Jihan Johnston Expands NASEFā€™s Research and Support for Educators in Scholastic Esports

press release Jan 05, 2023

 New NASEF Team Member Experienced at Building Diversity through Esports, Education, and Hip-Hop 

(Atlanta, Georgia – January 6, 2023) – NASEF is bolstering its support of educators with the valuable addition of Jihan Johnston to the team as an Esports Education Specialist. Ms. Johnston will apply her extensive background in education and gaming to support new and existing scholastic esports clubs, as well as researching esports education in underserved (Black and Brown) communities. 

Ms. Johnston is a native of Philadelphia, PA. She graduated from Saint Augustine's University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications. After graduating college, Ms. Johnston attended Concordia University to receive her Master of Education in Educational leadership. 

 Upon graduating, Ms. Johnston began researching how she could educate the urban community on disposing of financial and business ignorance to improve their lives. In her community, murder and high school dropout rates have increased within the adolescent age group. Most children who fit her community love to play video games; meanwhile they need more access and resources in order to build STEAM careers. Ms. Johnston determined that if teenagers pursued the opportunities available in the gaming world and ecosystem (without the financial burden of years of education), they could positively change their lives, ultimately decreasing the murder rates and building successful communities and careers. 

 As a result of this premise and further research, Ms. Johnston currently attends the University of California- Irvine and is seeking her Ph.D. in informatics with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCID) focused on HBCUs and esports. She is the first black woman to ever do academic research on this topic. She was also encouraged by watching the effects gaming had on her 13-year-old son, Davon. Through him, she learned how gaming and esports could change the lives of the youth in the next generation. She is an advisor for the Onside Gaming fund for Women Win and Warrior GMR. She recently won esports educator of the year from The GameHers. a gaming technology company that serves the international community. She and her son, Davon, are co-owners of BeatBotics, a non-profit focused on esports and gaming awareness for underserved communities with elements of Hip-Hop. She is an innovator in the tech industry. 

As a lifelong educator, I'm always looking for innovative ways to support the educational experience for the next generation. NASEF is one of the ways!” said Ms. Johnston. “Through scholastic esports, I can put my passion into youth today and into the future to help close the academic achievement gaps for underrepresented communities.”

Ms. Johnston will contribute to NASEF’s impact through a variety of projects:

  • Club development and onboarding 
  • Leading workshops and facilitating implementation of NASEF curriculum 
  • Connecting with schools and afterschool programs to build their programs and leagues
  • Facilitating conversation and community building between teachers implementing curriculum 
  • Research project coordination for esports education in underserved communities (Black and Brown)
  • Data collection and research on how esports education can mitigate academic opportunity gaps
  • Raise awareness of Beatbotics and Hip-Hop in esports, including hosting community events

“The depth of Ms. Johnston’s background will enable her to effectively lead many educators to build diverse, meaningful scholastic esports programs using NASEF’s framework,” said Gerald Solomon, founder and executive director of NASEF. “We’re thrilled to welcome her to our team and to continue our trajectory of growth and impact on student lives and future careers.”


NASEF is on a mission to provide opportunities for all students to use esports as a platform to acquire STEM/STEAM-based skills and critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. NASEF operates under the umbrella of the World Wide Scholastic Esports Foundation (WWSEF). Find NASEF at and on Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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