Name: Mark Deppe
Title: Acting Director of UCI eSports
Q: How long have you worked at UCI and what made you interested in coming to the campus?
A: I joined UCI in 2010 as the assistant director of student programs for Student Government. I had an event planning background from UCLA and was excited to come to UCI to coordinate campuswide programs as well as advise student leaders.
Q: Can you share a bit about what you do in your current job?
A: As the acting director for our new eSports program, I oversee the department, the new arena, the scholarship program and ensure that we’re continuing to advance the four pillars of the program: competition, academics, community and entertainment. I spend most of my time speaking about the program, looking for more resources, working with our scholarship teams, and creating a direction for the department.
Q: What is the best part about working at UCI?
A: I’ve heard several campus leaders say that the clay is still wet at UCI and I definitely feel that. There is an opportunity to do special things here and I think as a university we are on a steep upward trajectory. It’s an exciting time to work here.
Q: How did the idea for UCI eSports come to be and why do you think it’s an important program for UCI?
A: The idea emerged from a business school project that I did on the gaming industry. While researching for the paper, I was blown away to see how big eSports had become. Simultaneously, I saw that UCI had just been named the No. 1 school for gamers by College Magazine and that our gaming clubs were both wildly popular and successful on a competitive level. Combined with the fact that we have a huge computer game science major and that a few colleges had started offering scholarships for gamers, I thought we had a compelling case to build something special. When we talk about being a globally preeminent university, we need to do things that other schools are not, and this program makes UCI a school of first choice for the millions of people who love games.
Q: Do you have any advice for new Anteater employees to be successful/make the most of their time at UCI?
A: I’d recommend that new staff find opportunities to work with people all around campus. Build your network here. It makes a large university feel smaller and exposes you to lots of cool stuff that you might not otherwise know about.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I have a 10-month-old son and so being a dad is a new(ish) activity for me. When I’m not changing diapers and wiping drool, I enjoy playing sports and being active. I play intramural basketball and staff volleyball every year, I’m currently training for a half marathon right now. My wife and I also love going to UCI basketball games and cheering on the ‘Eaters at the Bren.