WASHINGTON – Howard University launched its Electronic Sports (Esports) Lab in the Armour J. Blackburn University Center, sponsored by Verizon Wireless and the board of the HBCU Esports League.
The Verizon Foundation, Cxmmunity, awarded the University $100,000 to enhance the University’s Esports program, a form of competition using video games. The funds from this gift aided in the buildout of an esports lab on the campus of Howard University. Gaming Cxmmunity Co. has worked with the University to secure equipment and furniture used to create the Esports/innovation lab for team practices, scrimmages, game day matches, and other STEM related activities sanctioned by the University.
“I am so proud of being a part of the innovative team of students, faculty and organizations, especially Verizon Forward and Cxmmunity so that Howard University offers additional opportunities of learning. Howard Forward continues,” said Deborah Johnson, professor and interim chair of health, human performance, and leisure studies.
In addition to the new Esports Lab, a team of five female students pursuing technology-related degrees were awarded the Verizon Game Forward Scholarship, a $1 million commitment with the mission to increase female representation in the gaming industry and bolster opportunity and presence in STEM careers. The scholarship recipients were also guaranteed internships at top tech and gaming companies, including Verizon and its partners, ensuring an increase in the pipeline of female talent into STEM careers.
The program also funds the creation of tech centers on the campuses of partnering HBCUs, which will be accessible to the entire school. The scholarship recipients will receive access to the Verizon 5G Gaming Center at the 5G Lab in Los Angeles, where similar innovation in areas like esports are being developed and interested companies can access the resources to build and scale the future of gaming. The Verizon Game Forward Scholarship is an expansion of the Future Fund, a $5 million fund launched in 2020 to champion new and emerging female talent across entertainment and technology.
Taking further action to support female representation in the gaming industry, Verizon expanded its commitment to the Verizon VCT Game Changers initiative, which elevates women and marginalized groups within the esports community and inspires the next generation of players. A new expansion to the program, launching this fall in partnership with Riot Games, will provide training and mentoring to the next generation of female esports casters, providing them with the tools and insight to grow in their careers. Verizon VCT Game Changers will also continue to provide competitive opportunities for women through top tier tournaments, which will offer prizes to top performing teams and be supported by the professionally produced broadcasts of Riot Games.
About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.
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