Samueli Foundation passes the torch after successfully incubating NASEF and creating a strong link between Esports and STEM education and career development
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#CTE–For the past two and a half years, the Samueli Foundation has supported STEM learning and social-emotional development for students through the creation and growth of NASEF, the North America Scholastic Esports Federation. The Foundation’s support enabled the incubation of a thriving community that leverages massive student interest in the competitive video gaming world for meaningful education. With the program solidly established, the Samueli Foundation is passing the torch to a new independent nonprofit organization, the World Wide Scholastic Esports Foundation, for continued growth and expansion.
Through its scholastic esports programs, NASEF has bolstered STEM1 learning and interest by giving students opportunities to learn and apply skills that are relevant to careers in gaming and other fields. A research team at the University of California, Irvine, demonstrated many measurable impacts on students, including:
- NASEF students change their views of science overall, increasing STEM Engagement and STEM Career Interest, and their understanding of STEM Value.
- Students in NASEF increase social awareness of others and relationship skills, largely due to the active role of NASEF coaches and GMs.
- Contrary to unfounded concerns about the equity of esports-based programming, students from lower-income schools showed greater educational gains than students from higher-income schools.
These demonstrated outcomes are important to the Samueli family in the efforts they support. A particular focus of the Samueli Foundation’s work in the education arena is to stimulate interest in preK-12 students in STEM coursework, research, and careers through integration of technology and innovative teaching methods.
Henry Samueli is a technology innovator who co-founded Broadcom Inc. He and his wife Susan are committed to giving back to the community, with significant philanthropic investments devoted to education and youth. “We were bold when we chose to fund learning through esports,” he said. “In a few short years, NASEF’s leadership developed rigorous esports-centric curriculum that was approved by the state of California, created an afterschool club environment that fostered social connections and entrepreneurial activity, and developed tournaments and academic challenges that allowed youth to showcase their gaming, creative and analytic skills. We’re so pleased with this rapid evolution and student impact.”
NASEF has grown from a small pilot program in Orange County, California, to a thriving organization with nearly 1,000 clubs across North America and programs that engage and educate thousands of students around the world.
The new WWSEF will be led by a team with experience in esports, technology, and education. The combined industry perspectives will enable NASEF to continue on its growth trajectory. Schools and programs can be confident that NASEF will continue to thrive, as it leverages digital and virtual project-based learning through gaming and esports.
Effective January 1, 2021, NASEF will begin operations as an independent entity operated by WWSEF. Core partners will continue their deep engagement with NASEF. These include: Connected Camps, the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine, the Orange County Department of Education (California), and UCI Esports. Interim support will be provided by the Samueli Foundation to provide a seamless transition of programming as well as global expansion.
Todd Harris is CEO of the new WWSEF. He co-founded Hi-Rez Studios, an industry-leading video game developer, and is also founder and CEO of Skillshot Media, which operates competitive video game competitions. “The esports industry has been thrilled to see NASEF’s growth, as it educates youth about the entire ecosystem of esports and the wide variety of career options. I’m excited to work with the NASEF team to continue to connect play and learning for kids around the world,” he said.
About the North America Scholastic Esports Federation
The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is on a mission to provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. Visit NASEF’s Twitch channel, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Address any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics