A University of Kentucky student will be among the first to receive a $10,000 scholarship intended to increase diversity in the gaming industry, UK announced Thursday.
Gen. G, an international, multibillion-dollar esports organization that is partnered with UK, has pledged $100,000 annually for the next 10 years to a scholarship fund open to diverse college students majoring in gaming, esports, entrepreneurship, journalism or content creation. There will be 10 inaugural recipients in the first year of the program.
A UK freshmen is guaranteed a scholarship in the first year of the program. Applications will open Sept. 15 and the recipients will be announced in December. While the university doesn’t have a specific major in gaming, other fields of study incorporate gaming into courses. For example, within the media arts and studies major there are courses on video games studies and history.
Chris Park, the CEO of Gen. G, said that educating and helping young gamers get ahead in life is the company’s central mission. Gen. G has college partners in UK and Eastern Michigan University.
“When you look across the gaming industry and you see that there’s nearly 3 billion people in the world who play video games of some kind, it’s really one of the most diverse, truly global communities in the world,” Park said. “But I think the best paths to the greatest opportunities professionally and academically have just not been fully developed for everyone from all aspects of the community.”
Gaming, the competitions and accompanying content creation are some of the most influential forms of media and entertainment right now, Park said. He said it’s important for the community to empower “the best and brightest talents, including from underrepresented parts of the community or society.”
Heath Price, UK’s associate chief information officer and a leader of the university’s esports program, said Gen. G’s scholarship idea has been discussed since the partnership began last year.
“First and foremost for us, it’s about providing opportunities and pathways,” Price said. “This scholarship is another way for us to do that.”
Even if a student who applies doesn’t get the scholarship, the hope is that students can learn more about what UK’s esports program has to offer, Price said. Over the next year, the esports program hopes to create more opportunities to drum up interest among students. The program has hosted online events
In the midst of pandemic-plagued semester where in-person events are commonly fraught with concern, the university’s esports program has been able to host online events. The esports program has hosted subject-matter experts from the gaming community to…
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