Hello, I'm Shelly

I'm passionate about building world-class data analytics and visualization products.

Currently, I'm a data visualization developer at The Associated Press' Elections team, where I design and build interactive visualizations for the national and local elections in the U.S.

My past work experience spans both tech and journalism industries. Most recently, I worked as a software engineer at Splunk, specializing in data visualization. I build interactive visual tools for businesses to explore and monitor large data infrastructure.

I have also worked as a graphics reporter/data visualization developer at The Wall Street Journal, NBC, NPR, and The Texas Tribune. I collaborated with reporters and editors to generate ideas, request and analyze public records to tell data-driven, visual stories. I covered stories on various topics, including high-profile companies in business, Texas local politics, and the impact of COVID-19 on employment.

My research paper on how captions affect visualization reading has been presented at IEEE Visualization Conference 2022 .

My visualization work has won awards from the European Journalism Centre, The Society of American Business Editors and Writers, The Society for News Design and Texas Medical Association, among others.

M.S. Computer Science, Columbia University
M.S. Journalism, Columbia University

B.A. Political Science, Colorado College

San Francisco, CA


  • How Do Captions Affect Visualization Reading?

    Authors: [ Hazel Zhu, Shelly Cheng ]*, Eugene Wu (*equal contribution)
    IEEE Vis VisComm 2022

    Abstract: Captions help readers better understand visualizations. However, if the visualization is intended to communicate specific features, should the caption be statistical, and focus on specific values, or perceptual, and focus on general patterns? Prior work has shown that when captions mention visually salient features, users tend to recall those features. Still, we lack explicit guidelines for how to compose the appropriate caption. Further, what if the author wishes to emphasize a less salient feature?

Software Engineering

Front-end: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, TypeScript, D3.js, React.js, Styled-components, Maplibre-gl.js
Back-end: Python, Node.js, Flask, Java, Javalin, Linux
Testing: React testing library, Jest, Enzyme, Postman

  • The Asian American Journalists Association Style Guide

    AAJA | In Progress (available in August)
    Building a fully responsive website for the latest version of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) style guide, incorporating search, sort, and filter features.
  • What election issues are Americans searching on Google?

    The Associated Press | June 2024
    Partnered with Google Trends to provide a weekly overview of trending election-related searches nationwide and in each state.
      AP Best of The Week — First Winner
  • 2024 Primary Elections Results

    The Associated Press | 2024
    Live results of primary elections for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and governor from The Associated Press.
  • 2024 Super Tuesday Live Result

    The Associated Press | March 2024
    Live results of primary elections for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and governor on Super Tuesday 2024 from The Associated Press.
      AP Best of The Week — First Winner
  • 2024 Presidential Delegate Tracker

    The Associated Press | 2023 - 2024
    Track the number of delegates each presidential candidate has obtained
  • AP Election Viz Library

    The Associated Press | July 2023 - current
    Build new and improve existing real-time election visualization components for B2B and B2C customers
  • Choropleth Map: New Features and Migrations

    Splunk Inc. | Oct. 2022 - Feb 2023
    Enable seamless migration experience for users from the old viz to the new one
  • New Viz Component for Dashboard: Parallel Coordinates

    Splunk Inc. | Summer 2021
    Customizable visualizations and charts for high-dimensional datasets datasets
  • Wikipedia Page Explorer

    Personal Project | Spring 2023
    Uses the powerful deepscatter.js library in React framework to visualize Wikipedia pages

Data Visualization Stories

Data scraped with Selenium and BeautifulSoup, cleaned with Pandas and Regex in Python,

design in Illustrator, Sketch and InVision, and built with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React.js, D3.js, Bootstrap, etc.


Data analysis using Python

Visualizing using HTML, CSS, d3.js, QGIS, Illustrator and Ai2html

Using Illustrator for print newspapers