We recently spoke with Christina Liu, an application developer in the IT Division at the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts.
Condensed and edited for clarity
Noelle Lagueux-Alvarez: Thank you, Christina, for taking time to talk with me. Would you please share your professional background with our readers?
Christina Liu: I received my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture and I received my master’s degree in computer science from Georgia State University.
NL-A: Are you from China?
Christina Liu: I am. I was born in Beijing. I grew up there.
NL-A: How long have you lived in the United States?
Christina Liu: I moved to Atlanta in 1996—the year of the Olympic Games!
NLA: After getting your master’s degree in computer science what did you do?
Christina Liu: After getting my master’s, I started working as a developer for the Georgia Department of Transportation. After three years at DOT, I started working for the State Board of Pardons and Parole. From there, I joined the JC/AOC.
NLA: How long have you been at the JC/AOC?
Christina Liu: I’ve been here since April 2012.
NL-A: Fantastic, happy 10th anniversary! You mentioned that your undergrad was in civil engineering, but then your master’s degree and professional positions have been all in IT. What drew you from civil engineering to IT? Those two fields are quite different.
Christina Liu: Yes, they are, and this is how it happened. When I got my first job in 1995, I was with a civil engineering firm. We were trying to build a local network for collaboration purposes, but nobody at the firm wanted to learn the ins-and-outs of the computer programming. I was the new kid on the block, so I got that assignment and ended up learning the system called Unix. While I was at a civil engineering firm, I ended up in their IT Department. When I decided to get my master’s, I realized there was a growing need for IT professionals, so I pursued my master’s degree in computer science.
NL-A: What do you hope to achieve in your position as a program developer here at the JC/AOC?
Christina Liu: I strive to provide excellent customer support in the development of new applications and in the maintenance and improvement of existing applications. My main goal is to ensure that all of the applications used by the JC/AOC and our judicial branch partners are running smoothly and that all data transfers are seamless. When I do my job well, I help make everyone’s job more efficient, and that’s important to me.
For example, one application that I support ensures that citations issued by the Georgia State Patrol transfer daily to the courts that handle traffic citations all over the state. That means a clerk can just open his or her case management system and see those citations. Before we provided this web service, clerks needed to input everything from a hardcopy citation into their case management system. I’m happy to make that process much more efficient and to help reduce the risk of human error that could come from rekeying information.
NL-A: Switching gears, what do you like doing in your free time?
Christina Liu: Before the pandemic, I enjoyed walking. During the quarantine, however, I switched over to running. Usually, I run 4-6 miles per day and I do that 5-6 times per week; then on Saturdays I do a long run.
NL-A: That’s great, Christina. Do you run just for fun, or do you participate in races?
Christina Liu: I started doing the Peachtree Road Race a few years ago, so I plan to continue doing that every 4th of July. In May and June, I start training for that 10K race. In the fall, I’ve started doing the Alpharetta Women’s Half Marathon and plan to continue that as well.
NL-A: Anything else that you enjoy doing in your free time?
Christina Liu: I read young adult books because both of my kids had so many books and I cannot bring myself to throw them away. So, I decided just to start reading them. The stories are simple, but I enjoy them.
NL-A: Sometimes the story is simple, but the message is profound.
Christina Liu: Yes.
NL-A: How old are your children?
Christina Liu: I have two daughters. The older is 21 and the younger is 19. Both are in college.
NL-A: Are they studying computer science like their mother?
Christina Liu: It’s split. My older daughter was in the School of Business at UGA, but recently switched majors to computer science and German. My younger daughter is at the University of Southern California studying mechanical engineering.
NL-A: Before we conclude, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Christina Liu: I really enjoy working here. This role always gives me a great opportunity to learn the latest technology—Amazon Cloud, cyber security. I feel very supported by AOC leadership—especially our Division Director, Ben Luke, and our Agency Director, Cynthia Clanton. I also really enjoy working with my colleagues on our development team: Kristy King, Angela He, and Colton Trent.