StorageMart ScholarSmarts To Award $5,000 To College Students in U.S. and Canada

Columbia, Missouri –  StorageMart, a full-service self storage company with more than 130 locations across the United States and Canada, will be giving $1,000 scholarships to five students pursuing degrees at any level of higher education as part of the StorageMart ScholarSmarts program.

Designed to be as inclusive as possible, ScholarSmarts eligibility is open to any student enrolled in the Spring 2013 semester at any college, university, trade or technical school in the United States or Canada.

Applications for a ScholarSmarts scholarship are in the form of essays, which answer one of the two following questions:

  • What link is there between a clutter-free workspace and increased productivity?
  • How has self storage improved your lifestyle?

 

Winning submissions will be chosen based on originality and creativity, but must meet the following three basic standards to be up for consideration:

  • All submissions must have a title.
  • Essays are to be a minimum of 500 words in length.
  • Essays must be predominantly comprised of unique content, with proper citation of any research material used.

No more than one submission will be accepted from any individual.  Submissions should be sent via email along with legal name, mailing address, telephone number and the name of the school the applicant will be enrolled in for the Spring 2013 semester.

The deadline for essay submissions is Midnight, Thursday, January 31, 2013.  Winners will be announced Friday, March 1, 2013 via the StorageMart Facebook page (www.facebook.com/storagemart) and YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/StorageMartMedia).

For more information, or to apply, please visit http://www.storage-mart.com/scholarship

About StorageMart

StorageMart is an international self storage company with locations across the United States and Canada. The company is one of the largest privately-owned self storage companies in the industry, offering residential and commercial self storage units for rent, as well as moving and packing supplies at each location.

StorageMart Gives is the charitable arm of the company, supporting local charities within its communities, including Habitat for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald House, as well as many adoption and foster care programs, local animal rescue missions and more.

The company recently partnered with Charity Storage, to serve as drop off locations for charity self storage auctions. Charity Storage is featured on A&E’s Storage Wars; the non-profit organization donates all proceeds of the auction to Kure It Cancer Research and other local charities.

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StorageMart ‘ScholarSmarts’ Awards $5,000 In Scholarships

Columbia, MO – July 21, 2012StorageMart self storage announced today the winners of the StorageMart ‘ScholarSmarts’ program. The scholarship award is designed to reward students from any level of higher education in the United States or Canada who may not otherwise find themselves eligible for more “traditional” scholarships. The program will provide five students with $1,000 gifts.

Recipients of the Fall 2012 ScholarSmarts Scholarships are:
•    Gloria Cardona of the University of Texas-Pan American (Edinburg, Texas)
•    Val Andrew Fajardo of the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario)
•    Mike Wilson of the University of Victoria (Victoria, British Columbia)
•    Chandler Smith of the New York Film Academy
•    Ashley Deutsch, currently of Ennis (TX) High School and the University of Texas-Arlington this fall

Recipients were chosen on the basis of essays written answering the question “What link is there between a clutter-free workspace and increased productivity” or “How has self storage improved your lifestyle”. Winning essays have been published to the Storage Insider, StorageMart’s blog sites.  The winning essays were chosen from a pool of nearly 2,000 submissions.

ScholarSmarts differs from many scholarship programs in that its eligibility is open to any student enrolled at any college, university, apprenticeship program or other institution of higher learning. This open eligibility was designed to allow for a wide spectrum of students, but particularly non-traditional students, to apply.

Additionally, the $1,000 gifts are given directly to the recipients, allowing for their use toward any expenses involved with the pursuit of higher education, whether they be tuition, books, rent/mortgage or even child care.

StorageMart will launch another ScholarSmarts program leading up to the beginning of the winter semester 2013. Stay tuned for updates on the company’s Facebook page and Twitter @StorageMart.

About StorageMart
StorageMart is an international self storage company with locations across the United States and Canada. The company is one of the largest privately-owned self storage companies in the industry, offering residential and commercial self storage units for rent, as well as moving and packing supplies at each location.

StorageMart ScholarSmarts is just the latest program from StorageMart. The company also supports local charities within its communities, including Habitat for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald House, as well as many adoption and foster care programs, local animal rescue missions and more.

The company recently partnered with Charity Storage, to serve as drop off locations for charity self storage auctions. Charity Storage is featured on A&E’s Storage Wars; the non-profit organization donates all proceeds of the auction to Kure It and other charities identified by each self storage operator.

For more information about StorageMart, visit www.Storage-Mart.com

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The Storage Vaccine

ScholarSmarts winner Michael

The T-Virus, a fictional infection known to have devastated Raccoon City in the hit Resident Evil film francise, is known for its quick dispersal and inevitable spread.  This epidemic is similar to my dorm room during freshman year.  My residence before discovering storage was known as “Chernobyl,” because it looked like a nuclear holocaust had terminated any semblance of organization.  An infectious disease, the disarray spread as a prolific epidemic around my room.  What started out with a few wrappers left on my desk mutated into an onslaught of waste, near which the most seasoned hoarder would not dare to venture.  However, akin to most viruses, there was a remedy: storage.

I used to laugh at my storage-obsessed peers, spending their hard-earned time and money on plastic containers, like hypochondriacs purchasing pharmaceuticals.  However, little by little, I began to realize that the infection in my room was beginning to mutate and atrophy my social life.  It seemed that, during special occasions, the lack of space prevented me from hosting soirees.  A pseudo cancer, the mess would spread to new areas of my room, leaving me spending a half-an hour (that I could have spent with my comrades) attempting to find a misplaced watch or textbook.  Finally, in a fit of pique, I admitted that this mess had to be eradicated; my only option: to resort to storage.

It seemed that the biggest cause of the mess was not that I was slovenly, but rather that I had too much baggage to fit in my one-hundred square-foot cubicle of a dorm room.  Thusly, storage became my new vaccine.  Similar to a doctor commencing clinical trials, I was skeptical at the outset, taking small subsets of the epidemic and replacing the entropy with Rubbermaid containers and plastic drawers.  However, similar to Fleming’s breakthrough with Penicillin in 1928 (BBC, 2012), I was pleasantly surprised to find that my cure was beginning to slow the symptoms of the epidemic.  Within a month of the clinical “storage” trials, my mess became analogous to small-pox in the developed world: eradicated.

By the end of Freshman Year, my schedule and storage had developed quite the symbiotic relationship.  An all-in-one macrophage and antibody, the storage vaccine engulfed and eradicated filth, leaving pure productivity in its wake.  As a result, my timetable became clearer, school became simpler, and my social life reached an optimal equilibrium, the likes of which would have been unfeasible without the aid of storage.  In the end, storage did not just provide the pre-requisites for cleanliness.  It was quintessential in the creation of a new specimen: a cleaner, more successful Mike Wilson.

Hoarders, a show on A & E shows us that many people were not as fortunate as I, never realizing the true value of self-storage and being doomed to a life of squalor.  Thus, I am privileged to be where I am today.  The storage cleared up the cancer that was destroying my room, helped give me a renewed social life, and replaced time spent searching for lost items with academics.  This epidemic is ongoing, but I ask all citizens to listen to me (a survivor) when I say that there is hope for the future.  Make a change- look to storage.

References

BBC, U. (2012). Alexander fleming. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/fleming_alexander.shtml

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How Self Storage Has Improved My Life

ScholarSmarts winner Chandler

I am a soldier who is currently deployed to Afghanistan.  It’s because of this I quickly realized the benefits of self storage, and how it could change my life.

I had never really thought much about self storage until I received orders to ship out to Afghanistan.  After packing up my apartment, I was able to fill an 8’x11’ storage unit.  You wouldn’t believe what a difference it made for me.  I found that you get a real sense of everything you own when you have to move it all into one spot.  I found this to be the first step in finding out what I really can live without.

Now my story is a probably a bit different from most because I’m living overseas and needed my storage unit for pretty much everything I own.   However, if you do like I did and take the opportunity to really evaluate your possessions, throwing out (or giving away) those things you don’t use anymore, really want or actually need, you will see the difference renting a storage unit can make in your day to day life as well.  The difference? Free space! Who couldn’t use more of that? I imagine when I return to the good ol’ United States I may toss half the stuff I kept this time around.

When I do return to the U.S., I’ll be going back to college to finish up my Bachelor’s degree.  Before I deployed, I was working full-time and had the living space to go with it.  That meant an apartment full of furniture, shelves full of books and all the other assorted stuff that turns a living space into a home.  Returning to school, I’ll try to re-create that living environment as closely as I can, but since I don’t have the first idea of where I’ll be living I’m operating under the assumption I’ll be downsizing at least a bit from my life before the Army.

But now that I’m fully aware of the benefits, convenience and affordability (kudos, incidentally, for both the courtesy and rental fee discount given to a solider about to deploy) of self storage, I know that even if I’m living in a smaller place I’ll still be able to enjoy the comforts of a home by having anything I want (or need) that can’t fit into my home safeguarded at a nearby location.

Self storage really is a wonderful concept that (despite how long it’s been around) I am just fully getting acquainted with, but know I’ll always be able to rely upon in the future.  Of course I’d personally recommend it to any serviceman or woman being deployed overseas (or even transferred from one base to another within the United States), but really it’s ideal for anyone who just wants a better handle on their stuff.  Even though I’ve never thought of myself as a pack rat, when I was packing all my worldly possessions I discovered…well, that I had quite a few worldly possessions.  That’s why I can definitively say that while self storage has been most useful to me thus far in helping to facilitate a move, it can definitely be the answer to any issue of excess in anyone’s home.

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Examining the Link between Clutter-free Workspace and Productivity in Graduate Students Studying Physiology

ScholarSmarts winner Val F:

Preface

When I first looked at the application requirements for the StorageMart – ScholarSmart scholarship giveaway, I thought to myself, “it’s a shame that I am not good at writing essays.” This is actually quite normal for students in my field (Physiology), since we are more accustomed to writing research articles that answers a specific question by using specific methods and include statistical analyses. But then I thought, this essay can also have a specific question, “Is there a link between clutter-free workspace and productivity?” So similar to what we do in our field when we try to examine the link between exercise and weight loss, we set out with a specific hypothesis and recruit subjects to undergo an exercise regiment and track their weight loss (if any) to try and pinpoint some sort of relationship. Now here, I did not get people to exercise to see if there is a link between clutter-free workspace and productivity. Instead, I had them fill out a survey to try and gain a sense of their organizational skills. Next, I had them tell me how many publications they have achieved since starting graduate school. You see for graduate students in the Sciences (not only physiology), our productivity is measured by the number of publications we have. So the question if clutter-free workspace is linked to publication productivity is definitely an interesting question. As you read through this essay, you will find that it will be in a research article form (but don’t worry, I will narrate throughout the document). That is, you will see the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion/Conclusion, References. Well then, go on and enjoy!

Introduction

(Okay, so here is where us scientists like to lay out the story for you. Basically this section describes why we are asking the question we are asking, and what is currently known with regards to this research topic. In addition, this section will lay out the specific hypothesis the researchers have with regards to their research question.)

Strong organizational skills have been established to have a great influence on productivity in the (Siegel et al., 2003; the term “et al., basically means “and colleagues”). Indeed, it is often presumed that a clean workspace enables both mental and physical capacities to do work. Common practices for organization that allows for a clutter-free workspace involve utilizing folders/filing cabinets, using virtual folders to hold documents on a computer, boxing work from previous years, and etc. However, it is unknown whether or not these organizational practices are related to productivity in graduate students studying physiology at the University of Waterloo. Specifically, productivity in these graduate students is generally defined by the number of article and abstract publications they have. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether or not a link between clutter-free workspace and research productivity exists in these graduate students. I hypothesize that a strong correlation between clutter-free workspace and research productivity exists.


Methods

(This section will describe how researchers try and answer their question. So, what subjects did they use? What did they measure? And what statistical analysis did they perform?)

Subjects

Seven healthy subjects (3 male, 4 females) were asked to participate in this study. Their full consent was given, and the subjects were asked to fill out a survey for their Clutter score, and Productivity score (see Appendix I at the end of this essay for the survey and consent form).

Clutter Score

To get a sense of a subject’s clutter in their workspace, a survey was developed with a specific scale (see Appendix I). The basic idea is the higher the score; the more clutter there is in their workspace. The first question asked if previously published research articles were read on print (printed paper). If they answered “yes” then 5 points were given, and if they answered “no” then no points were given. If they did answer yes, they were then asked if they had folders for their research articles. If they answered yes, then no more points were given, and if they answered no, then 5 points were given. Next, they were asked if they had a filing cabinet for their folders, and if they answered “yes” they got no more points and “yes” got 5 more points. Finally, they were asked if they read most of their research articles on an electronic device. If they answered “yes” then they go no points, and if they answered “no” then they got 5 points. Then they were asked if they used virtual folders for their research articles, and if they answered “yes” then they got no points, and if they answered “no” then they got 5 points.

Next they were asked 4 additional questions that were answered on a 10-point scale that would give a sense of the level of clutter in their workspace at home and at school. To get the total clutter score, the points from each question were added to the questions in mentioned in the above section.

Productivity score

To get a sense of their productivity, the students were asked how many abstract, and article publications they had, as well as how long they’ve attended graduate school. Now, with the understanding that those who have been at graduate school longer should have more publications, this would make the analysis unfair. Therefore, to prevent an unfair analysis, the productivity score (number of the abstract publications plus article publications) was divided by the number of years in graduate school.

Statistical Analysis

(Okay, so here is where it may get hairy, but I’ll try and keep it simple. Basically for any experiment you have to state what statistical analysis you have done. We perform this type of analysis to show that the results we got did not just happen by chance. To be more specific, we are 95% sure that our results are right and they are in fact saying what they are saying”. In this case, it ensures the reader that if a relationship between clutter-free workspace and productivity is detected, that it truly exists and did not just happen by chance. Make sense? As researchers our work is always bound by statistical analysis…a make it or break it kind of thing!)

To determine whether or not a true relationship between clutter-free workspace and productivity in graduate students studying physiology exists, I used correlational analysis. (As the name implies it detects whether or not a correlation exists between two variables, and in this case, clutter-free workspace and productivity). The significance level was set to p = 0.05. (This means that we can accept that a relationship does in fact exist if the probability that it just happened by chance is less than or equal to 5%)


Results

(Now that you know what I did, it’s time to see what the results are!)

Table 1 shows the productivity and clutter score from the seven individuals. (This table basically shows you the obtained data)

Table 1. Clutter- and Productivity score from the seven graduate students studying Physiology at the University of Waterloo.

Subject Clutter Score Productivity Score
1 15 12.12
2 21 2.67
3 27 3.69
4 41 0
5 32 0
6 9 10
7 14 2.67

Figure 1 shows a graphical illustration summarizing the relationship between clutter score and productivity score. Importantly, the relationship is significant with a p = 0.05 (this means we are 95% confident that a true relationship actually exists and the probability that this relationship just happened by random chance is only 5%). Furthermore, the trend suggests that the higher the clutter score the lower the productivity score. (You could imagine my enthusiasm when I saw this result! Just like any scientist when they see the result they want!)

Figure 1. Illustrative representation of the correlation between clutter score and productivity score.

Discussion

(Okay so now in this section we bring it all together. What do our results mean and what questions do they answer, if any. You will find here a concluding statement, and suggestions for future studies.)

Productivity in graduate students studying physiology is generally measured by the number of publications they have. It is often suggested that there is a link between organization and productivity, such that those that are more organized are able to produce at higher quantity and quality. One aspect of being organized is having a clutter-free workspace. Here I show that having a cluttered workspace is related to publication productivity in graduate students studying physiology at the University of Waterloo. Specifically, I show that there is an inverse relationship, whereby having a more cluttered workspace is linked to lower publication productivity and vise versa.

To obtain a sense of how cluttered students were, a questionnaire was developed (Appendix I). One major contributor to clutter in a graduate students life is the amount printed research articles. Other authors that are either in agreement or disagreement with our research topic have previously published these research articles, and they fuel or rationales and purposes. If a student choses to print and read their research articles as opposed to reading on electronic devices (ie. Computer) then this would presumably add to the level of clutter in their workspace (that’s because as graduate students we read at least 3-5 research papers a day!). Conversely, if the students were organized then they would employ folders and filing cabinets, which would of course reduce the amount of clutter they had. In addition, the questionnaire asked students how they rated the clutter in their workplaces at home and at school, as well as how they perceived the influence clutter had on their ability to do work. After adding up all the points on the questionnaire I was able to get a clutter score.

The clutter score was then correlated against the productivity score. Again, the productivity score was obtained by dividing the total number of publications (abstract + article) by the total number of years in graduate school. The results were definitely interesting, since a very strong relationship between clutter and productivity was found (in practice to determine strength of a relationship we use a parameter called R2, and in this study it was 0.57, and to give you a sense of how strong this is, some studies assessing the relationship between exercise and weight loss sometimes only have R2 values of 0.3 – 0.4! So as you can see this is a great result, that would often cause researchers to throw a parade in celebration!). Therefore, in conclusion, my results show that the more cluttered a graduate student is, the lower their publication productivity will be. Future studies, should involve obtaining more people to participate in the study and include more departments not just physiology, as this would then be able to be applied to the general public.

References

Siegel D., Waldman D., Link A. (2003). Assessing the impact of organizational practices

on the relative productivity of university technology transfer offices: an

exploratory study. Research Policy. 32:1:27-48.

Concluding Remark

So by now you have read my research article that asks whether or not clutter-free workspace affects publication productivity in graduate students at the University of Waterloo. As you have now read, there actually was a strong relationship! Although this was not a formal essay, I believe it shows an interesting take on the question since it assesses it with specific research methods. Importantly, my study shows that the relationship between clutter-free workspace and productivity is real by providing scientific evidence. In my research field, publications do not just define your productivity, but also makes you more attractive such that by the time you graduate you have a better chance of finding a job! So you can imagine the magnitude of importance of this study since publication productivity is truly important! The lesson that is learned here is that as researchers we have to stay clutter-free!

Appendix I

Clutter Score

Do you read most of your research articles on print?     Yes/No

If yes, do you have folders for your research articles?    Yes/No

If yes, do you have a filing cabinet for your folders?       Yes/No

Do you read most your research articles on an electronic device?        Yes/No

If yes, do you have virtual folders for your research articles?   Yes/No

Please rate these questions from strongly disagree to strongly agree on the number scales:

1. My workspace at home is cluttered and disorganized.

Strongly disagree                  Neither disagree or agree                Strongly Agree

1          2          3                      4          5          6          7                      8          9          10

2. My workspace at school is cluttered and disorganized.

Strongly disagree                  Neither disagree or agree                Strongly Agree

1          2          3                      4          5          6          7                      8          9          10

3. When my desk has a lot of clutter, I ignore it, and continue to do my work.

Strongly disagree                  Neither disagree or agree                Strongly Agree

1          2          3                      4          5          6          7                      8          9          10

4. I find that when I am disorganized it doesn’t matter I can still get work done.

Strongly disagree                  Neither disagree or agree                Strongly Agree

1          2          3                      4          5          6          7                      8          9          10

Productivity Score

Please note the number of abstract and article publications.

# of abstract publications:        # of article publications:

How many years of graduate school have you completed?

Participant information and Consent Form

Overview

You are being asked to volunteer in a very very very small study. Basically, I want to look at the relationship between clutter-free workspace and productivity. Productivity, in our field, is defined by the number of publications we have.

So you are asked to fill out the short survey to give me an indication of how organized or disorganized you are. At the end you are asked to provide the number of publications you have abstract, article and also number of completed years in graduate school.

This data will be used to enter The StorageMart – ScholarSmarts Scholarship Giveaway, as it will be used to write a required essay.

Risks

None

Confidentiality

All data collected is considered confidential. Codes, rather than names will be used in notes. Your name or any other personal identifying information will not appear in any publication.

Consent

I agree to participate in a study being conducted by

for the research project “Examining the Link between Clutter-free Workspace and Productivity in Graduate Students Studying Physiology.”

With full knowledge, I, , agree, of my own free will, to participate in this study.

Signature: Date:

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