Introducing #GametoGrow: NASEF's Podcast

"[Esports] is the ultimate trojan horse for learning for kids. If you can go where kids are, have them enjoy, play and have passion about what they do and connect learning to it without them really understanding or thinking that it's learning, you got it."

Hosted by Commissioner Mark Deppe, NASEF's #GametoGrow podcast tackles all subjects related to high school esports and education, including community development, educational benefits, conduct, and more! 

Latest Episode: Making STEM Cool - Justin Shaifer AKA Mr. Fascinate

Justin Shaifer is the Founder and Executive Director of Fascinate Inc. an organization created to excite underrepresented students about STEM. He is a TV host, internationally-known keynote speaker, and incredibly creative! Learn about Justin's journey as a young man in a single-parent household in the south side of Chicago, the role gaming had for him, and how he became a role model for young men and women everywhere.


Download the Game to Grow Podcast today!

Previous Episodes

It's summer! In this episode, Commissioner Mark Deppe is joined by NASEF's Chief Operating Officer Samantha Anton and League Operations Coordinator Jessamyn Acebes on an episode of reflection.

In June 2018, the Orange County High School Esports League expanded into the North America Scholastic Esports Federation. In its first year alone, NASEF added hundreds of clubs across North America, launching opportunities in work force development, competitions, learning, and more. Before rapidly heading into the new academic year, this episode highlights some of the many key moments and players that contributed to the success of the last year.

This special episode is in collaboration with James O'Hagan's very own podcast, The Academy of Esports. Be sure to check out James O'Hagan on Twitter and SoundCloud!

James O'Hagan is the Director of Digital & Virtual Learning in the Racine Unified School District in Wisconsin, and is a passionate influencer in the scholastic esports space. In this episode, Commissioner Mark Deppe and James O'Hagan share stories on their experiences on bringing esports into the education space and how we can keep students on the path of success.

This episode features Dr. Milo "PhDodson" Dodson, Senior Staff Psychologist for the University of California, Irvine's Counseling Center, where he serves as liaison to the UCI Athletics department and the UCI Esports program.

"I'm more invested in your growth and your development along the way," shares Milo, on teaching the UCI Esports' scholarship players that is more than about winning the championship ring. Commissioner Mark Deppe and Dr. Dodson also reflect on the different strains that affect the scholastic esports athlete, and consider how this affects their well being as people. 

This episode features special guest Dr. Mimi Ito, cultural anthropologist and Professor in Residence at UC Irvine. Mimi is Director of UCI's Connected Learning Lab, as well as co-founder of non-profit and NASEF program partner Connected Camps. Mimi joins Mark in a discussion about youth interests in esports, and how we can embrace and supports all students' identities.

We also learn about "Affinity Online: How Connection and Shared Interest Fuel Learning," a series of case studies of youth online affinity networks and their diverse interests written by Mimi alongside several leading connected learning researchers.

Our latest episode of the Game to Grow podcast features NASEF's League Operations Coordinator, Jessamyn Acebes, who has been surrounded by gaming since growing up in the Philippines.

After moving to the States, Jessamyn later found herself in various roles within the esports ecosystem, including her work with the UCI Esports collegiate program.


In this episode, Commissioner Mark Deppe recaps the milestones, challenges, beginning with our 2018 pilot program, the Orange County High School Esports League. Mark also looks ahead to 2019, previewing some of the many things we have in store for our esports clubs! 

In part two of the live coverage at NASEF’s Community day featuring the 2018 Overwatch High School Scholastic Tournament Finals, Commissioner Mark Deppe welcomes guests from the final four teams to speak about their experience.  

First off we have Anna, Overwatch player for Fountain Valley High School, and her mother Carol, who has seen firsthand how their high school’s competitive esports team has shaped her daughter.

Next, we hear from the entire La Quinta High School crew, including several of their players, coach KC, and general manager Terry. The group reflects on their team energy, especially up against their friendly rivalry against Fountain Valley High School.

In part one of the live coverage at NASEF’s Community Day featuring the 2018 Overwatch High School Scholastic Tournament Finals, Commissioner Mark Deppe speaks with attendees on how esports has changed the game.

A parent to Fountain Valley’s team captain, Kara shares her excitement (and nerves) for the day to begin (spoiler alert: her son’s team ended up in second place!). Additionally, Kara shares how competing in esports has shaped her son and the support she offers as as a parent.

Next, we hear from Kim, who shares about the different roles his students play outside of the team, and the hopes they have for their run in the League of Legends High School Scholastic Tournament.

Lastly, we hear from Daniel T., sophomore at Westminster High School, who gleefully shares the different roles he is challenging himself with and the support he offers for his NASEF Esports Club.

In this episode of the Game to Grow podcast, NASEF Commissioner Mark Deppe interviewed teacher and Minefaire producer Steven Isaacs.

As a long-time gamer himself, Steven first began using technology to personalize learning for his students. Today, Steven continues teaching while also producing Minecraft community events and experiences with Minefaire.

Steven describes his work with his middle school students and the support he is giving to local high school students. His middle school gaming club began as a casual community that is beginning to include more competitive interests.

This episode is a great listen for those looking to learn more about the opportunity and benefits of using students’ passion for games in the classroom spaces!

In our latest episode of the Game to Grow Podcast, NASEF Commissioner Mark Deppe interviewed NASEF's Chief Operating Officer Samantha Anton.

We learned how an idea of introducing scholastic esports in Orange County has spread nationwide. Samantha shares her vision for how NASEF is creating a winning environment for students, in and outside of the classroom.

She also describes some of the lessons that students are learning as a result of competition.

This is a must-listen for any educator or parent who may be skeptical about introducing esports to high school students! 

Game to Grow Podcast Host and NASEF Commissioner Mark Deppe walks the floor of the UCI Esports Conference to ask questions of some of the brightest minds in attendance.

Listen in on some great conversations regarding STEM education and esports, advice for high school students, and the roles that ANYONE can have within the esports ecosystem. 

In the inaugural episode of the NASEF Game to Grow Podcast, Commissioner Mark Deppe interviews Gerald Solomon the Executive Director for the Samueli Foundation.

Who would have thought that esports could be used as a learning platform?

At just before the 8 minute mark, you'll hear about how esports has been used to help students to become more engaged in school through their esports clubs.

At the 20 minute mark, you'll learn how STEM education and esports combine to make an exciting learning environment for our student participants.

Other subjects discussed in this comprehensive interview include what NASEF offers to its participating clubs, the free clinics and toolkits NASEF has created, as well as how competition has taught our participants some valuable life skills.