HostGator technology scholarship announcement

HostGator is pleased to announce the winners of our 2019 Technology Scholarship competition.

Supporting education has always been a foundation of HostGator, particularly since HostGator was founded in a college dorm room back in 2002.

More than 300 applicants answered the essay question – “In what industry or area do you see technology making the largest impact in the next 10 years?” Our business relies on technology and the creative minds of tech-savvy individuals who have ideas for websites. That’s why we’re so proud of these three winners and their innovative ideas for the future of technology.

HostGator staff selected the top candidates based on the originality, quality, and innovation of the ideas in their essays. Three winners were selected to receive a $1,500 scholarship.

HostGator is pleased to announce the following winners:

  • Sara Guerry, Radford University, studying social work
  • Nathan Schams, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, studying finance
  • Anita Wittner, Nassau Community College, studying psychology

Enjoy reading their essays, and drop us a comment at the bottom of the page to let us know what you think about the impact of technology over the next 10 years.

Sara Guerry, Radford University

photo of scholarship winner Sara GuerryIn the next 10 years, technology is going to make the biggest impact in the field of mental health. It already is. And we will see the results of that impact in the coming years; both in positive and challenging ways.

I’ve been really curious about the development and success of app-based app based therapy such as TalkSpace. In this time of Millennials and Generation Z, people are not connecting as much face-to-face as we used to, but our fears and anxieties are still present. TalkSpace allows clients to reach a therapist any time in a way that works for them – text, video, or phone. Life is always on the go and not many people have time to dedicate to sitting in an office talking about their problems for an hour.

Additionally, services like TalkSpace are affordable. With the rising costs of medicine and the uncertainty of insurance and policies governing our health, mental health is the first thing to be cut out of most budgets. These types of applications allow anyone to afford mental care and seek help in an ongoing manner.

We also live our lives more externally now. There is still a stigma around mental health and seeking help. But now there’s also a stigma around wearing the same thing twice or tripping on the sidewalk or any other number of things that can be photographed, videoed, snapped, and put on the internet for time immemorial. The perceived shame of being ‘caught’ going to a therapist or talking to one in person can be a major barrier to seeking help.

When siloed into our own heads and seeing the posts of our friends on social media, it’s easy to get perceptions misconstrued. Social media is media of choice and permanency on a very minute level. Everything we post is archived. And, for that reason, there’s a lot of stress involved with marketing oneself just-so 24/7.

One thing that excites me, however, is technology’s opportunity to shift the paradigm. Just as many people see technology as driving a wedge between us as people, it also stands to be the magnet that brings us all back together. Right now, at this moment, I can talk to someone on the other side of the world via a free app. High-speed trains are connecting cities at greater and greater distances, bringing cultures together. What’s on the horizon next?

How can technology reprogram us to being more social in person? How can it help us gain greater appreciation for those around us? What is the potential for finding our way back to each other? Where technology started this challenge, it can also rise to the occasion and redefine the results.

In bringing ourselves back to the physical world through technology, we can center our minds on our environment, on each other, on ourselves. Our mental health can be more focused on our well being. This is why technology is going to have the greatest impact on us in the next 10 years.

 

Nathan Schams, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

photo of scholarship winner Nathan SchamsIn the short time that I have been alive, I have seen the dramatic effects technology has on the world. It is easy to see how technology has inserted itself into our modern culture. From our phones to our cars, technology leads the way. However, there is one industry that technology has left almost untouched, and I believe that is the construction industry. We have seen how things like self-driving cars and iPhones have changed everything from how we take notes to the way we farm, yet we have not seen near enough of this technology implemented into the methods of building our infrastructure. I believe that in the next ten years especially, the construction industry will evolve into something even more phenomenal than it currently is.

Of course, some may say “well Nathan, construction companies have already adopted technologies like Global Positioning Systems and have even gotten complex systems of sensors to control the Los Angeles stoplights to decrease emissions.” However, this is only the tip of the iceberg for construction companies. Could you imagine a world where road construction lasted only weeks not months, and cost less than a quarter of what it currently does? This does not have to be just some crazy dream; in the next ten years, self-driving construction equipment could be working day and night to set up and take down construction barrels, reroute traffic, tear up old road, and pave the new. Just the self-driving capability of construction equipment alone would save $50,000 per year in labor and would also be able to more than double the speed of the actual road work meaning less traffic jams and delays, less injured construction workers, and much less road work.  

Along with self-driving capabilities, there have been many advancements in the realm of artificial intelligence in the last decade, all of which could be applied to the construction industry. Take for example the surveying of a road and the ground on which it lays. For an actual person to survey a road, it could take days and be inaccurate whereas by using AI with the help of certain sensors, we would be able to design an exact model of the current road and use the terrain and topographical maps to plan out what the most efficient way to level the road will be and how to prevent cracks and crevasses from forming. Having roads lasting longer, and people riding smoother, the price of doing road work would decrease significantly making it just as profitable as today: it would just be much more cost effective for our great states. With AI helping build, our highways, interstates, county, and residential streets would be much more straight, flat, and more durable than they had ever been before.

This is just a small sampling of technologies that could make an immense, lasting impact on the construction industry, and it is obvious that construction will be greatly impacted by technology in the next ten years.

 

Anita Wittner, Nassau Community College

photo of scholarship winner Anita WhittnerI believe technological advancements will have an impact on every aspect of our lives, and I expect the greatest impact will be in the food service/concessions/hospitality industry. In the next ten years, the hospitality industry will begin to modernize. There will no longer be keys at hotel rooms, and they will begin to use touch ID. At check-in, each member of the room will register a fingerprint, and to get into their room, they put that finger onto the scanner. This will eliminate the risk of stolen, lost, and missing keys, and the hassle of trying to fix them. Of course, a key will still be able to open the door, maids will need to enter and exit, and will be offered to anyone who is uncomfortable with the policy. Another way the hospitality industry will be able to accommodate its guests is through apps on mobile devices that will allow you to check in, check out, and even order room service without having to wait on lines or call anyone.

Just like hotels will use apps on smartphones for check-in, out, and room service, the concessions industry will use similar technology to promote online ordering. McDonald’s, Starbucks, and many other chain foods currently have their own apps to order from. With growing technology, McDonald’s has decided to utilize self-order kiosks. These kiosks will take over most cashiers. According to businessinsider.com, McDonald’s has decided to put 1000 in their stores every quarter until 2020. In the next 10 years, I see this growing substantially, spreading outside of fast food to stadiums and arenas. In stadiums and arenas, they have even more ways to deliver meals. At certain venues, you can order food through an app, and the food is run to you, called “in-seat” ordering. This allows guests to order while in their seats and the food be brought to them, making their experience more enjoyable.

Another way that the concessions industry will change in 10 years from now is due to facial recognition technology. Large companies are trying to take advantage of this technology, especially stadiums and concert arenas. The facial recognition technology work as so: when you give the venue your credit card information once, you will never have to use it in the venue again. You will simply look at the back of the register where there will be a scanner and it will link your face to your card, making purchases faster and simpler. This would eliminate time spent giving change, and waiting for the chip to process on credit and debit cards.  

I see the concessions/hospitality industry changing the most in the next 10 years, as it has the most room for improvement. At my job, I see the company constantly changing. As we reduce the need for cashiers, we have implemented a stand called the “grab-n-go”, where concertgoers can just walk into a small area filled with refrigerators, take whatever they like out, pay, and leave, eliminating the need for cooks, food runners, and cashiers. This type of innovation is what leads me to believe in the next 10 years, this industry will modernize, and begin to take advantage of many future technological advances.   

 

What Are Your Thoughts?

Do you agree that technology will have a huge impact in the areas of mental health, construction, and food service & hospitality?

If you were answering the essay, what industry do you see technology making the largest impact in the next 10 years? Drop your answer in the comments below!

 

Blair Williamson avatar

Blair Williamson is the content marketing manager for HostGator where she comes up with great ideas for blog content, webinars, and emails to help you rock your business.