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Tennessee State University (TSU News Service) has announced that the historically Black college and university (HBC) is working to attract students who are underrepresented in coding, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, and video gaming eSports.

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According to TSU, more than 30 students were recently introduced to virtual reality applications, game design, and coding at the first academic eSports event.

Dr. Robbie Melton, assistant vice president of the SMART Innovation Technology Center at TSU, said the purpose of academic eSports and coding robotics is to take video gaming and pathway it into the University’s esteemed curriculum.

“We want them (students) to know that they can be gamers and also game makers, so we’re going to introduce game design, basic coding skills, as well as virtual and augmented reality,” Melton told TSU News Service. “Our goal is to take them from playing, into the world of coding.”

Upon arrival, the students had a virtual session with a professional eSports player, who talked about his career path and gaming experience. The students then broke off into groups to begin their academic eSports day.

The first group of students enjoyed playing their favorite games in the eSports gaming area, while others were tasked to code a robotic ball that went through a maze.

The third group of students was in a virtual reality center that, “takes students into a virtual world so they can now … immerse themselves into the teaching and learning,” Melton said.

More than 30 area students participated in the one-day Academic eSports Center Summer Community Camp. (Photo: Aaron Grayson)
Dr. Effua Ampadu-Moss, director of TSU’s eSports program said the goal is to recruit students, graduate, and have careers within the eSports industry.

TSU alum Micah Kimble Sr., Chief Operating Officer for Backfield In Motion, said he looks forward to what the center has in store for the students.

“I love bringing the students to my alma mater,” Kimble Sr., said. “They (students) get to see some of these great STEM careers that eSports has to offer … and it gives an opportunity for the kids to see something different. I’m really excited for these kids. They will never forget this day.”

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