Johnny 5 took a break from editing the blog to talk to Caroline Aguin, manager of the ExpressVPN Future of Privacy Scholarship.
Caroline has worked extremely hard to make scholarship a reality and couldn’t wait to tell us all about it!
This a huge project, reaching many people around the world! What inspired ExpressVPN to do it?
Ha! Yes, it’s a massive undertaking, but there was a lot of interest in it. These days everyone has the internet. It’s something we’re expected to use every day, for every aspect of our lives, but there’s no training! It’s important that we all have a basic understanding of how public the internet is. There can be serious privacy ramifications if you don’t take care of your personal data online. The internet is very public—billions of people potentially see everything you do or say online.
Aside from the privacy aspects, though, the scholarship encourages creative thinking and helps to raise awareness of the need for discretion online.
I certainly admire your dedication to it. When was the scholarship first created?
Thank you! I’m very proud of what we’ve done so far. The first ExpressVPN scholarship started in the spring of 2016 and was a great success—over a thousand students entered. We’ve tried to build on that for this year by opening it up to more people and increasing the prize money.
For 2017, we’ve expanded the entry criteria so the scholarship is available to even more people! It’s very exciting.
We’ve also doubled the first prize to US$5,000! On top of that, ten runner-ups will get a 12-month ExpressVPN subscription (valued at US$99).
Wow! That’s a big chunk of cash! What will the winner do with the money?
It’s a cash prize, as ExpressVPN has no official affiliation with learning establishments. But as tuition fees around the world raise, it’s important that people still have access to continued education.
We hope our prize can help those who wish to better themselves, whether that’s for college enrollment, online courses, or anything that will have a positive effect on the winner’s life.
“Aside from the privacy aspects, the scholarship encourages creative thinking and helps to raise awareness of the need for discretion online.”
That’s very admirable. How did the prize affect last year’s winners?
Nice try! But we’re a privacy company, so we don’t keep tabs on previous winners. Nor will we share their information!
I do know that they were delighted to win, of course, and one was an existing ExpressVPN user, which was nice to find out.
The important thing is that the money helped the winners pursue further education, which is what it’s all about. That and promoting internet privacy, of course.
Of course! Can you tell me your favorite part of heading the scholarship?
Without a doubt, reading the entries. We got over 1000 essays last year, and I loved every one of them! I genuinely wish more people could have won—it was so tough choosing a winner. That’s one of the reasons why there are more runner-up prizes this year.
Hopefully, there will be even more entries to enjoy this year, as the scholarship is open to more people. I can’t wait to read them all!
So there’s more chance for more people to win this year. That’s great! What’s next?
More, more, more! We want to open the scholarship to even more countries and to make it more visible.
Right now, the contest is open to students currently enrolled in either a high school, undergraduate school, or graduate school located in the United States or the United Kingdom. All students, regardless of their major, age, or citizenship can apply for the scholarship. This is great, but we’d love the contest to be open to students in every country.
Ultimately, we’d love students around the world to recognize the scholarship as a positive way to enhance themselves. It’s a flagship ExpressVPN project that showcases our dedication to online privacy.
That’s great! Thanks for speaking to me. Last question: If I’m a student, how can I enter?
Ah! The most important question! And thank you for talking to me, it was fun!
Eligible people can submit their entry to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 31, 2017, before 11:59 PM, Pacific Standard Time.
And you can see all contest rules on this page: https://www.expressvpn.com/expressvpn-scholarship
Good luck everyone!