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The winner of the first ever CGTrader Essay Competition has been announced

March 20th, 2017

The winner of the first ever CGTrader Essay Competition has been announced

Elizabeth Henning from University of Virginia is awarded CGTrader scholarship

In the fall of 2016 CGTrader has started its first ever CGTrader Essay Competition inviting students from the U.S. to submit their essays on the topic “The Future of Virtual Reality: On the Footsteps of Changing the World or on the Brink of Failure?”. Out of all the submissions, CGTrader representatives has chosen the submission by a 19-year old Elizabeth Henning from Virginia Beach the best essay and awarded $1,000 in cash prize.

CGTrader has always supported global creative community by organizing design challenges for both professional and only starting out 3D modelers. “Having a vast experience in organizing design challenges, which have always been highly appreciated by our community, we decided to broaden the scope of these activities. Using similar format, we wanted to engage young people into activity that would encourage them to get interested in new technologies not only from user perspective but critically thinking about their impact and future”, said Dalia Lašaitė, CEO of CGTrader.

The competition has exceeded the expectations of project team as more than 350 essays were received. “We really appreciate all the students investing their time and expressing the opinion on VR future and we see this project as a huge success. We want to further challenge students to think about complex technology related questions, get interested in computer science or design, so this essay competition would become a nice tradition. We have already opened the next competition and are waiting for submissions on the topic “The future of Technology in Education” until June 1, 2017” - comments Laura Paškauskaitė, the coordinator of Essay Competition at CGTrader.

But now, let’s meet the winner of CGTrader Essay Competition Elizabeth Henning. You can read her essay here.

Please, briefly introduce yourself.

My name is Elizabeth Henning, I am a 19 year old studying at the University of Virginia. While my love in life is for video games, I have also been horseback riding for 14 years, and I also really like to run. I’m from Virginia Beach, so I also love to hang out at the beach.

The winner of the first ever CGTrader Essay Competition has been announced 1

Elizabeth Henning, a student at University of Virginia and the winner of the first CGTrader Essay Competition

In your essay you give a well grounded and structured opinion, does it in any way relate to your background and/or field of studies?

As an avid lover of video games, I am always paying attention to the “next big thing.” When I first heard of VR back when the Oculus was introduced, I thought VR was impossible, and that the games probably weren’t good and it didn’t actually feel like a “real-life experience.” While I haven’t been able to try any headsets myself, I have watched hundreds of others play games of them, and their reactions are enough to show just how cool this hardware really is.

How did you hear about this competition and why did you decide to participate in this?

I actually heard of this competition on a scholarship website, but what stood out to me about it was that the topic was actually something that I was well-versed in and felt a connection to. I actually had an opinion since VR and gaming is something that is very involved in my life.

You are studying computer science, what are your ambition and goals in that? Have you already chosen your main area of interest?

My dream job has always been to work for a video game company. I always say that I would be happy doing anything at Blizzard Entertainment just so I could work there. Programming is by far the class that I have liked the most since coming to UVa. I honestly never enjoyed school, but I actually look forward to going to my programming courses. I would love to continue on in computer science, as well as maybe minor in something business related, and maybe one day I can actually live out my dream of making my own video games.

When, if ever, do you think owning a VR headset will be as mainstream as having a smartphone?

With the current prices and relative newness of VR headsets, I think that it will be a couple of years until they are on par with smartphones. The industry is still very much in the unknown, and the technology itself is still being worked on. Furthermore, VR headsets are only just now starting to be known of outside of gamers, especially with the popularity of augmented reality. However, the industry is growing very quickly, with improvements being made every day. With the pace seen now, I would not be surprised to see VR headsets as being mainstream.

What is your fear, if any, and the biggest excitement about VR?

I honestly am very excited to see where VR goes, and I wouldn’t say I have any fears. I would say that my biggest excitement about VR is maybe seeing some of my own favorite series brought into the VR scene. They’ve already released VR games for Resident Evil, Batman: Arkham, and Star Wars Battlefront, and while I’ve only been able to watch others play, they all look really good and players seem to enjoy them. That being said, I would love to see other franchises jump in (I’m looking at you Nintendo).

What is your relationship with VR technology? Do you see yourself as user, contributor, developer of VR technology in the future?

I don’t have a VR headset right now, but I would definitely be interested in getting one in the future, especially as they just keep improving. The area of VR is still very new, and so it would be interesting to explore and see just what can be possible as well as a developer.

Thank you, Elizabeth and we wish you all the best in pursuing your goals!


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