@caemck, 22 – FUNDED

@caemck recently moved from Florida to New York, having graduated with a degree in Communications: Digital Media and a Film minor. And while this JBL Quantum Grant winner loves all kinds of games, Dead By Daylight is what you’ll mainly see currently. Other than that, @caemck has a thing for sweets, cosplay, and design!

What is your dream in gaming and/or esports? 

After my four years in collegiate esports as a social media coordinator and team captain for our program’s varsity Overwatch team, I realized my passion for content creation and entertainment. As a non-binary woman, I went through my fair share of moments involving harassment, blatant disrespect, and not having a seat at my own table. So I want to create content in this beautiful, professional world of gaming and give a voice to all of those who are targeted by toxicity so that we can, as a community, create a brighter future for gaming together.

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

I am a new streamer seeking ways to amplify my platform and the content I produce so that I can give my viewers the best possible experience! The grant is an amazing way for me to afford new equipment to boost my setup so that I can create and engage with everyone at a higher level.

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

Years upon years of experiences that aimed to shut me down in gaming have led to this moment. It is beyond touching to see a group of people hear my story and believe in my dreams and efforts to change the playing field for the better. I hope with my partnership I can facilitate a fresh environment that will lead to no young girl/non-binary individual facing the harassment and disrespect I have faced when entering this world of gaming and esports.

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

The movement is well underway. We have to continue forging communities that support and empower both women in the field and the women seeking to enter it! The effort it takes to support a woman, no matter how small you think it is, speaks volumes over the toxicity we face in our passion. So long as we continue to amplify women’s voices at a casual level, during cooperative/multiplayer games, when they are streaming, and when they are the face of an event/organization, we are doing our part to shut down the stigmas and leap into a new, more positive era of gaming.

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

When I joined my college’s program, I faced discrimination as the only non-male in the environment — until my best friend later joined, making us the two non-men out of about 25 athletes. My researched, planned proposals were ignored while the boys played on their phones or 1v1’d in League of Legends; my coworker insulted me in front of others at our first event as student aides of the program; and I was often ignored or shut down. As a player, I was treated as though I knew nothing about my competitive game despite observing trends in play styles, composing compositions, and shot-calling and ultimate tracking for the team. My intelligence and passion were ignored and stomped on. Thankfully, I gained support from those around me as time went on, but those formative years made me want to quit before I ever began.

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

Always remember to step away from any environment that is becoming too unhealthy for you to handle, but also remember to always hold your head up high. The world has its eyes on us and the narrative surrounding women in games is shifting. We can contribute to that change by never giving up. Stand tall, be firm, and know you are capable of creating something amazing in gaming and deserve the opportunity to do so. Never give up on yourself or your dreams.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals? 

I have three key components to stay focused and positive. First, I confide in those close to me about my ambitions and my anxieties. I have a small network of those I trust the most to support me and discuss how to best maneuver toward my goals. Without them, I would be lost. Second, I love writing down my concepts and aspirations so I always have something tangible to look at and work toward. And, finally, I’ve spent years learning when I need to step away to finally work on myself, rather than giving my all to everyone around me.