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Junior Rogue Mentor Dr. Lupo Helps Young Fortnite Gamers Turn Pro

March 18, 2019

 

Popular Twitch streamer Benjamin Lupo, aka “Dr. Lupo,” served as a mentor to students in the first semester of Junior Rogue’s gaming accelerator program last fall. The program is aimed at young gamers who seek a professional career in esports, with a particular focus on Fortnite.

“One of the coolest things I think was knocking down that first wall like ‘Hey I’m Dr. Lupo, you guys watch me on streams sometimes.’ Listening to [the students] go from very nervous to buddy-buddy was super cool,” Lupo explained. “I don’t ever like being seen as unreachable. We’re all humans just trying to play some Fortnite.”

 

Lupo, a 31-year-old native of Omaha, Neb., is the captain of Team Rogue’s professional Fortnite team and boasts more than three million followers on his Twitch account. Given his streaming fame, Lupo is the headliner among several mentors in the Junior Rogue program, which began its second semester in early March. The program accepted just two percent of applicants and is open to U.S. residents under the age of 18.

 

A total of 18 amateur Fortnite players were selected to the current class. The inaugural semester last fall ended up having two student gamers sign with professional esports teams. Find Your Grind, a non profit that encourages gamers to pursue non-traditional career paths, helps fund the Junior Rogue program, which is free for those accepted. Students receive a $500 scholarship, graphical assets that help promote their own social media and streaming channels, and attend weekly online seminars focused on career growth in the esports industry. 

 

“The program is essentially basketball camp for kids who play Fortnite,” said Kevin Knocke, VP of esports at ReKTGlobal, the parent company of Rogue. “The first semester we really focused on kids that were borderline pro players, ready to jump into the pro level. A little bit of a difference this semester is that while we’re still taking quite good players, we’re looking at producing a good bit of content around the players this semester. We brought in [students] who we think have a good chance to make it as successful content creators.”

 

Teaching students on how to craft an engaging presence while streaming themselves play video games is where Lupo’s expertise comes in. This past January, Lupo became the first esports player to sign a sponsorship deal with State Farm. “The Nebraska native is known for his engaging, candid streams, in which his wife and three-year-old son make frequent cameos,” State Farm said in its press release.

 

During the first semester, Lupo would meet several times with students typically in small groups of three, followed by hosting question-and-answer sessions.

 

“I talk about anything that would come to mind as far as being entertaining that I think would help educate those students on how to deliver a better gaming product for their viewership, because it’s not the easiest thing in the world to try being entertaining for six hours multiple times a week. It’s very tiring,” Lupo said.

 

Lupo’s students are typically about 15 years younger than he is, but they share a mutual passion for Fortnite. The free-to-play game has been a hit among a younger audience mainly because “the game doesn’t take itself overly seriously,” according to Lupo. “I don’t know anyone who looks at Fortnite and says ‘Yeah that’s too violent for my kid’,” he added.

 

“I think Fortnite’s done an excellent job of setting the stage for interactions between generations that I don’t think was really possible in this way in the past,” Lupo said. “If you start talking about Fortnite or whatever is happening on Twitch, that connection was there no matter what. They could talk about [Fortnite] all day.”