[Update: May 23]
We said that we’d reread all of the finalist essays again, but we didn’t plan on reading them all three times each. Along the way, we debated and discussed the merits of each, dropping a few as we went. At the end of the day, two stood out for their inventiveness, writing style and overall vision of the future. We are happy to report Jeff Berger of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Jon Sourbeer of DigiPen Institute of Technology were our winning essayists for the first annual Future of Technology Scholarship.

Jeff took a narrative approach which hindered many contestants, struggling to find that perfect balance between story and unfolding the technological landscape. He was dead on — looking at how Google Glass technology might evolve, envisioning a potential cure for Alzheimers and the coming paperless revolution. He painted a beautiful picture, grounded in the advancement of today’s technological breakthroughs.

Jon took a more traditional approach, but no less powerful. He imagined how current technologies might be implemented. Whether its McDonald’s drones and bionic limbs to driverless cars and gene therapy, Jon dug in deep to really explore some of the consequences of these new technologies and the ripple effects they might have. While he reached in a few spots (i.e. space mining), it was a very intriguing read that was creatively strong and an in depth picture of the future.

Thank you again to everyone who entered the contest. We enjoyed reading all of the entries, and wish you all the best in your educational pursuits. Check back in the fall for more information regarding the scholarship opportunities for 2015.


[Update: May 14] We enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on what the future of technology will hold for us all. Each entry seemed to have an interesting take on where we are headed and cutting these essays down to the final few was not an enviable task. Regardless, all 89 essays have been read and fifteen stood out from the crowd. We’ll be posting the essays from the finalists online, in no particular order, throughout the day tomorrow so you can evaluate the competition. We have made no changes or edits to the original submissions. We are going to push back announcing the two winning essays till May 25 so we have adequate time to reread each essay, evaluate them and contact the universities of the projected winners.

> Zachary Czarnecki of Missouri Western State University
> Jeff Berger of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
> Rachael Wood of University of California-Davis
> Megan Kaczanowski of University of Michigan
> Amy Miller of University of Phoenix
> Wes Grooms of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
> Jon Sourbeer of DigiPen Institute of Technology
> Nekiwa Smith of University of Texas-Arlington
> Arnold Valdez of University of Southern California
> Carrie Gold of Neumont University
> Tony Woods of Stetson University
> Peter Mack of Gateway High School
> Christopher Pulcher-Coard of Santa Monica Community College
> Alden Arnold of Alabama State University
> Jennifer Ysteboe of University of Missouri


[Update: May 2] Thank you to all the participants who entered this year’s Future of Technology Scholarship. Submissions are officially closed as of midnight on May 2. We look forward to reading your reflections on the future.

89 students entered the competition giving you a roughly one in 44 chance of winning one of the two $1000 scholarships.

Our goal is to narrow down the essays to the top ten or fifteen by May 15 then announce the two winning entries on May 20. We will post a follow-up note if these projected time frames should change. We will be contacting the finalists to verify their college of enrollment.


The founders of Vandelay Web are big proponents of education. Regardless of what any politician tells you, education drives the American economy. There is no better way to achieve your dreams and propel your life forward than through higher education.

Unfortunately, college costs have rocketed through the stratosphere, running 2 1/2 times the rate of inflation. According to Forbes, the same college education that cost you $10,000 in 1982 will cost you $59,800 today. Vandelay Web wants to help.

For those high school seniors and students currently enrolled in college in the United States and Canada, we are offering two (2) $1000 scholarships for a pair of winners for our Future of Technology essay competition. So what exactly is the Future of Technology? That’s what we want you to tell us.

We are a year away from the future the 1989 motion picture Back to the Future II promised, yet we still don’t have flying cars or hoverboards. The film’s director, Robert Zemeckis, was peering 26 years into the future so we thought it would be an interesting exercise to give this concept a reload. Where will technology take us in the year 2040. Will driverless cars blanket the highways? Will a desktop computer be good for anything more than a doorstop? Will our homes become one giant iPad?

In 1000 to 2000 words, paint a picture of the world we inhabit in 2040 and how technology has fundamentally changed our lives. Tap into your creativity and use your imagination to construct the landscape of this mythical future. Take chances with your futuristic design but ultimately stay firmly rooted in the science and trends unfolding within technology today.

Essay participants should be:

> At least 16 years of age at the time of entry.
> Currently enrolled as a senior in high school or as a student in a college, university, technical or trade school located in the United States or Canada.
> Must be a United States or Canadian citizen or hold a current student visa.

Only one essay per applicant will be considered. The application deadline is Thursday, May 1, 2014. Please submit entries below or use our contact form if you have any questions.

This scholarship has closed. Please refer to our Aaron Swartz Scholarship for 2015.

Students agree that on submission essays will become property of Vandelay Web. Essays with the entrants name, image and biographical description will be used on vandelayweb.com as well as in any promotional efforts concerning the Vandelay Web scholarship program. Email addresses will only be used to contact students with updates regarding their status in the Future of Technology Scholarship.

Image: scyther5 on Shutterstock