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OU Esports has given Jacob Ross, Assistant Community Director and senior computer science major, an outlet to express his passions and a place to learn leadership skills.

Originally from Oklahoma, Ross began his collegiate gaming journey at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“My freshman year I was out of state in Santa Cruz and in the gaming program there. I was playing Rocket League,” Ross said.“Once COVID-19 forced me back home, I naturally joined the gaming club.”

Finding Community

From there, Ross joined the community through Rocket League, but soon found opportunities to branch out.

“At first, I continued playing Rocket League with OU Esports, but once I figured out (competitive gaming) wasn’t for me, I became Rocket League Ambassador,” Ross said. “I became focused on the community side, and that’s still where I’m at, but now for this semester, I’m up at the top.”

His experiences in the Community pillar have allowed Ross to become comfortable with the skills that can’t be taught in the classroom.

“Having a lot of ownership over what goes on has built up my leadership skills and my communication skills,” Ross said. “I have to maintain relationships and keep in contact with people.”

“I got a lot of experience writing emails, such as asking for sponsorships. They can be stressful, but I learned how to manage that stress.”

The Community pillar has been a perfect fit for Ross, who is passionate about working with others.

“Outreach efforts are something that has always spoken to me,” Ross said. “Having the opportunity to work with all of the partnerships that we have here will stick with me forever and I hope to be able to build partnerships like that with other groups further down the line.”

Looking Forward and Back

While Ross doesn’t have any set plans for the future yet, he hopes to bring the skills he has learned into a potential career in school counseling. He also plans on continuing to work with Esports communities in some capacity.

Looking back on his time with OU Esports, Ross could only describe it as one thing.

“It’s a dream come true. Growing up, it’s not something I ever expected to be a possibility. Gaming is something that I’m passionate about and having something structured like this to express that passion is still so surreal.”

Being in the Community pillar has given Ross the unique perspective of seeing OU Esports and OU Gaming Club as a whole, and he is thankful for that opportunity.

“I appreciate everyone in the community,” Ross said. “I know it can be hard to see how involved everyone is in this community, but when you’re working with everyone, it’s easy to see and appreciate what everyone is doing.”