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2013 Scholarship Winner - Cody Matthews

Cody Matthews of Gallatin, Tennessee was selected as the winner of the 2013 BBG Communications Scholarship. Below you can read what Cody submitted.

Essay #1: What do you think is the greatest advancement in the information and communications technology industry over the last 10 years?

The 21st Century has already made its mark on the book of human history. This is through the hard work of individuals whose passions and knowledge are reflections of a society with central foundations of technology and communication. These foundations were developed in part by industrial revolutions in America and Europe. Since these revolutions, communication technology and the foundations of modern technology have come to the forefront of modern societies and are valued not just as tools for improvement, but also as representations of power and growth. The past decade has seen many new technological advancements, but the greatest advancement in the information and communications industry is the improvement of wireless mobile networks in an effort to mobilize technology in a way that has continued and will continue to lead to efforts in globalization. The mobilization of technology has given humanity an ability to constantly connect with others, it has made information more accessible, and it has provided a framework for future technologies to build on by giving nearly all businesses and communication networks a new way to reach consumers and provide them with information. This technology is a representation of power and growth because, essentially, it is the growth of power.

First, the improvements of mobile networks have provided people with a way to connect to each other around the world at any moment. This is a profound idea with nearly limitless applications. Socially, at any moment one can use a mobile network to connect with a friend or loved one through the use of video (Skype) or by checking on current updates of their statuses on Facebook. Businesses can share information by way of email or text from their smart phones and even conduct meetings and interviews online through a software application. Television stations can see what buzz is being generated about their show or advertisements by the amount of related tweets appearing on Twitter. The ability to connect freely is important because it allows easy exchange of information. This information can be new ideas, analysis of old ideas, or just the maintenance of social relations. Wireless networks have provided the framework for this easy connectivity.

Second, this advancement is important because it allows free access to vast amounts of information. Information is power, and this invention takes all the accumulated information of humankind and places it in the palm of your hand. Thanks to these networks at any moment, if the device is with you, one is just a few keystrokes from all of human knowledge. We are all walking geniuses (to an extent). The applications are tremendous. For example, if these devices are in foreign countries they can aid them with nutritional information, health practices (use of contraception or prophylactics) or other medical treatments, and furthermore (with new advancements in free online educations) this technology can provide any human and their progeny with a valuable education. Communications then as a discipline has never been more important than now. Information must be able to be digested and interpreted to others through communicators in an effective and efficient manner that clearly explains key concepts and stories because the whole world may be trying to interpret them.

Finally, the mobilization of technology has provided a stable foundation for technology to build from as we catapult further into the 21st Century. Since modern society seems to have reached an age of information it may be difficult in selecting the signal from the noise in terms of predicting the future of successful technologies. That is, the greatest advancement must not be limited to the framework of or near its creation; the true measure of advancement is its revolutionary nature and its application not only in the present, but for years to come. A great advancement also opens up avenues for future technological innovations, and creates an independent market for which inventors and communicators can work and improve. Take any type of information in any field, such as English, Physics, Mathematics, Sports, Films, Philosophy; now, thanks to this technology this information, both new discoveries and old foundations can be accessed or promoted (if not celebrated) among the world‚??s population. Increases in speed and efficiency as computer power, according to Moore‚??s Law, keeps doubling about every 18 months. As this power continues to increase, it has a framework from which it can be distributed. The networks have the ability to become faster and more efficient and software systems within these networks will continue to improve too. Thus the future has a framework to be built from; a sign of a truly revolutionary technological advancement. The solution is that there must be open forms of communication, done by credited communicators, on the gamut of human information including new technologies, in a professional way, to come up with practical solutions to address each problem as it arises and to try and prevent the rise of future problems.

In conclusion, the greatest achievement in technology and communication in the last decade is the development of wireless technology (networks) to mobilize other branches of technology and collect information in an effort to make it ubiquitous. This technology takes precedence over other technologies of the time because it has given humanity an ability to connect with others, it has made information more accessible, and it has provided a framework for future technologies to build upon. However, that is not to say we should not be aware of its power and aware of the problems that it brings, such as invasions of privacy. The inventions of humans can only be as good as humans are, in this sense, but this does not take away from value of the technological achievement; it just sheds light on the importance of professional ethics in regards to new technology. Nevertheless, in spite of this opposition, the technology has provided a connective framework never before experienced in the world; it is an incredible time to be a part of such connectivity and globalization efforts going on now and for years to come.

Essay #2: Why do you think a College/University education is important?:

A college education is often discussed by parents and teachers alike as something that every child should one day strive to achieve. This advice is relevant and reputable because flourishing nations need well-informed citizens. College education has become a prerequisite to future success because jobs that do not require higher education are dwindling. Jobs are becoming harder to find as the unemployment rate continues to rise. A college education is important because it gives individuals power to better understand and operate in the world around them, prepares individuals to enter the workforce, and provides individuals with social connections and networking opportunities. Nothing is more valuable than education because with it thousands of new paths are opened.

First, a college level education is beneficial because it gives individuals the power to better understand and operate in the world. A college education aims to educate a particular student in a complete way, to enlighten there outlook on life, and prepare the individual for the encounters that they may face by providing them with analytical and problem solving skills to succeed when conflict arises. Individuals who have developed higher level thinking skills tend to make better decisions economically (how they handle money), politically (voting the best people into office), and socially (interacting with others and understanding their points of view). Also, it has been suggested that people who are better educated have a lesser tendency towards violence. These social, political, and economic tools are a part of the power that is given to the college educated person. These tools, among many other helpful things, are learned by college students and make it easier for the student to operate in the world around them. As the common saying goes, ‚??give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.‚?Ě A college education is the ‚??teaching to fish‚?Ě and the more people who receive this education the better chance for them to ‚??eat for a lifetime.‚?Ě

Second, a college education is important because it prepares individuals to enter the workforce. No matter what particular major one pursues, the value of a college education is equally as important. This is because a college education provides skills both inside and outside a particular field of study. If a person wishes to become employed as a doctor, then that person needs to be educated at the college level and possess proof of this education to even have a chance to become a doctor. The education is information taught by expert instructors who have spent great amounts of time with the material and often have experience working in the field that they are instructing. Also, a college education gives physical proof of preparation, i.e., a college degree. This degree is a safety net that assures an employer that you are competent enough in a particular field of study to pass and receive a degree. In today‚??s society without this education one simply cannot take part in certain job markets. This is rightfully so, one would not want to be operated on by a doctor who does not have college education. Thus, college education prepares an individual to enter the workforce by teaching the individual about the market that he/she wishes to enter, which improves both the market and the individual.

Finally, a college education is important because it provides individuals with social connections and networking opportunities. It is often said that ‚??it is not what you know, it is who you know,‚?Ě and this saying holds true even in present times. College education is a doorway that links what you know to who you do not yet know, but may potentially know. In completing a college degree in any field of study, a student will work with many other students or faculty members (depending on how involved the student is). These social connections are on the other side of the doorway, the side that is locked from those who do not have the key, and the key being a college education. In interacting with students, one can network his or her talents to gain an advantage over competitors down the road. This networking does not have to be intentional and is often a friendship. These friendships become valuable when one individual becomes remotely or extremely successful or is given an opportunity, because those closest to this individual may be able to feed off this opportunity, or in a more pleasant way, to share this opportunity, if the successful individual allows for the opportunity to be shared. These connections are not esoteric to college educations, but they are better concentrated in this environment.

In conclusion, a college education is imperative to obtain. First, the acquisition of a college education gives individuals power to better understand and operate in the world around them. This is achieved by the preparation the university or college gives the individual. The preparation is often a combination of broad general knowledge and thinking skills as well as a physical conformation in the form of a degree that proves the material was learned. Next, a college education prepares individuals to enter the workforce. College education does this by giving an individual the information through the medium of expert instructors that increases the chances of succeeding in future endeavors because one knows the ins and outs of a particular field. Finally, a college education provides individuals with social connections and networking opportunities. Over the course of obtaining a college education, one can form lots of social connections with faculty and students. These connections are regarded as invaluable networking opportunities often used for future employment or success. A college education is essential in the 21st century and there should be preemptive measures taken to assure its affordability, accessibility, and quality.

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