Verizon Wireless Backs Howard University Esports Lab

Verizon Wireless also doled out five scholarships to women at HBCUs. They include internships at gaming and tech companies.
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  • Verizon Wireless gave Howard University $100,000 for the esports lab.
  • The company also gave scholarships to five women students at HBCUs.
  • The scholarship recipients are also guaranteed internships at gaming and technology companies like Verizon and gain access to the Verizon 5G Gaming Center in Los Angeles.

Howard University esports athletes are getting an upgrade to their setups, thanks to sponsorship from Verizon Wireless and the board of the HBCU Esports League.

Howard University, a historically Black college and university (HBCU) in Washington, D.C., last week announced its esports lab launch, with the help of a $100,000 investment.

The Verizon Foundation facilitated the donation through Cxmmunity, a nonprofit whose mission is to increase the participation of minorities within esports and the video game industry.

According to Cxmmunity, more minority teens (83%) play video games than European/Caucasian teens (71%). Yet, less than a fifth (14%) of games are made up of Latino/a and African American creators, as opposed to 68% of European/Caucasian creators.

"I am so proud of being a part of the innovative team of students, faculty and organizations, especially Verizon Forward and Cxmmunity so that Howard University offers additional opportunities of learning," said Deborah Johnson, professor and interim chair of health, human performance, and leisure studies. "Howard Forward continues."

Verizon also awarded a team of five women the Verizon Game Forward Scholarship, as part of a $1 million commitment to women students at HBCUs pursuing technology-based careers. The scholarship aims to increase representation and opportunity in the gaming industry and in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

The scholarship recipients are guaranteed internships at gaming and technology companies like Verizon. And they also gain access to the Verizon 5G Gaming Center in Los Angeles. The scholarship expands the Future Fund, a $5 million fund to increase opportunities and representation for women in the entertainment and tech industries.

Verizon's esports-focused initiative, Verizon VCT Game Chargers, "elevates women and marginalized groups to become athletes and increases their presence in the esports community, according to the release.

An expansion program will launch in the fall with a partnership from Riot Games to train and mentor women esports casters.