@AsheIsMash, 20 – FUNDED

“One of the most striking parts of esports organizations is their ability to create unforgettable, genuine interactions with their fans and build dedicated communities. I fell in love with esports because of these interactions,” says @AsheIsMash. “This also motivates me to make sure that these experiences are for all fans, regardless of gender identity, race, or sexual orientation, so I will always be involved in diversity, equality, and inclusion projects whenever possible!” Here’s what else this community-minded JBL Quantum Grant winner has to say.

What is your dream in gaming and/or esports? 

My career goal is to become a community or event manager with an esports organization. I also believe in advocating for those with fewer opportunities than myself and taking every chance I can to provide mentorship. I hope to increase this role as my career grows.

How will this award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? 

It will help decrease the burden of college loans and allow me to focus on pursuing my career while in school.

What does being a 1,000 Dreams Fund – JBL Quantum Grant recipient mean to you? 

It means all my hard work and all the hours spent as a full-time student while working internships has paid off. I have proven that I can make a name for myself in a male-dominated industry.

Women are underrepresented in gaming and esports. What can we do to change this? 

I believe the first step is educating youth. If girls are introduced to gaming at a younger age and are taught that anyone can love video games, the next generation will be exploding with women in gaming. It is also important to educate all gamers on how to be a team player who promotes positivity, especially in multiplayer games.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way? 

I have faced lots of harassment for being a woman in gaming; for example, I find it intimidating to use voice comms in games that require teamwork — like VALORANT — for fear of being bullied just because of my gender. It has also been very time-consuming keeping good grades and working internships.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the gaming or esports industry? 

If you are passionate and hardworking, you will succeed! The industry is still new, so explore all the career options. Find personal passion projects in the industry to grow your resume! Lastly, good luck and have fun!

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals? 

I always try to think about the future and why I am working so hard now. I remember that I am improving myself and the community as a whole.