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Cracking the Code: Creating Pathways to STEM Careers with the Power of Video Games

October 7, 2023

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For most students worldwide, gaming is a beloved pastime. But what if we told you that their favorite games could be a pathway to unlocking college and career opportunities in STEM? The United States Academic Esports League (USAEL) believes in the potential of gaming to enhance learning and can help your students harness the positive academic benefits of esports. Let’s explore how the world of gaming and esports introduces students to an expansive realm of careers in Esports and STEM, from engineering to the medical field and data analysis.

Science: Key Concepts in Every Game

Physics: Gaming has progressed through the ages to include what we call “Physics-based engines”. Many popular titles utilize physics-based engines to simulate trajectories, gravity, and more that students can analyze to improve at their favorite games all while cementing key physics concepts for future career readiness.

Health and Wellness: Without proper nutrition and exercise, competitive players see a drastic decrease in their performance. Introduce students to the ideas of healthy practices while gaming and provide inspiration to explore fields in both psychology and physiology through mental and physical health concepts all throughout casual and competitive video games.

Career Spotlight: Physical Therapist Specializing in Gaming Injuries

Long gaming sessions can sometimes lead to physical discomfort. Enter the realm of health and medicine, and there's a niche waiting for those who can treat gaming-specific ailments.

Technology: The Gaming Backbone

Hardware: Without systems to play, gamers would have no ability to compete in their favorite games. Students can explore the integral components of computers and consoles, such as graphics cards and processors, to understand how games function parallel to the technology they use every day.

Software: Coding is the next true backbone of games. Using video games, we can explore game mechanics, world-building, and more to provide opportunities for students to understand key aspects of opportunities such as AI, computer science, and coding, all through software applications.

Career Spotlight: Software Developer

Every game you play is a product of hours of coding, design, and testing. Gamers curious about the intricacies of game mechanics or modding can naturally evolve into roles such as software developers, where the magic happens from game development to complex management systems.

Engineering: Where Virtual Meets Reality

Aerospace Engineering: Take to the stars in games such as “Kerbal Space Program” where students can understand many concepts such as apoapsis and periapsis, thrust vectors, and many more while they build and test their very own rockets in a physics-based simulation.

Mechanical Engineering: Creativity and structural knowledge are key to the fields of Mechanical Engineering. Games like “Poly Bridge 3” utilize basic aspects such as stress, weight, and even simple machines while students create bridges in a simulated environment. Game-ifying mechanical engineering and allowing students to learn while having fun.

Career Spotlight: Robotics Engineer

Games often push players to think, design, and innovate. As players engage with constructive elements in games, they're unknowingly preparing themselves for roles in dynamic fields like robotics and engineering, where they can apply coding, physics, and critical thinking to create future innovations.

Mathematics: Where Gaming Meets Logic

Algorithms and Logic: Games often operate on underlying algorithms that dictate enemy behavior, resource distribution, or level generation. When students strategize in-game, they're essentially trying to decode and exploit these algorithms. This process hones a logical mindset, which is fundamental in fields like computer science and mathematics.

Resource Optimization: Many real-time and turn-based strategy games, such as “Civilization” and “Starcraft” require players to manage and allocate resources efficiently to achieve a certain goal, mirroring mathematical optimization problems. This not only helps with problem-solving but introduces players to concepts of linear programming and optimization, even if on a basic level.

Career Spotlight: Operations Research Analyst

These professionals use mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations make better decisions. They handle real-world optimization problems, much like a gamer manages resources to maximize their chances of success in strategy games.

At USAEL, we see the potential of gaming to positively impact education. By introducing students to various STEM concepts through the familiar landscape of video games, you’re unlocking a pathway to scholarships and internships and funneling students into high-paying careers. As educators, our goal is not just to teach but to inspire. And what better way to inspire the next generation of STEM  professionals than by tapping into their number one passion? 

Join the USAEL in our journey of building better futures through gaming, and watch as your students discover a passion for STEM!


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