A few sentences on your experience in esports:
I started my career in esports as a volunteer Rocket League coach for the Shenandoah University esports program. From there, I was hired as the Assistant Director of Esports where I managed esports competition, coached Rocket League, Overwatch, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, oversaw coach and player development, and managed the esports arena. During my time at Shenandoah University, I served on the competition council for the National Association of Collegiate Esports and was named the 2020-2021 College Coach of the Year by the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors. In 2019, EDGE was co-founded with my colleagues Dr. Joey Gawrysiak and Chris Scroggins. I now work full-time for EDGE where we're able to help develop learners through esports on a broad scale through scholastic and collegiate program development, esports curriculum and educational content, and providing scholastic esports competition.
The importance of esports in education:
The interdisciplinary nature of esports provides a great vehicle for learning traditional concepts such as business, finance, and management. The greater implication of esports is that it provides a way to reach a previously underserved and overlooked population of learners. Through our work in the collegiate and scholastic esports space, I've witnessed firsthand the incredible impact that esports has on these learners. Not only does it provide a means to engage with peers and build a community based around a common interest, but it also creates a connection to the school. Learners are more engaged with their peers, teachers, and academics once esports is introduced as a sanctioned activity.
How the WVU program could help learners better prepare for the industry:
The WVU esports program has one of the most robust course offerings of any esports program. The numerous esports-specific courses cover the necessary fundamental topics to develop a full understanding of the esports industry, while also addressing the required skills to manage and operate esports businesses. The emphasis on career preparation and readiness is an important, and often overlooked, aspect of collegiate programs. These combined aspects will better prepare learners to not only secure a job in esports, but thrive in their careers, whether working in esports or another industry entirely.