June 16, 2021

Two SUNY Empire Students Win MVP Awards in the SUNY Esports League

Nancy "Phancy" Jackson of Watkins Glen named Fortnite MVP, Aferdita Skudrinja of Staten Island named Call of Duty MVP and overall SUNY League MVP

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SUNY Empire esports MVPs, Nancy Jackson of Watkins Glen and Aferdita Skudrinja of Staten Island

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — JUNE 16, 2021) Two SUNY Empire State College students recently won MVP awards in the SUNY Esports League. 

Nancy "Phancy" Jackson, 20, of Watkins Glen, N.Y. was named Fortnite MVP. Aferdita Skudrinja, 25, of Staten Island, N.Y. won Call of Duty MVP and overall SUNY League MVP.

“To have a smaller and newer program like ours take home such prestigious awards says a lot about the strengths of these two students,” said Jennifer Hookway, who along with Jon Easton serves as a coordinator of SUNY Empire’s esports program.

Both winners credit Jennifer Hookway and Jon Easton, who manage the college’s esports program.

“The esports community here at SUNY Empire is amazing,” Jackson said. “Jon and Jen are both great managers and so easy to talk to about anything that goes on throughout the season. They always have our backs, which is such a good feeling. It makes it so much more enjoyable to be a part of the eSports team.”

“I’m honored to be representing SUNY Empire,” Skudrinja said. “This season, I’ve had my share of obstacles, but what pushed me through was my love for the game, my teammates within our esports community, and my amazing managers Jon Easton and Jennifer Hookway. I am grateful for earning this award not just for me, but for everyone on the eSport team.”

SUNY Empire made its debut in the competitive world of esports in the spring of 2020, when 15 students played three games in the SUNY Chancellor’s Esports Challenge.

In the fall of 2020, SUNY System launched the systemwide esports league as a way for students to enjoy safe competition while forming much-needed connections. This time, SUNY Empire responded by forming 10 teams. In 2021, SUNY Empire joined the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) esports conference, which includes more than 90 colleges.

“In spring 2021 we had almost 60 active students between the two leagues, with almost 20 teams,” Hookway said. “We have 150 members in the SUNY Empire Esports Discord group, which is like Microsoft Teams for gamers. Members include future students and alumni.”

Jackson began playing Fortnite in February 2020, while she was still at student at Keuka College and before the pandemic struck. She continued playing after she transferred to SUNY Empire in the fall.

“The reason I decided to take it to the next level was because I was able to understand the game play that was involved in Fortnite,” she said. “It also gave me a chance to meet new people that I call my friends after getting to know them throughout the season.”

Skudrinja started by playing with family and friends, and joined the SUNY Empire team this spring. Though her family initially told her gaming was for boys, Skudrinja’s skills and confidence grew, and she set out to prove otherwise. She said gaming enables her to connect with fellow students, while developing new skills. 

“I try to progress every day and enjoy learning new techniques,” she said. “As for Call of Duty, I enjoy studying different game plays and communicating with others who fit in my style of game play to play competitively.”

SUNY Empire students play in matches every night during the league season. Each team has one night per week for a match against an opposing school, but many teams practice multiple times per week outside of that assigned time slot. Some work with coaches to improve their coordination and excellence.

Find SUNY Empire esports online at:

  • Discord: https://www.esc.edu/escdiscord
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/sunyescesports
  • Twitch Channel: https://www.esc.edu/esctwitch
  • YouTube: https://www.esc.edu/esportsyoutube
  • Webpage: https://www.esc.edu/esports