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FCAT UGC Student Stories
Although the The FCAT Undergraduate Conference 2020 has been postponed, the School of Communication wants to highlight and celebrate a few of our CMNS students. Below are a few of the students who worked so hard on their projects.
Tell us a bit about yourself, where you come from and your interest in CMNS?
My name Samad Raza and I am from Pakistan. Currently, I am working as the student senator at SFU and also founder and director of Emerge SFU. I enjoy studying communications, as it intrigues my interest in learning and understanding media and culture. It’s also aligned with my career goals, as I want to work in creative jobs such as marketing and advertising and I believe communications can help me understand how to better connect with the public through the use of different mediums.
Why are you interested in this subject (your presentation)?
My presentation: Digital Manipulation: Ideological Contradictions Associated with Facebook's Default Settings. I am interested in better understanding how our social media platforms purposefully commodify our data in systematic ways. One way this is accomplished is through the use of defaults that capitalize on users’ passive habits and their indifference towards changing the defaults settings after creating an account. My paper focuses on Facebook where I put forward an original analysis of Facebook’s defaults through a newly created profile. I find this topic particularly interesting as it shows the discrepancy between Facebook’s surface and embedded ideologies ingrained within neoliberalism. It also asks fundamental questions about the ways in which we come to regain control of our data that we voluntarily and involuntarily provide to multi million-dollar companies.
Can you give us a sneak peek about your presentations?
I will be presenting my research that I completed for a course on information technology (CMNS 253W), where I analyzed how facial recognition technologies are jeopardizing privacy and systemizing human agency. I will be touching on current and upcoming uses of facial recognition systems in contemporary society, as well as how such technologies may challenge ethics concerning privacy, jeopardizing the significance of consent in surveillance systems.
What is your experience in CMNS and SFU so far?
When I tell people that I study Communications, often their first comment is asking how I run social media accounts. The reply feels comical to me now, as one of my favourite aspects of CMNS is how wide the area of study is; I’ve been able to take courses on analyzing the construction of advertisements, as well as focus on environmental communication. I’ve had life changing opportunities that have allowed me to use the theoretical foundation of communications in practical ways at SFU. These skills have resulted in changes that will positively impact the SFU community for years to come, such as working with my radio board on campus to secure space in the new Student Union Building, ensuring that SFU students have a place to shape and create their own media for the future.
What would you tell students who might be interested in CMNS or to get more involved in presenting research?
I transferred to SFU for their Communications program. It's a program more-so based in theory, which has helped me expand my knowledge of how systems of power operate.
Presenting research is an opportunity for practical experience in regards to presentations that depending on your career path, will be invaluable. It is also an opportunity to expand your network, and not to mention, it stands out on a resume.