Professor Emerita, University of San Francisco, and Affiliate Professor and former Director, Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), University of Alaska Anchorager
How long have you been involved with PTC?
I have been involved with PTC for more than 40 years (!) since its very early days. I was a young researcher and had worked on communications projects with Indigenous people in the Canadian North and on satellite projects for telemedicine and distance education in Alaska and the South Pacific. PTC became a meeting place for those involved in communications from around the Pacific region, and later farther afield.
Why is PTC important to you?
PTC is a unique organization involving researchers, academics, consultants, lawyers, regulators and policy makers, international organizations, and, of course, the telecommunications industry, which has grown and evolved dramatically over the decades. I have continued to find its Annual Conferences a valuable opportunity to keep up with new technologies and services and to connect with colleagues from many backgrounds, particularly from the Asia-Pacific region.
How can telecommunications technologies help humanity?
ICTs have demonstrated during the pandemic how essential they are to modern life – for connecting family and friends, distance education, telehealth, e-commerce, and e-government, enabling many people to work at a distance.
Most importantly, ICTs allow people to access and share information. I have learned about this key function throughout my career, from people using radios, mobile phones, satellites, and other technologies in rural and isolated regions from the Arctic to the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
What will be the next important innovation?
I don’t know what the next innovations will be – only that there will be ongoing innovation in both technologies and services. It will continue to be important for global development to make connectivity and ICTs both available and affordable to people throughout the world.
What should future graduates know about this field?
It is tremendously exciting – and offers many opportunities to make a difference in the world – in tech, business, policy, or sustainable development. You don’t need a technical background, but you need to become “technology literate” to follow trends and understand their implications. PTC is a great way to gain exposure to various career opportunities.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I have planned or evaluated communication projects in more than 50 developing countries and emerging economies, including the Pacific islands, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and the Arctic. I was also the 2021 Richard J. Barber PTC Distinguished Service Award recipient.