The Find Answering Service Connectivity 2019 Scholarship Winner

Nicole Teru Quintus - Scholarship WinnerWe are excited to announce Nicole Teru Quintus from the University of Arizona as our 2019 scholarship winner. To apply, students had to write an essay regarding the importance of communication technology. We are now accepting applications for our 2020 scholarship.

Nicole’s Essay

The world I matured in is quite different than the world my parents knew as young adults. There are many factors that contribute to this difference, but none are as prevalent as the connectivity networking every “first world” country has undergone.

It is relatively impossible for a first world citizen to complete a full day without benefiting from globalized economy in some way. It is easy to recognize how connectivity through the world benefits us all; from the gasoline that powers our cars, the monetary compensation that funds our economy, to receiving a text message from a love one traveling abroad. The positive reach of connectivity is not exclusive to developed nations. Through communication networks, countries in need of aid have been able to both communicate that need and receive reprieve in record time. Humans are now able to seek each other, hear each other, study each other, and work toward understanding each other in ways previous generations could not. When we connect to our fellow man, we understand them; when we understand them, we are able to find peace with them. Connectivity bears importance both personally and globally, and it has stemmed from the overwhelming human desire to be understood.

The evolution of communication can best be predicted by considering the way communication has developed historically. Each new iteration of communication technology has met three criteria more effectively than the technology it replaced; speed, convenience, and accessibility. In terms of speed, the letter was bested by the email. Faced with the choice between waiting multiple days to a week to receive a response versus a matter of seconds to minutes, the decision is quite obvious. With the email at our disposal, the handwritten letter has become somewhat of a relic.

However, the email has been partially replaced with something even more rapid and, to continue into the second criteria, convenient: the text message. Not only is a text message more brief with an even faster response time, it surpasses the email in terms of convenience by subscribing to less restriction. The expected vernacular of a text message is less involved than that of an email, granting the convenience of an occasional spelling or grammatical error. Additionally, the audience of the text message is implied to be relatively informal which grants the author of a text message considerable convenience when selecting a response. The primary reason the text message has not surpassed the email is due to the final criteria, accessibility.

In respect to accessibility, the text message and the email are on equal footing.

Accessibility will drive the evolution of communication technology. Smart phones are currently the most accessible form of communication technology as they incorporate both text messaging and email; in recent years, they have gained more independence from the Internet network by becoming more dependent on data networks instead.

In my lifetime, I have used all of the previously mentioned forms of communication technology to connect with people of various demographics. I have mailed cards containing photographs and well wishes to my grandparents, emailed instructions to graduation ceremony to my parents, and texted words of encouragement to my significant other during stressful times. Naturally, my smart phone is integral in my day-to-day communication. Often, I will receive an email from the Principal Investigator that heads the lab that I work for asking for data or results. In seconds, I can use my phone to access the necessary data and forward it to him via email without leaving the area I was immediately working in. I am able to watch an educational YouTube video during my lunch break using my phone; without it, there is information I would never have been able to learn. Additionally, my work desktop is another communication resource I am dependent on for daily work. I am able to connect to other desktops within my company’s network remotely and commence communication without ever leaving my desk. Through video conferencing applications such as Skype or Zoom, I am able to confer face-to-face with collaborating laboratories halfway across the country. In my personal life, I use applications such as Facebook and Instagram to share new updates with family and friends that I may not see on a regular basis. Conversely, I am able to see and interact with their accomplishments as well through those applications. I believe these interactions keep us all linked; that gives me comfort when I feel disconnected.

The continued development of communication technology is the grand unifier of mankind. Whether it is person to person, company to company, or government entity to government entity, faster, convenient, and accessible communication is critically important. Individuals from all generations have lived to see glimpses of how communication has grown dynamically over time. Advances in communication technology show no signs of stopping any time soon. The immediate benefits of highly effective communication are unavoidable, and those benefits with encouraging the proliferation and further evolution of communication.

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