Communication studies faculty member receives national honor

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rachel Plotnick, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies, has received the IEEE Life Members’ Prize in Electrical History – a top national honor.

The IEEE Life Members’ Fund supports the award, which is administered by the Society for the History of Technology. The prize is given annually to the best paper in the history of electro-technology—power, electronics, telecommunications and computer science—published during the preceding year. The honor consists of a cash award of $500 and a certificate. Plotnick’s paper “At the Interface: The Case of the Electric Push Button, 1880-1923″ was published in Technology and Culture.

Prior to joining UNC Charlotte, Plotnick completed a doctorate in media, technology and society from the School of Communication at Northwestern University. She also earned a master’s degree in communication, culture and technology at Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism at Indiana University - Bloomington. Plotnick’s work has been published in a number of academic journals, including Critical Studies in Media Communication and Media, Culture and Society.

Plotnick’s research and teaching focus is on information, communication and media technologies from a historical and critical/cultural perspective. Specifically, her research agenda examines human-machine relations, particularly as they relate to interfaces. She investigates how these surfaces play a role in the technological and social aspects of daily life.