Emerald Foundation Launches High School Esports Initiative From $500,000 PA Department of Education Grant

press release Aug 29, 2019
PA Dept. of Educations Grant for High School Esports

PAsmart Advancing Computer Science & STEM Education Grant will connect video gameplay, meaningful learning and career exploration for PA students

(LANCASTER, PA – August 29th, 2019) – The Emerald Foundation will host an event on August 29th to demonstrate the excitement and learning experienced through the esports clubs being funded through the $500,000 PAsmart Advancing Computer Science & STEM Grant1 for “Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Esports” at the Emerald Foundation Community Center, 2120 Oregon Pike, Lancaster.

“Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Esports” will infuse STEM learning into a passion students currently embrace:  video gameplay.  The North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), founded by the Samueli Foundation and managed on the east coast by the Emerald Foundation, was created 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. "The Emerald Foundation is honored to be a recipient of this award which enables us to bridge the gaps between all students through team collaboration, creative problem solving and learning,” said Joe Besecker, Founder and Chairman of the Emerald Foundation.  “Through NASEF, we are meeting students where they are by embracing their rapidly-growing interest in video game play and infusing learning and career exploration to positively impact workforce development.”

“The advancing grants are a commitment from the Wolf administration to ensure that students are college, career and community ready when they graduate,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera.  “We are proud to award this grant to the Emerald Foundation in recognition of their dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion through a robust learning strategy that ignites interest and inspires students to learn about computer science and STEM careers.”

An overview on the key components of the grant, which provides learning, socialization and career exploration opportunities for high school students, will be announced.  The initiative includes the creation of strategic partnerships with organizations like the Lancaster Chamber.  "We are thrilled to partner with the Emerald Foundation as we recognize that NASEF esports clubs empower students to develop real-world skills,” said Tom Baldrige, President and CEO of the Lancaster Chamber. “This grant enables us to create an innovative career exploration program to connect students through the continuum that extends from STEM / computer science interest to workforce development.”

In addition, the Emerald Foundation will unveil a series of new videos that feature Lancaster County students participating in the NASEF scholastic after-school club league and providing testimonials on the positive impact this initiative has made on them. 

Free game play will be offered to students commencing at 4:30 p.m. and ending at 5:15 p.m. Student teams that are interested in participating in free game play are encouraged to attend.  Registration for all other guests begins at 4:30 p.m. with the grant launch program beginning at 5:15 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and there is no cost to attend.  Anyone interested in finding out more about NASEF or the grant details is invited to the program.  Contact Brianna Titi at [email protected] to RSVP or with questions.

[1] STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The grant amount is $499,877.

About the Emerald Foundation

The Emerald Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2010 by Emerald Asset Management CEO & Founder Joseph Besecker and Martha Besecker. The Emerald Foundation has historically contributed funding to worthy charitable, non-profit organizations that focus on education, youth, and healthcare research. Learn more at Founded in 1991, Emerald Asset Management subsidiaries provide equity-focused portfolio management services to institutional investors and to individual investors via separate account management and the Emerald Mutual Funds.

About the North America Scholastic Esports Federation 

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is working to ensure that ALL students possess the knowledge and skills needed to be society’s game changers: educated, productive, and empathetic individuals. NASEF 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. The Federation’s core values are intertwined through all aspects of education and play: learning, opportunity, community, diversity, and respect.

Under the Samueli Foundation’s leadership, the Federation is led by partners from the Orange County Department of Education, OC STEM Initiative, Connected Camps, Connected Learning Lab, UCI Esports, UCI Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and the UCI Bren School of Information & Computer Science. 

Learn more at the NASEF website. Members of the press can find videos, infographics, and leadership profiles in the online press room. Join online conversations on Twitter @NASEFgg for esports updates and @NASEFedu for our education news, on Facebook and Instagram, and see matches streamed live on our Twitch channel. 

Media Contacts:

Brianna Titi
Emerald Foundation
(717) 951-2512
[email protected]

Terry Kraft
Emerald Foundation
(717) 314-4760
[email protected]

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