Chia Shen's experience spans private sectors, academic institutes and federal agency. Prior to joining NSF, she served as Senior Research Fellow and SDR Lab Director at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences,  and as Associated Director and Senior Research Scientist at the MERL Research Lab in Cambridge, MA. She was a co-founder of Lucid Interactives LLC.

Chia is a pioneer in multi-touch user interface designs, multi-touch tabletop systems and collaborative display environments. DiamondSpin, developed at MERL under her direction during 2001–2003, is the first open toolkit made available to the multi-touch research community and academic institutes throughout the world for the construction of experimental multi-user tabletop user-interface and applications. She has over 100 co-authored scholarly papers and book chapters. Her patent portfolio and Lucid Interactives LLC represent the outcome of some of her innovative research projects. Her research has been featured in Biomedical Computation ReviewHarvard Gazette, New Scientist, Danish Weekly, the Discovery Science Channel, the National Geographic Channel, and PBS/NOVA Engaging Science.

She was on the Editorial Board of ACM Computers in Entertainment. She created and served on the Steering Committee of the ACM International Conference on Interactive Surfaces and Spaces from 2007 - 2014. Dr. Shen received Service Awards for her role as Conference Chair of the 20th ACM UIST 2007 and the Conference Co-Chair of 2012 ACM ITS. She previously served on the IEEE Technical Committees on Real Time Systems and Operating Systems and Application Environments. She received the IEEE ifip 2010 Outstanding Contrinution Award at EUC2010.