Yesterday Twitch, the world's leading video game broadcasting network, announced the winners of the very first scholarship for student gamers. The 'Twitch & Alienware Scholarship For Outstanding Student Gamers' was sponsored by SteelSeries, and awarded five exceptional student gamers $10,000 each.
Something like this is a watershed moment in the world of professional gaming and eSports. While there have been plenty of individuals who make their living as professional gamers, this marks the first time that student gamers have been awarded based not only their skill with a controller, but on their educational acumen, as well.
The five winners: Kevin Carlino, John Stockwell, Antonio Revard, Joey Yurgelon, and Kelli Dunlap will each receive $10,000. The winners were determined by a panel of industry experts who factored in their grades, gaming achievements and passion for the gaming profession. Complex got a chance to talk to the winners about what the future holds for each of them, and how this changes the landscape of eSports.
One winner, Kelli Dunlap, a PhD candidate in psycholgy and avid Halo player, had this to say about how this award lends legitimacy to the field of eSports,
"I think this scholarship reinforces that gamers in general and e-athletes in particular do not fit into the un-motivated, lazy, socially-awkward shut-in stereotype that is often perpetuated. Gamers are smart,motivated, ambitious individuals and it is nice to see that aspect of gaming represented and rewarded."
$10,000 is nothing to sneeze at. Another winner, Kevin Carlino, a fifteen year Diablo vet and computer science student at Arizona State University, told us about how he plans on using his scholarship,
"Honestly, this is a field of passion, no one is here for the money, at least not yet. I'm planning to save the scholarship money, so I can continue working in the eSports scene, while I complete my Bachelor's, and hopefully thereafter as well. If I can continue working and devoting my time to the eSports scene,I can help it grow to a point where doing it full-time will become a reality. I know, that as an industry,we'll get to that point eventually, but we just aren't there yet."
We at Compex congratulate all of the winners and wish them the best with all that the future holds. We can't wait to see where kids like this take the field of eSports and gaming. Special thanks to Twitch, Alienware, and SteelSeries for making this all possible. Tell us what you think about all of this on Twitter.