ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Sam "s0m" Oh holds the championship trophy as he poses with his Gen G teammates after defeating Furia during DreamHack Open Grand Final at DreamHack Anaheim 2020 at Anaheim Convention Center on February 23, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Written by Contributing Intern Matthew Carrico

For many college students, scholarships are essential when it comes to their college experience. Many work hard to earn money to continue their education in order to make their own paths in the real world. Collegiate esports has caught on to this trend and now many esports programs offer their own scholarships to players. The format and structure of the esports scholarship varies depending on the program but ultimately comes down to the effort and drive of students. 

Not only have collegiate esports programs began to offer their own form of scholarships to students but many organizations that specialize in collegiate esports have stepped up to introduce their own scholarships to students. These can vary in structure as well. Recently, many students across the nation were rewarded with scholarships courtesy of the esports organization Gen.G. This article looks to highlight the winners of the second annual Gen.G Foundation Scholarships as well as the structure of the scholarship. A large portion of the resources for this article were provided by the Marketing Project Manager for Gen.G, Jourdan Kerl.

The Gen.G Foundation scholarship serves as part of a 10-year plan in which Gen.G has pledged to give $1 million in scholarships to lucky students in order to develop “the next generation of leaders” in gaming. Every year students will get a chance to enter in order to be awarded a scholarship worth $10,000. 10 lucky students are picked annually for the chance to win the money to further their education. Another purpose of the fund is to provide support to “women, people of color, and low income students.” This scholarship would not be possible without partners like Silicon Valley Bank, University of Kentucky, Eastern Michigan University, and Bumble. According to the official website, the mission statement of the foundation is to strengthen the diversity and representation of the gaming industry in order to reach its full potential.

This newest set of scholarship winners marks the end of the second annual Gen.G Foundation recipients. With this, that means there are a total of eight more years for students to get a chance at a scholarship for $10,000. For this year, 11 lucky students got the honor of receiving the scholarship. Congratulations to the following students and continue to make great strides in leadership for the gaming industry. 1. Ashley Yung of the University of California, Santa Barbara. 2. Eliszabeth Van of Texas Tech University. 3. Hyeonyeong Kim of the University of Kentucky. 4. Ian Anthoine of the University of California, Berkeley. 5. Jeremiah Smith of North Carolina A&T State University. 6. Olivia Hermosilla of the Digipen Institute of Technology. 7. Marissa Hibbert of William & Mary. 8. Mia Cusenza of Eastern Michigan University. 9. Michael Navarro of the University of California, Davis. 10. Schuyler Hughes of Illinois State University. And last but not least, 11. Zade Bosco Lobo of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Not only does the scholarship entitle these students to $10,000, but they have access to specialized career and mentorship programs courtesy of the Gen.G Foundation.

Following from that let us take a look at one of the winners. Taking a look at Mia Cusenza from Eastern Michigan (one of Gen.G’s sponsors), she was absolutely surprised when she was awarded with the scholarship. Cusenza is currently studying for a degree in cybersecurity. The assistant director of esports and programming at Eastern Michigan, Charles Spencer, remarks Mia’s passion for gaming and technology as well as being a prominent member of EMU Esport’s Valorant team. Cusenza is inspired by strong women in the esports industry and with this scholarship, she will have the opportunity to join alongside them. Mia’s full story can be found here

The Gen.G Foundations looks to have found a strong line-up of students who will go on to improve the esports and gaming industry in various ways. As of writing this, I have attempted to reach out to Gen.G for further information surrounding the program, but they have not responded back. The 2021 application cycle for the scholarship has ended but application information for the next cycle will commence in April of 2022. In order to be eligible, you must be any undergraduate student interested in gaming, esports, entrepreneurship, journalism/content creation, including international students, and be enrolled in a 4-year college or university. You must present proof of enrollment status to apply including official transcripts, letter from your institution about your enrollment status, and proof of acceptance for eligibility offers. Official information can be found on the official website listed above. With that being said, I wish luck to the students who may make it into the third line-up for the scholarship next year.

Feature Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images