CELEBRATE! profile: Kellye Coleman ‘12
A communications major worked with the Imagining the Internet Center to help collect predictions on the future of the web.
By Natalie Allison ‘13
Kellye Coleman ’12 wanted others to be aware that access to the Internet isn’t a guarantee for everyone. That’s why she volunteered with Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center to research global opinions on the future of the web and if access to the Internet should be considered a basic human right.
Her project, “Human Right? Access and the Future of the Global Internet,” meant attending the Internet Governance Forum in Kenya last September to collect opinions on whether Internet access truly is a basic human right.
Coleman joined classmates and alumni, as well as Associate Professor Rich Landesberg, in compiling responses for Imagining the Internet’s database, and her work is the first to be featured in a weeklong series of E-net profiles showcasing Elon undergraduate research during CELEBRATE! 2012.
“It was a multi-stakeholder conference,” Coleman said. “Individuals who have any sort of investment in the future of the Internet — which is everyone on the planet — can come and discuss these Internet-related issues.”
Among those who attend the annual forums are individuals in the technology, business, nonprofit and civil sectors.
Conference attendees were divided in their responses to the question. Coleman found that slightly more said they believed Internet access in and of itself was not a human right. The team from Imagining the Internet recorded video interviews with attendees to use for the center’s website.
“Some people asked, ‘Should we put access to Internet in the same realm as access to food and water?’” Coleman said. "Others said that the Internet is just the vehicle for information. Who knows whether we'll access the information through the Internet in 20 years? It could be a completely different medium."
She hopes that from the information she gathered at the conference, Coleman will be able to make others aware of the reality that not everyone in the world has the opportunity to access the Internet.
“It’s important for people to understand that access to the Internet is something we take for granted,” she said. “There are regions of the world where that’s not something that’s easily attainable. Whether that’s because of location, money or governments that don’t want that kind of thing to happen, it’s important for people to understand that that is the case — even if it’s just for people to be able to have an appreciation for what they have.”
In addition to her communication research, Coleman is an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship bible study leader, a member of the Leadership Fellows Program and a member of Lambda Pi Eta, the communications honor society. She is currently serving as the 2012 Spring Admissions Intern at the university.
After graduation in May, Coleman will participate in the Knoxville Fellows Program, a faith-based leadership and personal development initiative based out of Knoxville, Tenn. It begins in August, and for ten months she will live with 11 other recent graduates, complete a paid internship, take seminary classes, participate in leadership workshops and serve with Just Lead, an intercity program.
Elon students Nicole M. Chadwick and Samantha L. Baranowski will join Coleman on Tuesday during the Spring Undergraduate Research Forum to talk more about the findings in a presentation on the third floor of the Koury Business Center. Associate Professor Janna Q. Anderson in the School of Communications, who directs the Imagining the Internet Center, served as their faculty mentor.
CELEBRATE! is Elon University's annual, weeklong celebration of student achievements in academics and the arts.