This week, we had an inspiring conversation with Egbert Sayers, the winner of the “Teach Me How to Doughie” competition. The competition was created by and sponsored by Toast Inc., a restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.
This competition asked applicants to create and record a presentation explaining a skill or process they’re familiar with. For Egbert’s $3,000 winning submission, he created a video explaining how to make stop-motion videos! Watch his submission here:
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
My name is Egbert Sayers IV and I am a double major at UMass Amherst. My primary major is “Computer Science” and my secondary major is “Web Development & Video Production.” I would like to pursue a career path centered around animation and video production. I was born in Barbados and lived there until I moved to America at 18 years old in 2015.
What feeling(s) did you have when you found out you were the winner of Toast’s Competition?
I was honestly very grateful. I strive in my life to be appreciative towards God whether I experience good or bad things. Of course, this was a good thing and I accepted it as another beautiful part of my life experience so far. Thank you Toast!
What inspired you for your submission?
I enjoy teaching others, evidenced by the fact that I have worked several jobs as a tutor and camp leader. Not to mention, the chance to win money for doing what I already enjoy was an amazing opportunity. I had to take it.
What do you think makes your submission stand out? Can you share what went through your mind as you worked on the submission?
I think my submission stands out due to the effort which was put into the quality and editing of the tutorial. Additionally, the fact that I showed viewers how to do many things rather than just one made my submission stand out as well. Viewers learned how to approach creating a set for their animation, how to choose figurines or subjects, how to design and build their own figures, how to photograph the animation process and lastly, how to edit it all together for an awesome finished product.
As I worked on it, the main thing on my mind was that whether or not I win, I appreciated and enjoyed the chance to create this tutorial about my greatest passion.
Watch Egbert’s Response Video to Winning the Competition:
What did you learn throughout the submission process — about yourself, your inspiration, the community or the industry?
I would say the most important thing I learned was that I was usually afraid to put a lot of effort into competitions for fear of being disappointed if I didn’t win. However, I have overcome that fear and have no problem putting my best foot forward in everything I do because it is not the end result which is most important but the fact that you really wanted to take the journey and give it a chance.
What did you learn about Toast?
The first thing I learned about Toast is the fact that they existed. I had not heard about Toast before but now I know that their main goal is the well-being and success of their restaurant clients. I see that the company had a rough start when they failed to launch successfully back in 2012 but they were determined, didn’t give up and are now worth $1.4 billion. That story is very inspirational and really shows that the statement “dreams do come true,” is not just a cheesy line used in movies.
Why do you think it is important to have an alternative approach to hiring and scholarships?
Honestly, I think most students have grown so tired of the traditional “write an essay” format of scholarship distribution and platforms like ScholarJet allow the process to be fun. You get to express yourself and be rewarded for it. It doesn’t feel like labor but rather it feels like an opportunity.
With your hard work, talents and skills how are you looking to create a better future?
The main thing I want to do to give back to my newfound country is to organize and execute technological literacy programs for low-income children. I see the impact technology has had in my life and the potential it has to positively influence many other young lives as well. I want to be part of that journey for them, giving them the support and tools to build themselves for a bright future.
What are two pieces of advice you have for future students who are looking to participate in ScholarJet competitions?
Firstly, no matter what you do, make sure you have fun. ScholarJet provides a beautiful avenue for you to showcase your talents, your knowledge, your passions and pretty much anything you feel the need to express. Take advantage of this great opportunity and you just might get paid for it.
Secondly, do not make the money your motivation. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you won’t and you need to be humble in accepting that fact. Be happy for others as well. The submission you create can also be used for your portfolio and if you stand out, you may still be able to land a great job opportunity.
If you could have lunch with any person in this world, who would it be and why?
If I could have lunch with one person in the world, it would be Radhanath Swami. He is a Hindu spiritual teacher and I attended a talk of his once at the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple in Boston. His words truly impacted me and assured me that my walk with Hinduism was going in the right direction. To paraphrase, the most impactful thing he said was, “the further you get in your spiritual journey, you realize that you know nothing,” and I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to speak to him but there are a few questions I would thoroughly enjoy discussing with him to hear his perspective on many of life’s mysteries.