April Welch, Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Director of the Esports and Digital Arts Center at Illinois Tech believes no one should be afraid to find and follow their passion. Part of her job involves providing students with amazing opportunities to try new things and find their passion through our Elevate program. Currently her passion is Directing the Illinois Tech Esports and Digital Arts program. Established in 2013, there are currently over 100 competitive gamers and a supportive community of over 630 people on our Discord server. We have multiple competitive teams that play ten different game titles and we have an inclusive and active esports community. Our student esports leaders helped to add a collegiate competition to the 2018 Intel Extreme Masters IEM event held in Chicago.
Welch has done esports/gaming presentations and panels at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), IdeaCon sponsored by the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance, and an IIT Tour was part of the Level Up Gaming Summit sponsored by DePaul. She spoke at the IMSA game development camp for high school students and she has led game dev camps at Illinois Tech.
She has talked about esports on ABC 7 News, on The Academy of Esports by James O’Hagan, Depth and Light by JD Pritle, and on the radio WVON Chicago.
Additionally, she is the Director of the Exelon Summer Institute at IIT. ESI is designed to create a diverse and supportive learning community for first-year college students. This endowed program emphasizes the value of teamwork and provides new students with specific strategies for college success, including mentorship, one-on-one tutoring and more.
Previously she had the opportunity to found the Idea Shop, a collaborative learning space equipped with a rapid prototyping lab designed to facilitate teamwork and innovation. The Idea Shop is the ideal space for bringing thoughts to reality through design thinking, iterative creativity and persistence. It was the model for our new Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship that is now complete.
After graduating from the Latin School of Chicago she received her BS in Business Administration from Boston University’s School of Management with a concentration in marketing and communication. She worked as a part of the worldwide marketing team at Arthur Andersen‘s headquarters in Chicago. Later, she was part of the Educational Technology team at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). After receiving her BFA in Photography and Graphic Design from Loyola University Chicago she earned her MA in Applied Professional Studies from DePaul University. While at DePaul she designed and delivered the Accelerated e-business training program for at-risk students. She went on to earn her MS in Technical Communication and Information Design from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate at IIT pursuing a culminating degree in Technical Communications.