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Esports Seen as Pathway to Boost Diversity in STEM

student at DePaul University's Esports Gaming Center

DePaul's gaming center plays a role in channeling students' enthusiasm for esports into STEM careers.

Credit: Claire Savage / AP Photo

Schools and businesses are looking to esports as a way to increase racial diversity among science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and careers. Of the 10 freshmen given new academic esports scholarships by DePaul University this year, nine are students of color. The scholarships are intended to cultivate practical skills for the video game industry.

Kevin Fair, founder of Chicago-based I Play Games!, says skills developed through video games prepare students for careers in IT, coding, statistics, and software engineering, and other fields. Gaming also helps develop typing proficiency and analytical skills, which are useful in the modern workplace, Fair says.

University of California, Irvine researchers found that school-affiliated esports clubs helped increase math and science learning and STEM interest, and benefited kids at low-income schools the most. There are concerns, however, that lack of representation in video games and equipment costs, among other things, could worsen inequality.

From Associated Press
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