Esports host and XSET Co-Owner Erin Ashley Simon has joined forces with the University of Kentucky (UK) to launch the Erin Ashley Simon Esports Internship Fund.
The fund will include a multi-year internship that offers mentorship and experiential learning opportunities in esports for UK students.
According to the release, the programme aims to ‘educate students on the many facets of the dynamic esports industry that extend far beyond the classroom’.
Simon, who is a 2014 graduate of the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky, commented on the announcement: “I wouldn’t be where I am without UK. UK was where I really built my journalism skills and had professors and fellow students who believed in me and my future. Now that I’m a broadcaster in gaming and entertainment, as well as a co-owner of the new esports organization XSET, it’s my turn to pay it forward.”
The initiative reportedly seeks to make experiences possible for students who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to attend. As a result, financial support will be provided to recipients with financial needs who wish to pursue UK’s esports programme. Applications for the internship are is set to open in the fall of 2022.
Simon added: “I wanted to start this scholarship because accessibility is not only an issue in education but also an issue in esports and gaming. I want to help create an additional route for the youth to not only gain experiences in esports and get an education but to have an amazing experience at the University of Kentucky, the same way I did when I attended.”
The criteria to apply for the internship include a minimum of a 3.00 unweighted high school grade-point average, demonstrable financial need as evidenced in an individual financial aid record and esports experience with gaming ties. This could include coding, broadcasting, content creation, event and organisation experience.
Heath Price, UK Associate Chief Information Officer, believes the internship fund will add a new depth to UK’s esports programme, while also helping the university to reach a broader student audience.
“UK wants to be a thought leader in the esports and video game community, building a foundation of technology investment that pushes the envelope in areas of social and competitive gaming and seeks to serve important community values,” said Price.
“Practical experiences are very important in the competitive professional landscape of today and tomorrow. opportunities like the Erin Ashley Simon Esports Internship Fund, which provide a combination of experience and mentorship, have the potential to be transformative when you consider the preparation necessary to compete for jobs and pursue careers across the rapidly evolving video game and esports industries.”
Esports Insider says: Making esports education available for those who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to attend is truly an admirable initiative by Simons. The internship will not only help students to pursue an esports education but will also ultimately produce a new generation of esports professionals needed for the industry’s further growth.