By Kelsey Stewart, Contributor
Sixty seconds about his semester abroad in Spain earned Luis Lopez $1,000.
Lopez, a senior economics major at UNO, spent last fall studying in Madrid. His last two weeks overseas overlapped with the first two weeks of the UNO semester.
“I had to really push to still get my professors to let me join their classes,” Lopez said.
Lopez’s accounting professor was happy to help. She let Lopez join the class, and he stayed on top of things by using McGraw-Hill’s Connect.
Connect lets students complete assignments any time and any place. Lopez was able to complete his homework for UNO while he was still in Madrid.
“I wasn’t so out of the loop as I was in other classes,” Lopez said.
Lopez continued using Connect throughout the semester in his accounting class. After consistently logging in, he noticed a link for a McGraw-Hill sponsored contest.
The requirement was to make a video between 60 and 120 seconds long, describing your experience with Connect.
Lopez noticed the link early in the class and mentioned it to his brother, Gerson. Lopez forgot about the contest until the day before the deadline.
“It was due at midnight on the same day as my brother’s birthday,” Lopez said. “I wished I could get him something really cool.”
The Lopez brothers started working on their video at 4 p.m. and 14 hours later, at 7 a.m., they finished and uploaded it to the Connect website.
“We didn’t actually meet the deadline,” Lopez said, “But I had told the Connect people, and they were cool with it. I made sure. I wasn’t going to stay an extra six hours if they weren’t going to take it.”
Initially, Lopez planned on filming the entire video without any graphics or digital effects. Lopez decided that filming the video would take longer because of editing, so he started using Adobe After Effects, a program to help work with fonts and graphics. After deciding to use After Effects, they came up with the concept of using a white board.
“I do graphic design for freelancing. I build websites and do graphic design but hadn’t done any videos yet,” Lopez said. “That was actually the first time I used video.”
Lopez felt like giving up during the video making process but decided to stick it out.
“I wanted to quit,” Lopez said. “At 3 a.m. I was like, ‘This is not worth it.'”
Based on videos from the previous year’s competition, Lopez felt they had a good chance to land in the top 10 and earn an iPad.
But out of over 100 entries, Lopez’s video earned him third place and a $1,000 scholarship. He plans on splitting the prize with Gerson, a student at the Peter Kiewit Institute.
“I was surprised I won,” Lopez said.
Over all, Lopez most enjoyed spending time with his brother.
“It was just a good experience with my brother,” Lopez said. “We got to stay up late, working on the same thing and that was pretty fun.”