The 2020 BrightStar Systems Future Technologies Scholarship Winner

The 2020 BrightStar Systems Future Technologies Scholarship Winner

BrightStar Systems is excited to announce Eva Lopez Benedi as the winner of the second annual BrightStar Systems Future Technologies Scholarship. To submit their application for The BrightStar Systems Future Technologies Scholarship, undergraduate students had to complete an essay about how technology has changed their life. We are now accepting applications for our 2021 scholarship.

Congratulations, Eva!

Read Eva’s Winning Essay

Do you know anyone who doesn’t own a phone? Or a music-playing device? Or doesn’t have access to a computer? Because I don’t—even my grandparents do! We live in a highly technological world that evolves at a dazzling speed. Technology has become an indispensable part of our lives, like food or water. As a young person in my ‘20s, I still remember when smartphones didn’t exist. My little brother doesn’t: he thinks a smartphone with Internet access and a huge screen is how phones are supposed to be and have always been. Crazy, right? I still remember the indestructible flip Nokia, or the revolutionary Blackberry with its full keyboard. I remember playing Tetris or Snake, and it all seems from a very old, different time along, long time ago.

Nowadays, we simply can’t live without technology. We crave the latest technology, new devices and improved ways to do things that awe us with their novelty and versatility. Everything around us has slowly been molding itself to fit the requirements of a more technologically-absorbed society. Now, kids use IPads and computers in high school, college students use digital portals and laptops to take online classes and manage our studies, and we work with computers and digital systems in our jobs. Almost more often than in person, it seems, we communicate with each other through phone calls, texts, Facetime and social media platforms that we access through our portable technological devices (we can even text with our computers now!)

We are obsessed with technology, especially younger generations. We can’t live without it, we don’t know how to. Often, I find myself thinking: what if there were a global catastrophe and the internet and all technology collapsed? The truth is, we wouldn’t know what to do. We wouldn’t know how to function, to live. It’s kind of scary how much we depend on technology, honestly. I’m, personally, super dependent on both my phone and laptop, and I’ll tell you why.

I’m an international student living in the U.S., away from my family and my friends back home for most of the year. Luckily, my phone and laptop allow me to keep in contact with them and keep an eye on what happens in my home country in a way that wouldn’t be possible if technology hadn’t evolved as it has. I can call, text, and see their faces practically any time I want (or whenever they want, of course); my loved ones are just a click away, and that is priceless to me. Technology brings us together, and I’m so thankful for it. But my phone and laptop not only allow me to communicate with my family but with the whole wide world. I can reach anyone anywhere in the world with access to the internet; I can seek opportunities anywhere, contact anyone, research about anything, read about anything: we have all the information in the world we may need and more, and that’s because of technology. In the context of education, this is incredibly important.

Oddly enough, I think one of the things about my phone I most appreciate, use, and that shapes my daily life is its GPS app. The fact that I can literally find the fastest, easiest way to any place I need or want to be, is just plainly amazing to me. How people traveled, drove, and found their way around before GPS is something I can’t even fathom. Even when I had just arrived to Chicago and I was new to the city, I wasn’t lost or afraid: I could find the right restaurant, the right store, the university campus, the right CTA line, and the right “everything” with just a Google Maps Search. It’s just incredible: with GPS, the world is at our feet. I truly believe it’s the best invention ever.

My laptop, on the other hand, is my most beloved and important possession without a doubt. Of course, my phone is very important since I use it for social media, to text my family and friends, and to find my way around the world—its portability and size make it very convenient to carry around. The true MVP of my technological devices, however, is my Mac laptop.

A phone is too tiny to be a comfortable thing to be looking at for hours, to type long pieces of text, or to watch TV and videos on. In my laptop, I actually can do everything I do on my phone plus much more, and more comfortably. I love to open my laptop and have all my files and documents neatly organized. I type my essays, emails and check the notifications in my student portal; I open the internet and check the world news online, I log into my different social media accounts, and google research about anything I want to learn about (I use Wikipedia a lot); I stream my Netflix and watch YouTube.

One of the most important things: I keep all the photos and videos I’ve ever taken with my Apple devices on this laptop, as well as my music, and this is very important to me: it’s my digital memory, something I can bring with me everywhere. Basically, everything that makes up my life and that makes me “me” is on this laptop. My “digital me”, I guess.

It’s also invaluable for my education, too (which is why I bought it in the first place, for when I went away to college). I couldn’t take online classes with it, or work on the student portal properly. I couldn’t do proper and fast research, order books online, and find the right information for my projects. I enroll in my classes online, communicate with my professors, and even log in the hours I work in for my on-campus job in the online timesheet! Of course, technically you could find the way to do this physically, face to face, or in the library, but the amount of time and resources that technology saves is just crazy. And this is what technology does: make our life easier, more efficient.

I think in the future, we will find new and more amazing ways of working with technology to meet our fast-evolving needs as a society. New technology will be applied in the education system, of course, and I think it will continue to facilitate learning and make it much more interactive, digital, and global. I hope in the future education doesn’t turn completely online, though, because I think we still need that face-to-face and human factor to complement our learning experience. What is inevitable is that technology will continue to shape our education and the way we learn in a highly technological and digital future, with its advantages and disadvantages. With the tools it provides us, I think technology will make education a more accessible, enriching, extensive, and global experience. The possibility of learning from anywhere in the world and having classmates from diverse backgrounds, as well as allowing us access to all types of resources and ways of finding and presenting information will without a doubt continue to advance our learning experience and taking it to unprecedented levels.