Teradatariver Scholarship Program 2017 – Finalists

#5 Kadi Gashlin

University of Central Florida
Aerospace Engineering

As an engineering student, having a well working laptop is very important to both my studies and career use. An engineering laptop needs to be durable, be able to support the software, all while being portable and lightweight.

A good engineering laptop should have a fast processing speed, so that itís easier to support programs such as Excel, Matlab, SolidWorks and AutoCAD. These programs are intensive and many laptops canít even support them, and many of the ones that do have a slower processing speed which makes the program lag and take a long time to even start. Going hand in hand with processing speed is RAM. To get a desired processing speed, you must have large RAM that can support it. Slow processing speed means slow programming, something you canít waste your time on in this field.

The next most important aspect is having a good graphics card. The most used programs in engineering listed above are three dimensional, so the laptop has to be able to process the image quickly and produce the image on the screen. Along with this card the laptop needs to have a large hard drive for memory. These programs themselves take up a large amount of room in the laptop, not even considering the designs you have saved, the class papers and documents saved, and music applications such as iTunes and Spotify to make studying go along smoother.

I have done my research and found that the best laptop for my needs is the Dell XPS15. This laptop has everything Iíve been looking foróa large hard drive with fast booting times, a fast graphics rendering time, an 8 hour battery life even when software is running, it has a 15.6 inch screen that can show two windows side by side clearly, and it even has Bluetooth that makes for easy sharing of designs.

As of now I use a very basic laptop, which freezes occasionally and takes a while to boot up but for my less intensive classes, it gets the job done. I have not gotten into my more intensive courses that require all that software, but will start to by next year. I am in a few engineering clubs, including the Lunar Knights, where we design and build our own Mars Rover and compete with it at NASA. As part of the mechanical team, we design first with basic drawings on the board to find out basis, and then design with AutoCAD to see the idea more clearly and see more easily where we need to improve. I was unable to take work on a section of the rover on my own as my laptop cannot support these programs, leading me to miss out on a great opportunity to enhance my design experience.

The only thing keeping me from obtaining the laptop thatís best for me is the price, as I cannot afford to pay the $1,300 for it on top of my other expenses. Iím hoping that with both my efforts to save enough money and with the help of this scholarship that I will be able to afford this laptop that will help me in my education, experience and in my future career.

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#4 Cesar Roberto Lainez

San José State University
Mechanical Engineering

My name is Cesar Roberto Lainez and Iím a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student at San Jose State University, which is in the Silicon Valley. I came to the Valley to become a Mechanical Engineer to improve people’sí lives. I want to get into the medical device industry to improve peopleís health and well-being by using my skills as a Mechanical Engineer. Before I can help others, however, I need to be well-equipped to study. Iím therefore reaching out to Teradatariver for help along the way through the $1,000 Laptop Scholarship for College Student. I already have a laptop, but itís not powerful enough for what I want to do. The Lenovo Yoga 910 is the laptop Iíd buy if I won the laptop scholarship because itís powerful, lightweight, and easy to use.

The Yoga 910 is powerful enough to run mechanical engineering computer programs. At around the price point of $1,000, laptops usually have 8 gigabytes of RAM and the latest generation i7 mobile processor. The Yoga 910 is $949 and has an i7 7500U mobile processor and 8 gigabytes of RAM. The Yoga 910 is capable enough to allow me to use computer-aided-drafting programs more efficiently. Iíll be working on several team design projects this year and will be drawing many 3D models on both Creo and SolidWorks. Since Creo and SolidWorks mainly depend on a computerís processing power to work well, I need a computer with a powerful processor. My current laptop can draw 3D models, but itís painfully slow at drawing. The i7 processor in the Yoga 910 is capable of rendering my models a lot faster than my current laptop. Rendering is when a computer makes CAD drawings look less like drawings and more like how they look in real life. Being able to render faster will mean that Iíll have to wait less time for rendering, thus allowing me to do more for my team projects. Also, my programs will run smoothly and without crashing because the laptop has a lot of RAM. This is good because any problems in rendering or drawing results in delays. A high amount of ram would minimize the risk of programs crashing while drawing or while rendering, thus helping my team to stay on schedule.

Additionally, the Yoga 910 is really portable, which is ideal for me because Iím always on the move. As a mechanical engineering student, I carry a lot of stuff with me including my laptop. Unfortunately, my current laptop weighs a ton. Carrying my laptop with its brick charger, books, notebooks, and school supplies is like carrying a boat anchor to and from class. To make matters worse, I walk around campus a lot. I walk across campus to meet with classmates to study and walk up and down stairs every day. Itís uncomfortable to have to carry so much weight all the time. Luckily, the Yoga 910 is lightweight at just 3.04 pounds, so it would be really easy to carry around and would reduce the weight Iíll have to carry. Carrying a Yoga 910 would allow me to move around more easily with more comfort and with less effort.

The Yoga 910ís touch screen makes it easier to use than my current computer. I always have my computer in my backpack to do everything from reading electronic class textbooks, writing emails, watching video tutorials for class concepts, and making CAD drawings. I rely on a mouse to use my computer now. However, anything I do with a mouse now would be easier to do with a touchscreen. I have a small tablet that I sometimes read my books and emails with and the tablet does this flawlessly. Ever since I first used the touch screen technology, I realized that using it on a bigger screen would be really useful. Since the Yoga 910 laptop has a ì2 in 1î form factor, I could use it as a tablet most of the time. For example, reading a textbook would just require swiping up and down the screen with a finger instead of using a clunky mouseís scroll wheel. In CAD, I would use my fingers to zoom in and out of my drawing and even rotate my drawing, all of which is more difficult to do with a mouse. So, the touch screen will make it easier to do my schoolwork.

I know that the Lenovo Yoga 910 is the perfect laptop for me. It can run all of my mechanical engineering programs flawlessly. It is also really lightweight, so it would make it easier to move around campus. Its touch screen would make it really easy to use for my everyday tasks. I know I would really benefit from getting the $1,000 Laptop Scholarship for College Students. Ultimately, the Yoga 910 Iíll buy with the scholarship will help me prepare to enter the medical device industry. By helping me improve my ability to study, I will be better prepared to design medical devices to improve peopleís lives.

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#3 Katherine Ho

University of California, Los Angeles
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Every day is leg day at UCLA. Awkward Steps as wide as the Pacific Ocean, Death Steps as steep as Mount Everest, stairs that lead to shady hallways which lead to more stairs, taking the stairs because otherwise people would give you the stink eye for taking the elevator to the third floor even though you are at basement level – we have it all. Every day is leg day, leg day for days. But I do not have the legs for this. I don’t even reach 5 feet tall. As you can imagine, it is a daily challenge for my short legs to handle with all these hills and stairs but since I can’t change the landscape of my school, it’s possible for me to change the laptop that contributes to my achy, breaky back.

It is a rather abusive relationship. At 5.5 pounds, my 2011 HP Envy packs a punch by unforgivingly crashing when I need it most, literally screaming at me when it’s low on power, and never having my back when I’m trying to make that 11:59 PM deadline. But because it was my first laptop ever, I cherished it, loved it, kissed it. But it’s falling apart at the hinges as I type and chokes at the sight of Photoshop, so I want OUT.

If I were to win the $1000 Laptop Scholarship for College Students, I would upgrade to the HP Spectre x360. For obvious reasons (seriously, UCLA architects!), it is a lightweight solution to helping my back at only 2.89 pounds. But that’s not the only reason why. If I were to have this laptop, I would carry even less than what I usually do. I’m an artist in my spare time. Often, I would have to carry my brick of a laptop plus another 2-pound graphics tablet on top of books that weigh as much as they cost. If I keep it up any longer, I might develop premature osteoporosis. With the Spectre x360, I can ditch my decrepit graphics tablet because it has a built-in touchscreen and pen support with superior pen pressure sensitivity. This also means I can save paper and the environment (polar bears!) by taking notes directly on the screen.

The Spectre x360 runs on the latest Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake processor and Intel HD Graphics 620, which happens to have promising benchmark reviews. I’m not a professional artist by any means, but I do anticipate that digital painting, video editing, photo editing, and maybe some light sound design would be an entirely different and wonderful experience on the Spectre compared to what I have to work with now.

I need portability, reliability, and endurance. This can be said of the laptop as a whole, but what I’m really talking about is battery life. I can’t always summon a power outlet conveniently whenever I need it, and I definitely don’t want to carry even more extra weight by carrying a bulky charger. I can’t express how much I adore the Spectre x350 for it boasts up to 16 hours of battery life, which means I can spend more time on campus with significantly reduced battery anxiety. I’m sold.

I suppose, the final message I want to convey is that I want to treat myself for once. It’s hard for college students everywhere and we often forget to take care of ourselves because we’re so focused on our busy lives. Sometimes, taking care of yourself is to take a breather from studying. Sometimes it’s actually remembering to feed yourself. Other times, taking care of yourself is to tell yourself that you deserve better than what others tell you: that you should be grateful to have the privilege of even attaining higher education and to quit being shallow and materialistic when there are starving children out there. These people don’t understand. Maybe my so-called materialistic desires is what enables me to extend my potential towards helping these hypothetical children or to better the world by allowing me to do more.

I need portability, reliability, and endurance. I realize that the Spectre x360 is popular choice and an expensive one at that, but I believe it is popular for a reason – that it’s one of the best performing laptops on the market that can fulfill a wide range of needs. As a student, I need something portable to take up and down the stairs, to class, to club meetings. As a leader, I need something reliable so that I no longer hesitate to volunteer to take on media related projects without fearing the possibility that I’d let my team down for something unfortunate out of my control. As a financially strapped college student, I need something that can endure and last the test of time because it is not often that I get the chance to invest in something that expands the potential of what I can do, or at the very least, allow me to do the things I do with efficiency.

The last reason resonates with me the most. If I were to win this scholarship, that is what I strive to do – to use the new abilities that the Spectre x360 will give me to do better. Most of all, it’s just to treat myself with something good for once without feeling guilty.
Of course, not going to lie, but the laptop looks pretty and I deserve to watch Netflix in tent mode once in a while, no?

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#2 Theresa Eugene

George Mason University
Assistive Technology Masters Program

As a fully online student, having a computer that meets all of my needs is very important. I do not have easy access to a computer lab on campus. If I win the Teradatariver $1000 Laptop Scholarship for College Students, I will buy the Dell XPS 15 Touch Laptop.

A power outage is one of a studentís worst nightmares. This inevitable occurrence could mean that I am unable to continue working on school work because I have a limited battery life with no way of charging my electronics. The XPS 15 Touch boasts a battery life of up to 19.5 hours. This is perfect on the go and in situations where I may not readily have access to a power outlet. In the event of an outage emergency, the XPS comes with an optional power pack that supplies an additional 9 hours. While this may not solve all of my power outage issues, it will enable me to access course materials and to continue working on my readings and assignments so that I wonít fall behind. I would also be able to communicate my power outage situation with my professors and work on alternative modes of assignment submission or time extension.

As an online graduate student, all of my lectures, presentations, and course interactions will take place digitally. A major interest and component of my education is using 3D modeling and design technology to prototype assistive technology devices. Prototypes are used to prove the technical feasibility of an emerging rehabilitation or assistive device and to get feedback from experts in the field. Computer-aided design (CAD) technology is not compatible with all laptops and there are strict technology requirements to run this software. The XPS is equipped with a very powerful 7th Generation Intel Quad Core processor, it has the ability to provide maximum memory and storage, it has a top notch video card, and it has the ultra-sharp 4K HD display which is great for visualization. All of these features will enable me to use CAD technology and a 3D printer to innovate solutions to some of the most critical needs in the disability and rehabilitation field.

The touch screen allows me to use a smart pen with my computer which helps convert my screen into a digital notepad. A smart pen is a very innovative tool that would be helpful for any student. While I can take notes by typing on my laptop or writing on paper, a smart pen allows me to take notes directly on the laptop screen. Instead of having written notes separate from a visual presentation or lecture outline, I could annotate my thoughts and questions directly on the materials being discussed which would help bridge the learning process for me. In addition, a smart pen enables me to engage in virtual group editing sessions on a virtual whiteboard with my classmates. During group assignments, I can use a smart pen to draw visuals or link concepts by writing and making signs. A touch screen will enhance my ability to perform all of these functions with clarity and efficiency.

The XPS 15 laptop has The Killer 1535 805.11 AC Wireless adapter, which is the newest and quickest of the wi-fi technologies. It is very important for me to have reliable wi-fi connectivity as my masterís degree program is mostly online. In addition, I currently own a 3-in-1 printer combo which provides great space saving and flexibility. The wi-fi printer communicates with my laptop over a local wireless network, which means I do not have to connect using wires. I sometimes have difficulty printing from my wi-fi printer due to the weak wi-fi signals between my devices. I often have to wait hours for my computer and printer to finally communicate and print my requested documents. If I urgently need my document, I forward it to my phone and try to print from there, creating a loophole to make up for my poor wi-fi on my current computer. In some cases, I have to rush to the library to print my document as I am an off campus student. The XPSí reliable wi-fi connectivity features will help prevent work disruptions and increase productivity without the need of extra technology such as a wi-fi range extender or purchasing a wired printer.

The XPS 15 also incorporates Bluetooth 4.1, a wireless technology that is used to connect devices without using cables and to exchange data over short distances between personal devices. With the innovations in technology, many accessories such as an external mouse, a voice dictation microphone, and others are designed to be connected via Bluetooth technology. I use certain external accessories to adapt my computer workstation to my personal needs and to increase functionality. This connectivity feature will help ensure that my computer accessories and devices are able to seamlessly connect to my computer.

The XPS 15 Touch is definitely the best laptop choice for me. It provides outstanding battery performance, the software and hardware is compatible with select technology that I will need for my education and career field, and the connectivity features are the best for optimum performance.

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#1 Peter Steven Procek

University of Wisconsin – Madison
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science

As an Electrical Engineering graduate student, my needs for a laptop are (unsurprisingly) academic; a powerful processor and a decent chunk of RAM Is crucial for running a slew of CAD and simulation programs, from routing PCB board designs in Altium to compiling processor and hardware designs in Xilinxs’ ISE. These are the professional programs that can convert an idea into something physical – to do it fast and efficiently, it takes plenty of memory bandwidth and CPU strength. As a gamer, my needs for a laptop are leisurely; with all the projects, finals and deadlines, diffusing my brain is crucial and gaming is my mental asylum. I need a laptop that has a powerful graphics card – one that’ll let me crush my opponents in Overwatch on ultra-high settings. Most importantly, however, as an involved team member of a large student organization, I need a laptop that lifts the anchor off computer labs to give me the mobility I desperately need. As the Virtual Reality team lead for Badgerloop, a student organization competing in SpaceX’s Hyperloop competition this August, I strive to enable other students to learn graphics and visualization concepts while creating a platform for exploring meaningful applications of virtual reality. With the Teradatariver scholarship in hand, I could finally afford the ASUS ROG GL502VM-DS74 laptop which would satisfy those needs perfectly.

Being an Electrical and Computer Engineering student, I am often tasked with designing various processors and circuits for classes, research projects and for fun. Designing these processors is no simple feat. I begin with a goal—what purpose will the processor serve and how can I optimized it to perform this task better than what’s out there. After creating a preliminary design, I write the design in a hardware description language (HDL); HDL, much different from a programming language, can take a description and create the mapping for the highway of millions of transistors that are the result of the design. Then come the computationally and thread heavy simulations which takes my design and simulates it, a critical step in flushing out the kinks. Finally, synthesis takes place and the design I created is compiled (mapped) into physical transistor/logic gate layout. The larger the design, the broader the goal, and the more realistic the design constraints, the longer it takes for these designs to be compiled. During my undergraduate career, I worked with a research group which designed an implementation of an AMD Southern Islands compute unit—the complex brains of AMD’s Radeon HD 7000 series of graphics cards—capable of running real AMD benchmark software. This design alone would take upwards of a half hour to compile on lab computers. With the ASUS ROG’s powerful i7 and 16GB of memory, these engineering chores could be torn through with ease.

Being the Virtual Reality team lead for Badgerloop, a competitor in SpaceX’s Hyperloop Competition aimed at revolutionizing the future of transport, I seek to explore meaningful applications of virtual reality technologies across a wide array of engineering and STEM disciplines. Virtual reality (VR) has the capability to give us unprecedented power in how we interact with data. With previous experience as a VR developer at the Living Environments Laboratory, a VR lab at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, I witnessed firsthand the versatility of VR. At the Living Environments Lab, we conducted research experiments in healthcare using VR technologies to see how environments could affect the way people take care of themselves. Seeing the potential of VR as a tool in engineering, I formed a VR team under Badgerloop to create immersive hyperloop simulations, to provide captivating mechanisms for educating the public about the hyperloop, and to explore topics such as virtual prototyping of products. While I can be found often in lab working on these VR projects with my team, being a working student means I’m always on the go. To be able to have a way to develop these ideas and work on VR applications where ever I am and use every minute I can in a day would be invaluable. Tasks such as 3D modeling and high-fidelity rendering would be handled masterfully and fast by the 6GB GTX 1060 packed in the ASUS ROG. Rendering VR in real time in the Unity engine with eloquent dynamic lighting and an abundance of high resolution textures would utilize all the power and memory the GPU offers.

Being a gaming enthusiast, I also need a powerful GPU to keep up with the high-fidelity graphics modern games are pushing. I want to be encapsulated by scenery as I storm Normandy in Call of Duty WWII. I want to feel like I’m in the trenches in Germany in Battlefield 1. I want to be taken to other worlds, ones that can’t otherwise be seen, in virtual reality. The ASUS ROG is the vehicle to these worlds. The GTX 1060 is the window into the worlds. The 128 GB SATA III SSD is the jet engine that will get me to them faster. But to get onto the vehicle and escape from stresses of everyday life, I need a ticket—the Teradatariver scholarship.

As a student, an engineer, and a team lead, my dependence on a powerful graphical machine is paramount. Every minute saved in the process of creating and engineering is a minute I can use to continue my engineering explorations faster without major bottlenecks. The graphics card is the perfect pairing for all the graphics intensive work I am involved in. The fast i7 and 2400Mhz RAM paired with a solid-state drive means blazing fast application processing across the board. The 1Tb HDD gives me all the room to store my important files and games. Its lightweight design allows for perfect balance of power and mobility. The ASUS ROG will not only help me accomplish my engineering pursuits, but it will also allow me to be untethered letting me collaborate with my peers and reach new technological heights.

  • Teradatariver - Best Laptops 2017, Specs and News
    Teradatariver - Best Laptops 2017, Specs and News