top of page

Pauline Cheong is one of the “Great 48’ in Arizona”

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

From athletes and educators to artists and entrepreneurs, these superlative Valley dwellers are raising the proverbial bar.

By Shi Bradley, Colton Cagle, Sara Crocker, Jessica Dunham, Brenna Gauchat, Marilyn Hawkes, Jason Keil, Leah LeMoine, Madeline Nguyen, Craig Outhier, Robrt L. Pela, Madison Rutherford

Original Photography by Camerawerks

Introducing the Great 48 class of 2023.

We think you’ll agree: They’re a dynamic group of Phoenicians.

Our Process In Spring 2023, we solicited our subscribers and social media followers to nominate superlative Valley dwellers in the realms of business, sports, the arts, media, philanthropy, politics, et al. Criteria: 1. Candidates must live at least part of the year in Maricopa County. 2. Candidates must demonstrate “brilliance or exceptional accomplishment in their field.” 3. Candidates must avail themselves to a brief interview/questionnaire.

* PHOENIX editors culled their favorites and added their own nominees, ranking their favorites in several broad fields (e.g. law/politics, the arts, etc.). A final list of Great 48 inductees was drawn up (actually slightly more than 48, since we grouped some colleagues into collective “spots”). Enjoy getting to know them. We did.


Pauline Cheong, 45

Hey Siri. Explain the interactions between communication technologies and cultural communities. Who needs Siri when we have Pauline Cheong, Ph.D.? The esteemed Arizona State University professor has made it her life’s work to examine how tech shapes human communication. Like, for example, the socio-cultural implications of big data, how nonprofit and spiritual organizations use artificial intelligence and digital platforms to form local and global communities, the biases in the design and implementation of AI automation or the limitations of human-machine communication. It’s heady stuff, and Cheong is among the foremost experts in the field. She has published more than 100 articles and books on the topic, earned national and international research awards and chaired doctoral colloquiums for the Association of Internet Researchers. Perhaps most importantly, she also teaches the next generation of thinkers. “Students today are living ‘hyperconnected’ and mediated lives,” she says, “so it gives me hope when they are moved to channel their know-how and energies into improving the social and cultural health of our communities.”


Last book she read: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. “I re-read this recently, as I am teaching classes related to globalization, communication and AI technologies.”


bottom of page