The Shenandoah University School of Business Esports program has added three new staff members: Alexander Merle-Smith ’21, MBA (left), as visiting instructor of esports; Alyssa Duran as coordinator of esports competition; and Sean Kelly ’22, as coordinator of esports production. All three begin their new roles in August 2022.
I can’t be more thrilled to bring Zander, Alyssa, and Sean on board to the Shenandoah University Esports program. They are highly skilled and will help the program and all learners continue to show how Shenandoah takes esports beyond gaming.”
I’m incredibly grateful to both Zach and Chris, who did an amazing job building the program into a premier academic esports destination. Bringing in these three talented people will elevate the program and continue to offer the best experience and opportunity for our current and future learners.”
In his role as a visiting instructor, Merle-Smith is responsible for teaching undergraduate esports courses as well as helping with the broadcast production and events in the esports program. He draws from his experience and advanced education to teach students about the esports industry in a practical way. Prior to joining Shenandoah’s esports team, he worked as a production lead at Caroline Esports Hub, where he was responsible for managing technical production and online events, including more than 50 esports events, and was responsible for marketing, broadcasting, developing a streaming schedule for leagues, as well as other production-related activities. Prior to that, he served as an on-camera talent and color commentator for the Charlotte Phoenix. While a graduate assistant at Shenandoah University, he produced weekly two-hour broadcasts, developed digital content, hosted broadcasting sessions, and developed still and motion graphics. Merle-Smith earned an MBA with a concentration in Esports Management from Shenandoah in 2021. Previous experience included work in talent casting, marketing and advertising, and conducting on-screen talent casting advertising. In addition, he was a finalist for the 2020 NACE Shoutcaster of the Year Award.
As coordinator of esports competition, Duran is responsible for overseeing all aspects of competition for the varsity esports teams, including assisting with events, managing coaches, and recruiting. With several years of experience competing and coaching at St. Ambrose University, she brings a new perspective on sports competition and how to organize and run a program to the Shenandoah esports experience.
Alyssa’s background and passion for education fits well into our mission as an esports program and will provide us with a new perspective on esports competition and how to organize and run our varsity teams.
In his role as Coordinator of Esports Production, Kelly will be responsible for producing media content and managing broadcasts for the esports program. A recent graduate of Shenandoah’s esports undergraduate program, Kelly provides institutional consistency during this time of transition.
Sean’s wealth of broadcast and production knowledge will elevate our program and provide new learning opportunities we were not able to structure in the past.
Shenandoah University has been a leader in esports education since 2019 — with one of the nation’s first academic esports programs and a reputation for forward-thinking innovation, hands-on skill development, and direct access to industry leaders.