Malik Hayes (Left), Daanann Agboga (Center), and Edwin Molina (Right) at Esports Mixer. Photo by Edwin Molina(Instagram).

RIOT, Intel workers provide advice at esports mixer

September 29, 2023

On September 20, N.C Central’s Game Room hosted a mixer consisting of multiple associations.

Including employees from Riot Games, Intel, the Black Collegiate Gaming Association, and Duke University.

Riot Games is a video game developer and esports coordinator widely known for producing the role-playing game “League of Legends” and the first-person shooter “Valorant.”

Having nine HBCUs using their gaming computers, Intel is a semiconductor corporation that manufactures many products critical to the gaming industry.

BCGA is a non-profit organization that wants to expand gaming to the Black community.

“We have 16 HBCUs under our umbrella, with NCCU being one of them,” Program Manager Daanann Agboga said.

While opportunities and careers started the conversation, advice to the Eagles and Blue Devils in attendance took the spotlight.

“If you have an end goal in gaming, look at something that is similar, and work your way in,” Bridgette Horack, an employee research group manager at Riot, said.

Another Program Manager, Christian Rafael Suero, from Riot, said she started her path in a different place.

“I worked in higher education for several years, the FDA for several years, and then came to Riot.”

Hatu Kanu, the technology recruiter at Riot, added that it’s normal for individuals who aren’t initially accepted to develop their craft elsewhere.

“You may set yourself up in such a manner that they [employers] are now chasing you.”

Suero also reassured students that although their skills with gaming may be low, it doesn’t make them unqualified to work in the industry.

Duke Students Randy Xu and Johnson Li play Street Fighter six. Photo by Chris Frazier.

“Our mission statement isn’t to have the best players, but to be the most player-focused company in the world,” she said.

According to Edwin Molina, the esports advisor at Duke University, the esports team is having trouble convincing university leadership to provide supporting resources for their team.

Marcus Kennedy, senior director for strategic initiatives at Intel, said that if the esports community wants greater support it needs to focus on the analytics to change the opinions of those who have power.

“Data disproves myths,” he said. “It’s an uphill battle because of the generational divide, but that divide still listens to data. Lead with that.”

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Malik Hayes (Left), Daanann Agboga (Center), and Edwin Molina (Right) at Esports Mixer. Photo by Edwin Molina(Instagram).
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Malik Hayes (Left), Daanann Agboga (Center), and Edwin Molina (Right) at Esports Mixer. Photo by Edwin Molina(Instagram).
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