UCI Esports and NASEF host the 2018 Girls in Gaming Summer Camp


by | Jul 24, 2018, 3:00PM PDT
Paving the way for the next generation of industry professionals

As the industry continues to grow larger than life, many organizations are taking a critical look at the esports ecosystem and their own shortcomings in diversity, especially in gender. Today, more groups are offering events and programs catered toward women, equipping them with tools for navigating esports opportunities and careers.

Playing squads, not solos

UCI Esports held its inaugural Girls in Gaming camp in Summer of 2017, including 15 young gamers looking to get a head start on their esports journey. For 2018, UCI Esports had great hopes to deepen the camp curriculum. With esteemed partner in high school esports and title sponsor, North America Scholastic Esports Federation (hereafter referred to as NASEF), the camp curriculum was revisited with the lens of social emotional learning and STEM career opportunities.

This year’s curriculum continued to provide a snapshot of the esports ecology, featuring sessions in the subjects of journalism, event planning and content creation. With support from academic partners at the UCI Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Science, the camps included activities on improving mechanical skills, using game analytics for self-assessments, and addressing safety in online spaces.

Gaming and growing

With each day of the week-long camp came a variety of activities, lessons and guest speakers. On Monday, the focus was healthy gaming, featuring guest speakers Dr. Julie Holt and Cole Pocock from the Integrative Core Energy Coaching Network. This gave our campers the solid foundation to game throughout the week strategically.

One of our campers checking out all of the games in the arena!

Tuesday, the campers learned all about content creation, starting off with journalist Tatjana “Digital_Vix3n” Vejnovic. Tatjana currently writes for USA Today and taught our campers how to get started and set themselves up for success. In the afternoon, NASEF League Operations Coordinator Jessamyn Acebes and camp staff Brandi Moy walked campers through the ins and outs of graphic design, later leaving campers to create event flyers of their own.

Wednesday started off with an overview of stream basics, leading into a Q-and-A session with HeroesHype stream team manager Maaike “ShinobiHaruka” Tirtarahardja. Campers were extra excited later in the day, when Counterstrike: Global Offensive players Emmalee “EMUHLEET” Garrido, Lynnie “artStar” Noquez and Kiara “milk” Makua from Team Dignitas walked them through team chemistry during competition. They were also joined by a few of our own CS:GO club’s competitive team.

Thursday was star-studded with some of Blizzard’s most influential women. In the morning, campers designed their dream event with Sabrina Wong (LA Valiant, Events) who had signed goodies to share with everyone. In the afternoon, campers participated in a round table discussion with Blizzard employees Nicki Quinn (PM Esports), Stelanie Tsirlis (Esports Coordinator), Ania Wietski (Lead PM Esports), and Keikei Day (Esports Coordinator).

Our camper presenting her event ideas to LA Valiant’s Sabrina Wong.

Friday was set up for celebrations and fun! Ovilee May, most famously known for her interviews with LCS and ESPN Esports, started everyone (including Overwatch caster James “Jamerson” Lee) off with her typical vocal warm ups. Ovilee and James both gave plenty of helpful tips to mentally prepare them for what was to come. In the afternoon, our campers participated in a mock tournament with several casting live on Twitch.

Jessamyn, who also served as one of the camp coordinators for the inaugural Girls’ Camp, was excited to see how the second year came about. “It brought me great pride and joy to see old and new faces this summer,” she reflected. “A few of the main things we wanted to improve on were camper engagement, increased activity time, and better curated speakers and topics. Thanks to this huge collaborative effort of camp counselors, support staff, community members and guest speakers, we were able to make this happen. We’re constantly striving to improve and provide a better experience year after year.”

The camp came to a bittersweet end with the awards ceremony, which was streamed on Twitch, recognizing each camper with their accomplishments for the week and sending them off with lots of goodies from additional sponsors.

Hope for the future

As Morgan “Rhoulette” Romine, Director of Initiatives for AnyKey.org, covered during her session at the week’s end, toxicity is still apparent within the esports community. As campers are equipped with the tools to kickstart their esports journey, they are advised to be mindful of how their actions online influence others and how to deal with unsafe or toxic spaces.

NASEF and UCI Esports will continue to create and support safe spaces for gaming. For more information on their inclusivity efforts, visit their websites at esportsfed.org and esports.uci.edu.

We would also like to thank our other camp sponsors iBUYPOWER, NVIDIA, Mountain Dew Kickstart, EVGA, Tespa, Logitech, Vertagear, and Linksys for helping make this possible!

Thank you also to all campers and speakers. See you in 2019!

BlizzCon 2018… BEGINS! How You Can Join the Celebration


by | Nov 2, 2018, 11:32PM PDT

 

If you’re a fan of Blizzard Entertainment and its many intellectual properties (read, games and their multimedia incarnations) you already know that the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend is home to the biggest, ‘bluest’ event of the year! If not, we still love you, so read on to find out WHAT ALL THE HYPE IS ABOUT!

 

Esports! Esports! Esports!

Five (that’s right, FIVE) world championships are fast-approaching their thrilling conclusions! After a year of sweat and tears from all around the world, Overwatch (OW), Heroes of the Storm (Heroes/HotS), StarCraft II (SC2), Hearthstone (HS), and World of WarCraft (WoW) are all in their final stretches.  Whether you play Blizzard’s first-person shooter (FPS), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), real-time strategy (RTS), digital card game (DCG) or massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG), world-class competition awaits you! Spectate live or online (see Virtual Ticket link below).  You can checkout the full esports schedule here.

Never played these games? Come to the UCI Esports Arena and try them out!

 

Huge Surprises, Big Announcements

Do you like being the first to know anything and everything about your passions and hobbies? In the past, BlizzCon has debuted all the Azeroth-shaking news, from new expansions for existing games to major changes, and on rare occasion even a brand new intellectual property or title. We’d tell you more, but *SPOILERS*! Panels for every game are the place to be or stream to drink in.

 

Cosplay for Days!

Some might consider BlizzCon the world championships of Cosplay (even if LA Comic-Con just held their National Cosplay Championships). A picture is worth a thousand words, so take a peek at this 2017 Blizzcon Costume Contest photo gallery over at Wowhead to save me from hundreds of thousands of words.

 

Peanut Butter Jelly Time! (AKA PARTY TIME!)

Where you at? Where you at? There may be no peanut butter, nor jelly, and DEFINITELY NO BASEBALL BATS, but you can still have a great time in the neighboring hotel lobbies every night with hundreds of your best friends you have not met yet. The plaza between the Anaheim Convention Center, Hilton, and Marriott hotels plus their lobbies are the place to be. Blow off some midterms steam, drink (legally and responsibly), and dance the night away with more nerds and geeks than your local Roleplaying/Tabletop Games Club!

 

Fame and Glory (In-Game Exclusives)

Few things elicit awe and envy like having something cool that few others possess. Whether you attend BlizzCon in-person* or purchase a Virtual Ticket upon reading this article, you will receive all the same in-game rewards. A legendary Overwatch skin (Demon Hunter Sombra, a Diablo mash-up/tribute) as well as 10 free packs from 5 different sets of Hearthstone (and an exclusive cardback) are just some of the attendee rewards for 2018. There is usually a WoW pet and there has been a cool banner or other cosmetic buff for Diablo III.

Also, a debut perk this year for Virtual Ticket holders: join show attendees as the first people to play the World of Warcraft Classic BlizzCon Demo at home. Previously only available on the show floor, the Virtual Ticket brings this content straight to your home for a limited time!

 

Whichever way you choose to do it, HAVE A HAPPY BLIZZCON 2018, EVERYONE!