The billion-dollar world of eSports is regarded to be a favorite activity among guys worldwide. Tennessee State University strives to change that perception.
The university recently held a popular female-only eSports gaming competition. Though recent stats show that just 22% of women presently participate in eSports, the competition's aim was to encourage more minorities, particularly Black ladies, to enter STEAM programs.
Senior psychology major Tiara Radcliff and her team won the gaming competition. She thanks God for the chance. Her first game was at 6.
"It was my first time winning in a tournament. I liked it,” said Radcliff, of Indianapolis. "Some girls don't play because they think it is for guys." She applauded TSU's efforts, saying that more girls want to play.
Kiara Davis, Radcliff's teammate in the competition, is also happy that TSU is giving girls an opportunity to get into eSports. The freshman business administration major from Memphis, Tennessee, has been playing since she was a child, but she'd never joined a team.
"As a young kid, I watched my father and my younger brother play. I was very timid to join the eSports team. So, I didn't join," said Davis. "When I came to TSU, I decided to give it a go, and I am glad I did. What TSU is doing will get more women involved, and they will see that they can actually play."
TSU's eSports program now has six male and female teams. The institution will create an Academic eSports Center this fall.
“TSU encourages students to think of eSports as more than just a game,” says Robbie Melton, TSU's vice president of the Global Smart Technology Innovation Center.
He added, "We want to look at the academics of game design. We also want to look at entrepreneurship, psychology, and management. It's a wide range of jobs that we want to help them get ready for, based on what they like about eSports."
Dr. Effua Ampadu Moss, TSU's eSports program director, will also teach a graduate course called “Special Topics: The Rise of eSports in Higher Education Administration.”
"Gaming has historically been a male sport, and that's the stigma we're trying to erase," Ampadu Moss said. "With the competition, we wanted to encourage our female eSports student-athletes to come out and play as well."
eSports, according to Executive Director Deborah Chisom, assists character-building, leadership, and strategic skills in students.
Dr. Chisom said that "eSports is where the young people are going now. So, in order for us to be a part of it, we needed to start an eSports program at TSU, not only for young men, but for our young girls as well. I think it is very important because it allows them [to gain] some skills and helps them to be engaged. I like to see them work together. I like to watch them plan."
For more information on eSports at TSU, visit the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center athttps://tsu-smartinnovationtech.netlify.app/