Esports summit at Shenandoah to enlighten educators, community

Shenandoah University’s inaugural esports summit welcomes visitors to a two-day event featuring expert panelists and a sneak peek tour of the university’s new esports arena.

Registration for the summit on Sept. 13-14 begins at 2 p.m. Sept. 13. Panels are held from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Halpin-Harrison Hall at the university’s main campus in Winchester. Dinner is available at 5 p.m., with a tour of the nearby arena to follow at 6:30 p.m.


Credit: romankosolapov

Panels are also from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 14; breakfast is available.

The summit coincides with an esports pilot program beginning this fall in Virginia public high schools in conjunction with PlayVS. Although the summit is targeted toward high school administrators and coaches wishing to learn more about esports, everyone is welcome to attend.

“We are looking forward to hosting the Esports Summit at Shenandoah so we can help high schools in Virginia prepare for their first season of having esports in their schools,” said Joey Gawrysiak, Ph.D., director of esports at Shenandoah University. “We would also like to invite the community to learn about esports and see how Shenandoah is a leader in esports education.”

Dr. Gawrysiak advised and worked with the Virginia High School League (VHSL) to implement the new esports pilot in public high schools.

Summit topics include general information on esports, how to host an esports event, esports beyond high school, educational benefits of esports, what the new high school esports season will look like, equipment needs for an esports team, and coaching strategies. There will also be a panel of esports students who will talk about their experiences.

Panelists include Gawrysiak; Darrell Wilson, VHSL assistant director for academic activities; Kurt Mergen, teacher at Kettle Run High School; Doug Fulton, principal at Freedom High School; Clint Kennedy, director of education at PlayVS; Jay Cooke, technology supervisor at Stafford County Public Schools;  Zach Harrington, assistant director and head coach of esports at Shenandoah University; and Cody Pugsley, immersive technology specialist at Shenandoah University.

Cost to attend the esports summit is $25. This includes breakfast and dinner.

Shenandoah’s new state-of-the-art arena will serve the university’s esports program, operating as a practice facility for the university’s 35-member varsity esports team and as a hands-on learning experience for students in the Bachelor of Science program in esports. It will also serve as a public esports venue where spectators can watch weekly matches.

The 1,571-square-foot space is located in the unused armory on Shenandoah’s main campus. It will feature 12 competitor stations, a 21-inch stage, 70 spectator seats, a broadcasting booth, and three 12-foot projector screens on three walls.

To register, visit

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