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Virtual Workshop on Academic Programming and Research Related to Esports 

On April 7 from 2pm-3:30pm, five leading experts on collegiate Esports will join us for a workshop about creating academic programming, developing internships, and conducting research related to the industry. With the growing success of the NKU Esports Varsity Rocket League team, an Innovation Challenge Grant to fund the “Sandbox: Home to NKU Esports,” and expanding partnerships with local high schools, this workshop will help faculty and staff imagine what might be possible in the world of Esports. Our panelists join us from academic institutions and the industry. They will talk about their own paths to creating academic programming, connecting students to the Esports industry, and diversifying Esports communities on college campuses. The introductory panel will be followed by breakout sessions to brainstorm and imagine possible next steps. If you would like to join us, please email us at


Panelist Biographies 

Joey Gawrysiak, Shenandoah University  

Joey Gawrysiak holds a PhD in Sports Management from the University of Georgia and is Director of Esports and a faculty member at Shenandoah University.  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. Gawrysiak has written several articles on esports and is in the process of creating a chapter for the first dedicated esports textbook. Shenandoah University offers some of the most extensive academic offerings in esports with Esports Coaching Certificate, Esports Management Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates, Esports Management Minor, Esports Management BS, Esports Media and Communications BS, Esports Management BBA, and an Esports Management MBA.  

Jeff Price, Oklahoma City University 

Jeff Price received his B.F.A. in Visual Communications from the University of Oklahoma and an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University. Jeff has an extensive background in game design, electronic media, interactive communications, and graphic design. He is the Chair of the Game Design and Animation program at OCU and Director of OCU Esports.  Jeff draws from 20+ years of experience as an Associate Professor of Gaming and Animation at Sam Houston State University and Oklahoma State University, Assistant Professor of Interactive Design at Virginia Commonwealth University, and has experience as the owner of Price Media Group.  His experience in the design and development of websites and web-based communications, as well as interactive multimedia and CD-ROM projects, led him to launch Price Creative Group in 2000. As principal of PCG, Price has won several industry awards in video, animation, interactive, and print design. Jeff's students have gone on to work at industry giants such as Dreamworks, Sony Imageworks, Digital Domain, ID Software, Imaginary Forces, Magnet Interactive, Organic, Blur, Midway Games, and Big Idea. Oklahoma City University recently launched a Game Design and Animation program, as well as an interdisciplinary Esports Management degree: 

Katherine Amoukhteh, Founder of Esports College & Career Pathways 

Katherine has had over 15 years in STEM. She started her esports career as a team manager for high school League of Legends teams. She then went on to be the VP of operations with Esport Management, a global online platform dedicated to helping gamers improve their game. She is currently the founder of Esports College and Career Pathways where the mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment for gamers to improve. Her most recent work includes projects with Collegiate Combine where gamers have the opportunity to be recruited by a college or university for a substantial scholarship, women in gaming, high school & collegiate esports consulting and launching Esports Playground in Orange County California. 





Danielle Rourke, Senior Higher Education Strategist, is a Dell Technologies  

Prior to joining Dell Technologies, Danielle served as an Associate Director of Information Technology for the University of Colorado Boulder, where she championed new and innovative methods of utilizing technology to make education more accessible to under-served student populations. A technologist and analyst at heart, Danielle's true passion is helping broker technological solutions to help students, staff, and faculty across the globe engage more fully in the power of education. In addition to undergraduate degrees in Psychology, Business Quality Management, and Computer Operations, Danielle holds a Master's Degree in Information Technology.   

Michael Cassens, University of Montana 

Michael Cassens is an Assistant Professor in the School of Visual and Media Arts at the University of Montana. In addition to continuing his research, Michael teaches courses within the Game Design and Interactive Media concentration in the BFA program. These courses focus on preparing students to contribute to an evolving world using code and modern technology. Michael is also the Director of Esports at the University of Montana with an emphasis on inclusion, diversity, and educational pathways for their players and team members. Michael Cassens is a teacher, a computer scientist, a creative technologist, a gamer, and a game and a mobile application developer. His current focus is on being a better instructor, using gaming practices and theories to deliver better course content, and building better and more exciting games and applications for the marketplace using different games engines and mobile platforms. He also started his own consulting company in 2002 in which he still operates building software for small to medium-sized businesses.