Top 15 Strangest Scholarships

Thousands of soon-to-be students are hunting for extra financial assistance for college tuition. Without a perfect SAT score or the ability to run a sub 4.5 forty yard dash, you might find your chances of securing a scholarship aren’t looking too bright. However, you might not realize that your odd talent or hobby may make you the perfect applicant for one of these 15 strange but real scholarships.

Oink, Oink

Has your room been compared to a sty? Are you comfortable living in a messy habitat? These aren’t requirements for a scholarship, but they are attributes of the creatures you care about – pigs! If you’re interested in creatures of the bovine persuasion, this is the scholarship for you; the International Boar Semen (IBS) Scholarship is available for those interested in swine management. For more information, visit piggene.com/IBS/ibs_home.htm.

The Next Generation of . . . Klingons

Trekkies, leave your capes, figurines, posters and other memorabilia behind. Just bring, well, yourself! Klingon Language Institute, in an effort to promote language study, awards one lucky winner a $500 Kor Memorial Scholarship-but don’t worry, fluency in Klingon is not a requirement. Check out the requirements for this scholarship at: kli.org/scholarship/.

Think Tall Thoughts

You’ve got Michael Jordan’s stature but you’re about as agile as a water buffalo. That’s okay with Tall Clubs International! Males over 6’2″ and females above 5’8″ are encouraged to apply. The reward is no small (pun intended) amount either; Tall.org awards a whopping $1,000 scholarship to the winner. Find more info at: http://www.tall.org.

Yo, Shorti!

For the vertically challenged, the Billy Barty Foundation offers scholarships to students of “short stature”. Similarly, the Little People of America awards students – and their families – scholarships. To join, members must be 4’10” and shorter. Scholarship amounts range from $250 to $1000. Read all the requirements at: lpaonline.org.

More Trans fat, please!

Say goodbye to the cabbage soup, grapefruit only, or south beach diets! The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance encourages “fat” people to apply for one of their two merit-based scholarships. The scholarships, offered to already-existing NAAF members, awards $1,000 for first place, while the second place prize is $500. For more fat-friendly information regarding the scholarships, go to: naafa.org/newevents/shcolarship.html

For the Herbivores

Calling all veggie-lovers around the world! Two health-conscious winners will be awarded $5,000 in scholarship money from the Vegetarian Resource Group. But be forewarned: unless you love your legumes, this scholarship is not for you. Eligible applicants must not only exemplify a healthy lifestyle, but also promote vegetarianism within their community too. For more information visit: vrg.org.

Sk8 through School

Thanks to Tony Hawk and a few scrapes, bruises, and breaks, your skateboarding skills may have finally paid off. The Patrick Kerr Skateboard scholarship program awards four different scholarships each year. One applicant will receive a $5,000 college scholarship and three others will receive $1,000 awards. And your mother thought skateboarding would never get you anywhere! Requirements include maintaining at least a 2.5 out of 4.0 GPA, be a graduating senior, and a United States citizen. Be sure to read all the requirements skateboardscholarship.org.

Bit of the Bubbly, Please

Finally, your weakness for wine might serve another purpose-besides the pounding morning-after headache. The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (AASEV) awards multiple students for enrolling in science fields relating to the grape and wine industry. The scholarship amount is not predetermined; it varies year to year. To read other requirements for this scholarship, go to: asev.org/scholarship-program.

Bowling for Dollars

Though those middle-school years of loitering around bowling alleys have ended, your talent for earning turkeys may finally be cashing in. The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) offers a range of scholarships, including the Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow that offers a $1,500 renewable scholarship for distinguished male high school bowlers and the Alberta E. Crow Star of Tomorrow that also offers $1,500 in renewable scholarship funds for great female high school bowlers. Read more at: bowl.com/smart/locateState.aspx.

Got Milk?

The Scholar-Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year award is given to twenty-five graduating high school seniors who have what it takes to sport the famous milk mustache; winners receive $7,500 in scholarship funds. If that’s not enough, winners receive a special ad that runs in USA Today. If that’s not enough, winners receive an all-expense trip to an awards ceremony at Disney Wide World of Sports’ Milk House in Orlando, FL and an induction into the Milk House Hall of Fame. Check out applications at: sammy.bodybymilk.com.

Offer an Organ

You signed up to be an organ donor when you received your license. Put that heart on your ID to use! The Students for Organ Donation Youth Leadership award one or two $500 to $1,000 scholarships to full-time high school or undergraduate college students. Successful candidates actively promote organ donation and transplantation. More criteria to apply for this scholarship can be found at: studentdonor.org.

Tee It Up

You’ve seen them trudging up and down the greens, toting thirty pounds of iron on their backs, and offering tips to improve swings, distance and posture. Finally, they’re due their recognition; Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund, founded in 1949, offers anywhere from $1,500 to $7,500 per year to caddies. Eligible applicants must have served at least two years as caddies, helpers in the pro shop or course superintendent operations at a club in Massachusetts. Read more information: ouimet.org/scholarships/

Color in the Lines

Did you meticulously color in the lines of your coloring books as a child? You may have graduated from crayons to acrylics, but the concept is the same: you’re an artist at heart. Established in 1983, the L. Ron Hubbard Illustrator of the Future contest awards both quarterly and annual scholarships, ranging from $1,500 to $4,000. Read more : writersofthefuture.com

Hot, Hot, Hot

You’ve heard it, those three little words…in case of a fire: stop, drop and roll to safety. Earning a scholarship from the American Fire Sprinkler Association is almost just as easy; AFSA offers ten $2,000 scholarships per year to graduating high school seniors. Requirements include reading an essay and taking an online (and open-book) test. Read more about this sizzling offer on: afsascholarship.org.

Giddyup, cowboy!

The Arabian Horse Foundation offers an annual scholarship of $2,500 to one eligibly equine enthusiast. The scholarship, named in remembrance of William Zekan, is offered to horse lovers that demonstrate financial need, are currently either a high school senior or college freshman and can provide two letters of recommendation. For more eligibility criteria: arabianhorsefoundation.org.

Water or Coolant Mixed With the Transmission Fluid: Is the Gearbox Ruined?

A silent killer of automatic transmissions or gearboxes is water or coolant mixing with automatic transmission fluid (ATF). This problem used to be seen in older vehicles with neglected engine cooling systems, but is becoming common in later model cars and trucks that have followed their maintenance schedules. The result is always the same: the transmission must be completely overhauled or replaced.

Can the Contaminated Fluid be Cleaned Out Before Damage Occurs?

Just about every automatic transmission on the road today uses cellulose based paper lined plates called clutches or frictions. These clutches act like brakes for moving and stopping different components inside the gearbox. When the shifter is placed into drive or reverse, it’s the frictions that are being applied.

The paper that lines the clutch plates is a very delicate material that is glued to a steel backbone. Before the paper is glued to the plate, it has the strength and consistency of a graham cracker. Once the material is bonded, it becomes much stronger and can last a very long time under normal operating conditions.

The clutch material is Hygroscopic. This means when the clutches are exposed to moisture, the paper material will displace ATF for water. That moisture reaches the steel plates causing rust, and breaks down the glue that bonds the paper to the plate. A study done by International Lubricants Inc about the effects of water exposed to automatic transmission clutches states, “The testing indicated that water added at levels as low as 600 mg/kg migrated to the surface of untreated paper frictionals and contributed to loss of the paper coating and erratic torque transfer properties.” In laymen’s terms, that means less than a tablespoon of water or engine coolant in a transmission can cause a failure.

How Did Water Get There?

There are three ways water can enter a transmission:

  1. Through the engine’s radiator. From the 1950’s to now, most automatic gearboxes are cooled with the same water based system that keeps the engine from overheating. There’s a separate tank in the radiator for transmission fluid that allows the coolant to take heat away from the ATF without mixing the two liquids. When a leak occurs between the ATF and engine coolant tanks in the radiator, the fluids will mix with each other. It was more common in older vehicles that had eroded cooling systems due to neglect, but some of today’s newer vehicles are using materials that are failing because of pressure problems in the cooling system.
  2. Exposure to deep water. Driving through large puddles during rain storms or off road driving can expose the transmission’s breathing system to moisture. The best chance of preventing a failure is to check for water in the ATF after a vehicle has been in this type of scenario.
  3. Moisture entering through the dipstick. Most vehicles have a dipstick where ATF is checked and added. Moisture can easily enter the transmission if the dipstick was sprayed with water during an engine cleaning, or in some cases, water draining from rain or a carwash drips onto the dipstick. GM and Chrysler have bulletins pertaining to this problem on some models of their vehicles. Qualified shops will have access to check for these types of bulletins. A tell tale sign of this problem is moisture or rust around the dipstick tube.

Replace or Rebuild?

It depends on how much water mixed with the transmission fluid, how long the vehicle was driven with the contaminated ATF, and the type of gearbox your vehicle has. Metal and electronic parts inside the transmission will quickly corrode when exposed to moisture. If there is too much damage inside of the gearbox, the cost of the parts to rebuild the trans will exceed the cost of replacing the unit with a remanufactured product. Some manufacturers like Nissan and Chevy have computers inside of the gearbox that will fail when exposed to moisture. These computers or mechtronics cost as much as $2,000 and that does not include rebuilding the rest of the unit. When parts cost that much, it’s often a better decision to replace the gearbox entirely.

To sum things up, if water gets in a transmission, there’s no way to get around an expensive repair. Flushing the fluid out will only cost you extra money and can make the inevitable failure happen sooner. Service the engine’s cooling system regularly and ask a professional transmission mechanic if your car is common for this type of failure. If it is, bypass the radiator with an external oil cooler.

Hispanics Become Second Largest USA Consumer Market

Hispanics now make up the second largest consumer group in the USA after non-Hispanic whites, who are the largest group with 200 million. One in every six U.S. residents is now Hispanic. The 2010 Census is expected to count 50 million Hispanics, whose population in America has increased 42% over the past 10 years, compared to 5% growth for the rest of the population.

Obviously this will have a major impact on many companies’ decisions involving Hispanic website localization and translation into Spanish for online marketing materials. But the issues are more complex, as U.S. Hispanics represent a swiftly changing demographic, where the English language is gaining strength, yet Latino branding and identity holds sway.

A return to a market with “traditional values?” A recent article in Advertising Age speculates that one of the most remarkable aspects of U.S. Hispanic consumers is how closely they resemble the idealized “nuclear family” image of the 1950s. Hispanics are young, with a median age equivalent to that of the general populace in the USA in the 1950s, and are more inclined than the rest of the population to live in large, traditional, married-with-children families with lots of participation from grandparents.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hispanics are more likely to eat family meals at home and spend less on alcohol. Like the nuclear families of the 1950s, Hispanics are moving to the suburbs, tend to be community-oriented and have high aspirations for their children. This presents potential for a growing and strong market for the same consumer goods and services that the nation consumed as a whole when baby boomers were young. Ironically the highly strategic Hispanic market is gaining significant strength just as baby boomers are moving into retirement.

Hispanics make up a changing, youthful market segment Hispanics will likely account for a boost in consumer spending as baby boomers begin moving into retirement in large numbers around 2015. Over one third of Hispanics are children under 18 years of age, and 91% of Hispanic children were born in the USA. In contrast, only 47% of Hispanic adults were born in the U.S., which has great implications on how Hispanics overall will acculturate. Youthful, U.S.-born Hispanics typically attend public schools, rapidly gaining English language skills and adapting to U.S. culture more quickly than their parents did.

Over the next 10 years, as millions of bilingual Hispanic teens come of age and enter the workforce as young adults, their consumer behavior is likely to move closer to that of other non-Hispanic young adults. The large size and heavy geographic concentration of this segment of the Hispanic population makes it likely that Hispanic culture will remain strong, even among U.S.-born children.

Language and cultural branding issues One of the biggest challenges for online marketing professionals is how to reach young, acculturated bilingual Hispanics, who choose products differently than their parents (who didn’t grow up in the USA) and don’t spend as much time with Spanish-language media.

Yet, young bilingual Hispanics still feel a deep sense of Latino identity. The message? Even English-only campaigns aimed at this group will need carefully selected Latino branding, icons and psychographics for years to come.

The English language is making gains as the language that U.S. Hispanics are most comfortable speaking. Recent research reveals that 27% of Hispanics are most comfortable speaking the English language with another 17% comfortable in both the English language and the Spanish language. This means that 44% of the demographic (nearly half) is currently at ease in English. As the large, youthful portion of this consumer segment, born in the USA, reaches maturity, preference for and comfort with English will only increase.

Who are Hispanics and what kind of Spanish language do they speak? GPI has previously written about this topic in our blog “Why You Need a Localized Website for the U.S. Hispanic Market.” Although the majority of U.S. Hispanics identify with Mexico for ethnic origin, a large portion identify with ten other countries that extend as far south as Colombia and Peru. Our previous blog covers specifics about primary cultural values and factors in consumer decision-making that are predominant in the U.S. Hispanic market. The same blog also covers how to translate to a “universal” form of Spanish that works for Hispanics from different countries.

Why will Hispanic identity and Latino values persist? Globalization has created a connection to countries of origin for immigrants in the USA that was impossible in any previous period of history. Immigrants from all parts of the world are now able to maintain unbroken communication with family and friends in their place of origin via Skype, inexpensive Internet connections, even affordable mobile phone calling plans. Thanks to recent economic downturns, international airfares have never been more affordable.

Satellite and cable TV frequently provide channels devoted to home-country languages and culture. These affordable means of communication and cultural contact are having a transformative impact on U.S. culture; note the global cues in fast-evolving domestic trends in fashion, food and music. For example, look at the impact India’s Bollywood-style musicals have had on mainstream music videos.

Hispanic demographic is geographically concentrated Latino values and Hispanic consumer preferences are also reinforced by the fact that this domestic consumer market is highly concentrated in a few regions of the country. Over 50% of U.S. Hispanics reside in California and Texas. In fact, state-level research in California indicated 3 years ago that Hispanics made up one third of that state’s population and are expected to become a majority in California by 2042. The other six states with more than one million Hispanics are Florida, New York, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey and Colorado.

This is actually a benefit to those companies targeting the domestic Hispanic market with traditional media, as print advertising and broadcast time can be purchased on a selective, regional basis with maximum impact. Hispanics are a more lucrative target market than many other, more geographically scattered ethnic groups.

Youthful Hispanic population has large households On average, the Hispanic population is 10 years younger than the general population of non-Hispanics. The U.S. Hispanic median age is just under 28 years old; 75% of adult Hispanics are age 18-49 compared to 56% of non-Hispanics.

Hispanics boast the largest household size of any population segment in the USA. The average Hispanic family has 4.0 members compared with 2.9 members in the average white, non-Hispanic family. Only 4% of adult Hispanics live alone compared to 15% of white non-Hispanics.

Positive impact of Hispanic consumers on the U.S. economy As mentioned before, in the middle of this decade millions of baby boomers will begin moving into retirement. That means that this traditionally lucrative market segment will be substantially reducing its consumer spending. At the same time, a large portion of the youthful Hispanic population will be coming of age, entering the workforce and the marketplace. Hispanic consumers will play a key role in replacing retiring baby boomers in the consumer marketplace and will contribute to a potential upswing in retail spending and economic growth.

Take-away message Over the next 15 years, the importance of domestic websites in Spanish may decrease somewhat. However, globalization and the high concentration of Hispanics in certain regions of the country will reinforce Latino identity for generations to come, requiring skillful branding and Hispanic website imagery that appeals to these highly strategic consumers.

What Is a Company Profile and How Do You Create One in Investment Banking?

Maybe it’s a bit jaded of me, but I think of company profiles the same way I think of Wikipedia entries – a hodgepodge of basic-as-Ben-Stiller information that’s not particularly interesting, but always necessary to have on hold.

The reason we create company profiles in investment banking is for use when analyzing the competitive landscape of our client company’s industry and for using in presentations to the client about possible deals (who can they buy, who can buy them, who to watch out for).

Company profiles also help us keep tabs on who’s doing what and where each player fits in – very CIAish I know.

What does a company profile literally consist of?

It depends on what it’s being used for.

In say a basic ‘Market Update’ PowerPoint presentation going out to a client, each company profile (of the client’s competitors/suppliers/customers etc) may only be a one slide summary with a 3 sentence description, 5 numbers/multiples, recent news etc – this super succinct form occurs when say 5-15 competitors are being profiled at once in a basic presentation.

In it’s longer form, say if you were detailing every potential acquisition target in a formal pitch book (!), a company profile could include several slides that straddle everything from historical financials to extensive qualitative descriptions of the company’s revenue streams to detailed analysis of specific parts of the company (to suit the immediate usage requirements).

In this form the company profile gets heavy and moves beyond the realm of mere Wikipedia copycat!

Because company profiles are often merely a collection of simple information scattered beautifully across a few slides, they’re considered Intern Level Work and will probably be one of the first things your analyst-mentor will palm off to you come summer. As you can see from the above, you don’t need a 3.8 GPA from Stanford to pull these off.

How should you go about prepping for company profiles?

When you get into the bank flick read through a couple past examples, internalize the language, structure, components, and metrics used, and quite soon you’ll know how to create company profiles without even referencing precedent samples.

The first thing you will notice when reading past examples is how tranquilizer-esque they are; they’ll put you to sleep in an instant.

The data, the language, the facts, the summary – it’s all so common knowledge and BS sounding. But your job is not to win a freaking Excel or creative writing competition so don’t try to break with convention and pen some Charles Dicken prose or engineer some insanely original multiples when you’re asked to give it a go.

Instead play it safe and create company profiles that blend in, not stand out

If you want to impress bankers here then all you need to do is present with extreme succinctness – super industrious language paired with only the really important numbers/graphs etc will wow bankers since it saves them time and hides the “who cares” details.

Some students think they need to find interesting facts and figures about the company that aren’t readily accessible via a company search on some half-rate intelligence database to impress here.

But trust me when I say finding uber original info like this is time consuming and really not expected – and when you’ve had 2 hours sleep in 2 days why would you get all sadomasochistic on yourself with some freaking primary research?

That said, you can’t create all your company profiles by simply grabbing text from a database search, or (and yes this is very common) copy-pasting a Wikipedia entry on the company or text from the company’s own website!!

Instead you need to write from scratch using the tone/type of language and exact structure you see in the banks existing company profiles, and with the type of conciseness you see in these; as well as drawing your figures and numbers directly from the original sources and condensing them into their most essential and insightful form (just like with spreading comps – which we talk about below).

ie you have to summarize the summarizers, but do it accurately and in a client friendly way.

As an investment banking intern you’ll probably more often than not be asked to simply update or double-check existing company profiles.

This can really suck if the intern or first year banking analyst who made the existing profiles did an awful job on them, because bankers will expect a mere ‘update’ to take you no time at all, and yet you’ll almost be making profiles from scratch!!

Although you are all bright eyed and bushy tailed now, don’t be disheartened if you make dozens of company profiles and they never get read – such is the nature of them. ie banks will want profiles on hand for ‘just in case’ a client requests them, or a deal takes heat.

If you have an investment banking internship coming up or are starting your analyst program soon you should check out the most common tasks junior bankers perform. In this article we list the top 39 and explain the what/why/how so you can get a flying head start.

SEO Works With Algorithms: How an Algorithm Update Impacts Your Site’s Ranking

Understanding the algorithms used by search engines, such as Google, can be mystifying. Let’s start at the beginning:

What is a Search Engine Algorithm?

An algorithm is a mathematical process used by a computer to solve a problem or answer a question. Google, launched in 1998, is the leading search engine. The search engine algorithm was designed to find files on the internet.

Google uses many algorithms, but the very first one ever used is called PageRank, which measures the importance of all web pages (PageRank is named after Larry Page, the software developer and Google co-founder). PageRank functions by counting the quantity and quality of links to certain web pages to determine an estimate of the website’s importance, and thus, its ranking as compared to other websites in the same field or category.

Google has used the assumption that the more important websites are most likely to have more links from other websites, and therefore rates the website with a higher ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). PageRank happens to be the most widely known algorithm used by Google. A whole industry of business services to take advantage of PageRank is now called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Google’s algorithms change about 500-600 times per calendar year – more than once every day. The changes are implemented to make the search experience more relevant for the user. Most of the changes are minor, and don’t usually change website’s ranking to any noticeable degree.

For nearly two decades, Google has been refining their search engine service, becoming more sophisticated, with their massive algorithms affecting the way websites are ranked.

What is an algorithm update?

Major updates have been rolling out on a regular basis, both named and unnamed. Companies providing SEO services devote their resources to figuring out how each change affects the websites they manage. The stakes are very high, especially for websites engaged in ecommerce. If a website is built and maintained using best practices, with a focus on unique content and an easy-to-navigate user experience, the website will rate well. A strong rating turns into a superior page ranking which will provide more website traffic.

Some of the named updates over the years have been: Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, Possum, RankBrain, Mobilegeddon, and Pirate. Each update relates to a specific aspect of a website, such as website link quality, semantic content search, and mobile friendly (or responsive) websites.

How are algorithm updates revealed?

This is fascinating: some updates are announced; others are rolled out covertly and are full realized by watching page ranking activity. Google sometimes confirms the updates after the update is launched. Lately, Google has been silent about confirming their algorithm updates. The SEO industry watches the metrics carefully to determine what aspect of page ranking is being affected. When they notice large changes in search results, they conclude that an algorithm update has occurred.

What is the Fred Update?

On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, industry experts noticed major changes while using Google tracking tools. This algorithm change has been dubbed the Fred Update.

Until the experts full digest the meaning of the page rankings, the nature of the update is speculative. The Fred Update is showing early signs of being associated with the quality – not content – of links. Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, tweeted a picture of colorful Fred the fish on March 7: “DYK for each search result there may be several title candidates & the one that it’s believed to work best for query is shown to the users”.

Since there is an evaluation taking place to select the best query result, looking at pages that rank better than your website may uncover opportunities to improve content without duplication. Unique content and quality linking to and from your website will help improve page ranking. The most recent massive algorithm update to date is Google Penguin 4.0 (Phase 1 and Phase 2). This update largely removes the penalty for bad links on sites, and in turn devalues the bad links, which still negatively affects rankings, but not to such a degree that sites are penalized.

Penguin was significant in that it targeted low quality websites that contained ‘spammy’ content. Their main concern was with flagging websites that would harm user’s computers or cell phones.

Google Penguin 4.0

The Google Penguin update had been on in development, under revision, for two years before being released. The update actually launched on September 27, 2016.This update was unusual because it was multiphasic, taking quite a bit longer to be released than most other algorithm updates.

The second phase was released on October 6, 2016. After this second phase launched, the algorithm “temperature” dropped off and got relatively back to normal. Moz reports the weather by day showing the temperature or turbulence of the Google algorithm. When Google makes a change, there is often a shakeup of the page rankings. This week the Moz temperature is 94o; this shows the likely effect of the Fred Update.

Knowing the complex nature of evaluating the worthiness of a website, understanding these updates, and recognizing how the algorithms affect a website and its ranking is the work of companies who provide SEO services. You may choose to carry out this work in-house, but hiring an outside firm to handle your SEO is often money very well spent.