JCSU Students Earning Scholarships And Degrees By Playing Video Games

CHARLOTTE — Students at John C. Smith University are competing against some of the top gaming universities in the country and earning scholarships in the process.

Greg Fong-Wilson is one of the first members of JCSU’s Esports club. He and his teammates play the video game “Call of Duty” against other universities.

“We’ve beaten Virginia Tech, we’ve beaten LSU, we’ve beaten UNCW,” said Fong-Wilson.

Fong-Wilson first went to JCSU to play football. However, his athletic path went in a different direction when he traded in his helmet for a headset.

“I was like, football isn’t offering me any scholarship, Call of Duty is,” explained Fong-Wilson.

He said multiple students in the Esports club have earned more than $10,000 in scholarships while playing video games.

The club is part of the university’s Esports and Gaming Management program. Founded by Dr. BerNadette Lawson-Williams

“We’re proud to boast we’re the first academic program for Esports gaming at any HBCU,” said Dr. Lawson-Williams.

Dr. Lawson-Williams explained that underrepresentation of African-American gamers was the driving force for creating the accredited 21-hour course.

“82% of college age students game on a weekly to daily basis. However, only 2% of Esports and gaming professionals are African-American,” said Dr. Lawson-Williams.

Students receive a minor in the program as they learn the ins and out of the multi-billion dollar gaming industry.

“There’s a lot of things you could do like patenting games. I can definitely go into the Esports field and go into the legal area,” said Kyndall Ragins a sophomore at JCSU.