Museum Awards $2,500 Scholarship Thanks to NCRS

Continuing the Car Hobby through NCRS / NCM Scholarship – Museum Awards Samuel Amurgis with $2,500 Prize

Last fall NCRS and NCM announced a collaboration to provide a higher education scholarship. Application submissions opened in January with several being received from across the country. Earning the award was Samuel Amurgis of Columbus, OH, who plans to attend Ohio State University in the fall, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Samuel is very involved in both school and community activities, including athletics, clubs, mentoring, research projects and entrepreneurship. “His leadership skills, character and work ethic were clearly expressed in his application and short essay,” shared Deb Howard, Museum Education Coordinator. Samuel’s grandparents, Bruce and Deborah Brungard, are members of the Museum.

Samuel Amurgis
Samuel Amurgis, 2020 NCRS/NCM Scholarship Recipient

“I would like to thank the National Corvette Restorers Society and the National Corvette Museum for their support,” said Samuel. “By helping kids who are going into a field of study related to automobiles, they are making a difference for the future of cars! I couldn’t be more excited to go to [Ohio State] because of the amazing reputation they have, as well as the many opportunities I will find after graduation. My hope is that once we’re allowed to, I can take a trip to Bowling Green with my Grandpa. He’s the one that started my interest in cars, so I would love to share that moment with you.”

We asked applicants to submit an essay on their vision to attract a new generation of car enthusiasts. Here we share Samuel’s essay.

“I was never a real car enthusiast until recently. Once I reached my 16th birthday, I began to take an interest in cars because I could finally operate one. My grandpa gave me an old Buick Century that year. I was immensely grateful to have my own mode of transportation, but this car had many problems as well. From windows falling down to a rear-view mirror falling off, this car was certainly not in its best shape. I would ride around in my other friends’ cars and realize how many amazing features and functions they had. Most had been around for years, but I had only just noticed them. From that point on, I had dreamed of combining my favorite features from each car into my own design so that the car would really feel like ‘mine.’

In this new age of customization, nearly everything can be made to one’s liking. One example I like to use for this is one of my other hobbies – video games. Many companies around the globe are developing virtual / augmented reality systems. These systems allow their users to redesign themselves in this new world. Since it runs through the internet, the options for style, features, and even species are practically limitless. Users can customize their looks at any given moment, giving them full power over the experience they wish to have.

This ability to personalize nearly anything, however, doesn’t stop here. It expands to shoes, where Nike allows customers to design their own colors and patterns for their favorite shoes online to then be assembled and shipped. It expands to smartphones and computers, where every screen can have a different background. It even expands to our homes with the idea of ‘Smart Lights’ and Amazon’s Alexa. As we develop more and more technology, our customization only increases.

The point of all of this is that the new generation of car owners enjoy the idea of customization. They have grown accustomed to the idea that things in their life can be made exactly how they wish. If we want to generate more interest in cars, then they should add the ability to be more customizable as well. Not just the body style or paint color, but internal details as well.

Elon Musk’s company, Tesla, has made some good strides in this direction already, which is why they are very popular amongst younger audiences such as my own. They currently have an option to customize various physical aspects of the Model S, X and 3. Sure, other car companies have this too, but it is the non-physical aspects that intrigue me. Due to the high amount of technology found within a Tesla (practically a fully functioning touch-screen computer), there is so much about the software that can be customized. My favorite example of this is that Musk teased that he may release the customization of horn sounds, which I absolutely love.

What I believe car companies should do to inspire new car enthusiasts is to play into their interest. In order to do this, car companies should work on an event where anybody can come in and create and test out their own car.  Through the power of virtual reality, we will reach a point where all aspects are realistic enough that they mirror those of the real world. Once we reach this point, then this event will draw the attention of many from younger generations. The advantages of this event is that customers will be able to hand-tailor their own virtual car, and then take it for a test drive to see how it runs. At this point, they should then be able to place an order for the car to the customizations they decided on. This way, companies can produce a car they know the customer will like because he or she has already tested it out. This event would help draw in new car enthusiasts because they will feel a more personal connection with the car, as it was their creation.”

“NCRS is pleased to financially support this scholarship opportunity through the National Corvette Museum,” said Carlton Colclough, NCRS representative on the NCM Board. “Samuel has a true passion for cars, and he’s the perfect candidate to receive this award. We hope one day he is a Corvette owner and becomes involved with both of our organizations.”

Learn more about the NCRS sponsored scholarship and how to apply for 2021’s award at corvettemuseum.org/scholarship.