The mission of the Shenandoah University Esports program is to go beyond gaming and provide students with an opportunity to develop academically, competitively, and professionally in order to become innovators and leaders in the esports ecosystem.
Our vision is to set the standard for professionalism in the esports ecosystem.
It’s a field exploding with opportunity.
The worldwide esports audience is massive, at 474 million, and there are more than 8 million active streamers on Twitch. Discord, also popular among gamers, Discord has over 140 million active monthly users and 300 million registered accounts, and is valued at $7 billion.
While the esports industry as a whole is already a billion-dollar business, it is expected to continue to grow, with an anticipated 2024 value of $1.6 billion, according to Statista.com.
According to Indeed.com, a gaming manager for Blizzard Entertainment, a division of esports juggernaut Activision Blizzard, can earn up to $155,000, while a freelance esports and video game writer can earn an average salary of $54,226, according to ZipRecruiter.
Also, major esports competitions are multifaceted endeavors with worldwide audiences and multimillion-dollar prize pools.
Shenandoah’s Esports Team
Shenandoah University Esports
Many college students grew up playing esports, and now, they can merged their love of esports with their degree.
Shenandoah University now has a varsity esports program, and plays teams from around the country as a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports. Find out what games Shenandoah's teams are playing, who they're playing, and how esports is making inroads within academia.
A Growing Esports Workforce
The esports field is perfect for anyone interested in event management, communications, gameplay, coaching, exercise science, or being part of a field that promises to grow more prominent and engaging with every passing year. For example, from 2018 to 2019, paid esports positions increased by over 110%.
As noted on CNBC by Peter Guber, a co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Dodgers and the professional esports organization Team Liquid, being able to fill a particular place isn’t necessary for esports.
You'll see that it's everywhere, and it isn't bound by geography. You don't use a stick or a bat to play, and you can play alone or with a whole group of people, play against the best."
Peter Guber | Co-owner of Team Liquid
A new world has arrived, right at your fingertips.
We’re ready to pick up the controller and play.
Shenandoah University Esports, Ray Dasher Collaborate On New Partnership
Shenandoah University’s esports program is proud to announce its newest partnership with fashion innovator and health advocate Ray Dasher. The new partnership highlights Shenandoah’s commitment to ... Continue Reading Shenandoah University Esports, Ray Dasher…
Shenandoah University Esports Begins Partnership With Nanoleaf
Shenandoah University’s Esports program is excited to announce its newest partnership with Nanoleaf, a pioneer in the smart-lighting industry. This partnership will boost the offerings of the esports ... Continue Reading Shenandoah University Esports Begins Partnership…
Shenandoah University to Host Esports Event in Honor of Veterans Day
Shenandoah University, in collaboration with its esports program, SU’s Veterans, Military and Families Center (VMFC) and the Warrior GMR Foundation, is hosting an esports event in honor of Veterans ... Continue Reading Shenandoah University to Host Esports…
ESPORTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Joey Gawrysiak holds the controller in the world of esports academia.
He has made the international esports rounds, with appearances on podcasts, radio shows and even a cruise line, and has presented at several gaming and sport management events—including the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand and the Music and Gaming Educational Symposium. He is the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) 2021 Esports Program Director of the Year and chairman of NACE’s Board of Directors. He also serves on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Esports Conference.
He has hosted esports tournaments and served as a guest lecturer and consultant for several universities.
Gawrysiak was a competitive gamer in Halo: Combat Evolved while in college.
VISITING INSTRUCTOR OF ESPORTS
Zander Merle-Smith received his Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Tech and MBA with a focus in Esports Management from Shenandoah University. He has plans to continue his education with an EdD in the future.
His previous experience as broadcast production lead, esports commentator, and event operations has given him the background knowledge to prepare the next generation for the esports industry.
Merle-Smith has performed as on-camera talent for high school, collegiate, and professional esports events
COORDINATOR OF ESPORTS COMPETITION
Alyssa Duran’s experience as a competitive player, captain, and coach prepares her for her work in the Shenandoah Esports program. As the Coordinator of Esports Competition she oversees the seven competitive varsity teams and coaches. Her educational background that she attained during her time at St. Ambrose University provides the basis for which she is able to meet incoming students at their level and work with them to become high level competitors. In the past, Alyssa has led her teams to earn conference championship titles and multiple LAN wins.
Alyssa has been recognized for her work as an advocate for collegiate esports through receiving NAIA Champions of Character (2021) and Outstanding Leader of the Year (2020) awards. Likewise, she has been featured on multiple news shows and podcasts for her work.
COORDINATOR OF ESPORTS PRODUCTION