. (Via Shang Shang)

Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? “Time machine.”

If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … “Make a fashion website.”

I once waited in line for … “Twice baked chocolate croissant.”

Your role models: “My advisor in graduate school. He is the kind of person that everyone loves and respects. He is now the dean of a graduate school at Princeton.

Best gadget ever: “Echo.”

First computer: “486.”

Current phone: “iPhone.”

Favorite app: “WeChat!”

Favorite cause: “Curing breast cancer.”

Most important technology of 2016: “Self-driving car.”

Most important technology of 2018: “A real smart home.”

Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: “May the force be with you.”

LinkedIn: Shang Shang

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