Kylie Kendrick from our Computing and Information Services team has been named as October’s Intel Monthly Most Valued Player by National Student Esports.
In a break from the norm by National Student Esports (NSE), Kylie was awarded the coveted Intel Monthly Most Valued Player (MVP) accolade. This monthly award usually highlights students for outstanding behaviours, activities, achievements and going above and beyond within gaming and esports.
In a statement on NSE’s website, they took this unprecedented move to “shine a light on the amazing work that she has been doing at Durham University for the entire esports scene there”.
Kylie commented: “At first I was confused to find out about the award, as only students have ever been named an MVP. Then when I found out why I was chosen, I was over the moon! They wanted to highlight my work with Durham University Esports & Gaming and Durham Unity (an LGBTQ+ inclusive esports community for our staff and students I created).
“It’s wonderful to have my efforts recognised by a national body in esports and especially as an ‘older’ person within the esports community. Even more so as there is only one ‘official’ esports awards ceremony each year, which is very US-centric. So to have this award means a great deal to me indeed!”
Watch Kylie's interview with NSE below or through this link.
Kylie joined Durham as an administrative staff member, progressing into IT support. In 2014 this evolved into a position as a Technical Specialist (Lecture Capture).
As Covid-19 lockdowns eased, and upon discovering that the NSE existed and that Durham students already participated, she contacted Durham University Esports & Gaming society (DUEG) to see if she could marry up her expertise within CIS with a personal interest in gaming. This was also propelled by a desire to support our esports scene in the same way that more traditional sports societies benefit from use of facilities at our Sports and Wellbeing Park: “I wanted to get involved to see if we could support them further and increase their standings within the league. My links with Computing and Information Services (CIS) and the AV team seemed to fit in quite well with their requirements for developing as a major part of the Wider Student Experience.”
This was further fuelled by Kylie’s completion of the Aurora leadership initiative for women, inspiring her to put herself forward for her current role as Technical Specialist (Esports). With Kylie as the natural link between CIS, DUEG and Wider Student Experience, esports at Durham has leapt forward. Top of her agenda was reducing the barriers to accessing esports, obtaining new equipment, including laptops and peripherals. Her work in this area continues as she progresses plans to establish dedicated esports facilities in the Sports and Wellbeing Park to provide a practice space and open further opportunities for outreach activities with local schools.
“I’m pleased they accepted my offer of help – we’ve come a long way since I started working with DUEG and with the imminent creation of an esports space, we can do so much more!”
Kylie is Chair of Durham’s Esports Advisory Board and continues to support DUEG with event logistics, booking rooms and catering. She also helps students to develop skills such as event management, leadership and teamwork, communications and networking within the wider esports industry, broadening their horizons and enabling them to see how to forge a successful career in esports.
On top of this, Kylie is an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion in esports. She has established Durham Unity – a Discord server dedicated to offering LGBTQ+ staff and students a space to play esports free from toxicity and harassment. At the time of writing, she had just returned from speaking at the ‘Be The Change: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Summit’ conference run by Women in Esports in London.
James Crooks, our Chief Information Officer commented: “Kylie’s championing of esports at Durham has provided a host of opportunities for students and her recognition by the NSE is extremely well deserved. I am excited to see how Durham’s esports will continue to develop from this year’s ranking as 3rd in NSE’s British University Esports Championship.”
Quentin Sloper, our Director of Student Enrichment added: “What Kylie has done and continues to do for esports at Durham is superb. In collaboration with some outstanding student leaders, she has successfully established esports as a strong and distinctive strand of the University's student enrichment offer and has removed numerous barriers to participation, championing inclusivity and the pursuit of excellence.”