Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Women in Engineering: Jade He at Hofstra University

A rising star races towards graduation

Having kicked off in March 2024 for Women’s History Month, Radio World’s “Women in Engineering” spotlight, written by Assistant Editor Elle Kehres, features women in broadcast engineering roles and other technical positions, highlighting their work and growing careers in a male-dominated field. This is an ongoing feature, as women’s industry contributions extend far beyond the month of March. 

As a second-semester senior at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Jade He already has an impressive repertoire of technical experience under her belt.

Jade He at WABC-TV in New York City, which serves as the flagship of the ABC network. Pictures provided by Jade He.

She is the general manager of Hofstra’s student-run TV program the HEAT Network; she’s the former student technical director and station manager of Hofstra’s college radio station WRHU(FM); she’s a Technology Apprenticeship Program Fellow with the NAB Leadership Foundation; and she recently concluded her work as a part-time project manager assistant at WABC/ABC7 New York.

With her precious free time, when she’s not acing her classes and making the dean’s list, He is also working towards a Society of Broadcast Engineers Certified Broadcast Technologist (CBT) certification.

She will soon be a part of Hofstra University’s Class of 2024, receiving her bachelor of science degree in video/television.

With such a lengthy résumé at just 22, it’s no surprise that Jade He has big hopes for the future. But, while she looks ahead, she also has taken time to reflect on her broadcast education thus far. She shared with Radio World how it feels to navigate such a male-dominated field.

“Oftentimes, being the only woman or person of color in the room is incredibly daunting, and even exhausting,” said He. “It is something I have honestly struggled with a lot, not only in engineering, but in all aspects of my life for as long as I can remember.”

“As I am usually the youngest person on a team as well, it can be difficult to speak up and feel as though my opinion is valuable.”

Despite these difficulties, affirming mentors and valuable mentorship opportunities have helped He find her career path. She said all of her technical education can be attributed to those who have stepped in to help show her the “engineering ropes.” One such mentor is a familiar name in radio engineering, WRHU’s Chief Engineer Andy Gladding.

“I have always been interested in technology and how things work, but it did not occur to me that I could pursue that as a career until the latter half of college when I was introduced to Andy Gladding, who helped make things click,” said He.

“Andy introduced me to all aspects of broadcast engineering, and I found that I enjoyed both the flashy, exciting elements just as much as the more mundane yet critical ones, which is how I knew I had found something that would be very important to me.”

Engineering a WRHU show with Evan Stephens Hall of indie rock band Pinegrove.

“I learned almost everything I know about technology and engineering from another person who said, ‘Let me show you this,’ which I think is a really wonderful thing. And the best part is that it is like a chain. The person who taught me learned from someone else, and now I get to pass on this knowledge to another person, and another and another.”

From her time in leadership roles at WRHU, He said she is most proud of her work to grow the WRHU Technical Department, in addition to creating a more inclusive and welcoming space.

“I now hear of students specifically attending Hofstra and joining WRHU to work with our tech, and that’s amazing to me,” said He. “I love seeing more and more younger people getting excited about learning new things and getting their hands dirty.”

In his nomination of He, Gladding said: “Jade has worked under my direct supervision at Salem NY (WMCA – WNYM) and has learned how to build studios, lead teams and do project planning. [In summer 2022], she helped build WFNP, SUNY New Paltz’s FM radio station, alongside highly respected industry leader Bud Williamson, president of Neversink Media Group. Jade absolutely needs to be watched, as she has all the makings of being an industry leader and C-suite executive.”

He doing a build at college radio station WFNP at State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz.

He said the training she received at WRHU was invaluable. “Although we are an FCC-licensed FM radio station, there were so many opportunities for play and for experimentation,” she said.

“There are very few opportunities in life where you are invited into a space and encouraged to break things, but that is the culture. I broke plenty of things, but it was there I learned how to put them back together.”

In her final semester of senior year, He is focusing on her television pursuits while working on her senior capstone project — an hour-long courtroom reality show focused on “college problems,” which premiered live on March 11.

“It is not highly technical, but as the production manager, my engineering experience is certainly helpful as I am the team’s resident ‘handy’ person,” said He. “Our set is made up of roughly 20 standard-sized flats that make up a room in our three-story studio. It is designed to look like a classic fraternity basement to go along with the trashy, college theme. Complete with a disco ball, graffiti and a custom ping pong table, the set of ‘College Court’ has been my major project these last few months.”

He operating Airspeed for Hofstra’s HEAT Network.

With graduation looming closer, He is continuing to work towards earning her CBT certification from the Society of Broadcast Engineers, an institution she was previously acquainted with as a winner of the SBE Ennes Foundation Scholarship in 2022.

“The hardest part is definitely finding the time to study,” said He. “With a full class load, internships, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities, it can be difficult to crack open a book and have a study session after a long day. However, I would love to be certified by the end of the year.”

The WRHU Executive Board after winning the station’s fourth Marconi Award in 2022. From left: Rachel Luscher, Jade He, Max Milstein and Lindsey Hill.

While Women’s History Month may soon be coming to a close, He’s efforts to make space for women to learn about and succeed in STEM careers will continue.

“Growing up, this was something I did not understand; I could not see myself doing anything outside of a particular set of options, and STEM was nowhere near that list,” said He. “Even as a child, I showed every sign of being someone who would one day thrive in the sciences, but why was I never encouraged to do so?”

“I think my life would look extremely different if a series of happy accidents did not occur to land me where I am, here, thriving in the sciences. I think everyone deserves the chance to be great, but half of us are not always given the same odds.”

While learning to navigate such a multifaceted industry, He said she has begun to find community in her current cohort of the NABLF’s Technology Apprenticeship Program. It is there that she has met many other women and people of color who have similar interests and goals.

Jubril Hall-Robinson (left) and He at the NAB TAP Kickoff Event at NAB HQ in Washington, DC.

“I hope to one day be a role model for other Asian girls in STEM and to show that, despite the hardship, there is a place for us in these spaces.”

After graduation this May, He is hoping to stay in the New York metropolitan area/tri-state area to be near family; and is looking for roles primarily in television/video or radio engineering.

“I am very excited to continue the search in these coming months and learn more about what is out there.”

Want to nominate someone for the next Women in Engineering spotlight? Email Elle at [email protected].

[Related: “Women in Engineering: Shayna Sengstock of New York Public Radio“]

Sorry. No data so far.