This college freshman is combining her passion for esports with her studies in computer science and game development

Lyndsy Pontillo is the assistant manager of Iona University’s esports team. Despite not competing on a team herself, she’s taking advantage of her role to not only get herself one step closer to joining an esports team, but also to apply her experience to her studies in computer science and game development to one day make a game that an esports team might compete on!

Pontillo discovered gaming as a kid, playing games like Minecraft and Club Penguin, but “in 2020—during quarantine—I spent like all my time gaming,” she tells In The Know.

When it came time to select a college, gaming played a major role in Pontillo’s decision. “Gaming was a big factor for college for me because of my major, which was computer science and a concentration in game development,” she explains.

Even though Pontillo is incredibly passionate about gaming, when she found out about Iona’s esports team she knew she wasn’t ready to try out for a team, but she wanted to get involved in any way she could. “I didn’t feel I was ready to try out for an esports team because the only game that I played was Minecraft and there wasn’t a Minecraft team,” says Pontillo.

Instead, she got involved by dropping by the game room and introducing herself. She met another assistant manager who encouraged her to reach out to the main manager and ask about becoming one herself. Once she was approved as an assistant manager, Pontillo gained access to the game room and its equipment. “I could also practice with the other teammates so I could try out next year while I improve my skills,” she explains.

The game Pontillo is interested in trying out for is Valorant. Having been interested in the first-person tactical hero shooter game for a while, she never had access to the game or the equipment until becoming an assistant manager. Now, she practices with the team’s players in hopes of trying out next year. “I try to go to the game room as much as I can,” she shares. “I try to fit it in my schedule, around my classes and my homework.”

While Pontillo is incredibly goal-oriented, it’s all about the love of the game for her, whether it’s playing or developing. “I admire the creative aspects of each game,” she shares. “I think the idea behind each game is pretty brilliant. And maybe one day I’ll work on a game that turns into something that an esports team is competing on.”

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