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Laura Beigel is a senior, Corporate and Organizational Communication major, and student athlete at the College of Charleston. Laura is a member of the nationally ranked and recognised College of Charleston Sailing Team. After graduating in May, Laura will begin to work full-time as the communications and media director for an international sailing organization and will further her sailing career by traveling the world to compete within the highest level the sport has to offer.

Laura was born in Severna Park, MD where she has lived all her life. Growing up, her main interests included studio art, meeting new people, and sports. As a child she participated in almost every sport, but was most devoted to Swimming and Sailing. She swam at a highly competitive level for 14 years and has been sailing since she first began with her parents when she was only 1-year-old. Laura originally considered swimming at the collegiate level, but decided that her true passion has always been sailing. Therefore, she decided she wanted to attend the College of Charleston to pursue a college sailing career among some of the most elite sailors in her generation. Once at the College, Laura discovered her love for the social sciences, specifically Sociology and Communication.

Laura’s main interest in the subject of Communication is in fact the effects of technology on interpersonal communication. She was raised to understand, appreciate, and practice values that many consider very traditional or old-fashioned. Throughout her experiences interacting with others, particularly as it relates to the development and increase in the use of social media and cellphones, she always questioned the apparent difference in her own communication style compared to the more dominant style of communication. She is most curious about the relationship between an individual’s use of social media to communicate and their knowledge of the norms or etiquette associated with formal and traditional methods of communication. She wonders:

*Did social media, and smart phones, have a positive or negative effect on interpersonal communication?
*Do the same norms and etiquette of communication apply to both communication via social media and formal communication? If so, should they?

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