The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa esports program has flourished since its inception in 2019, becoming the top collegiate program in the nation in 2022. Some of its alumni who helped to launch its success have been making strides in the global esports industry, including Ryan Guerrero.
The 2021 communications graduate has been working at Riot Games—a major video game developer, publisher and esports tournament organizer based in Los Angeles—since September 2021. He began as a social media content designer and was recently promoted to a visual designer. Guerrero has worked on marketing advertisement campaigns for the Netflix show Arcane, and created social media graphics for League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics, League of Legends: Wildrift and Valorant.
“It’s been a dream come true working at Riot,” Guerrero said. “The work environment is amazing, and everyone is so friendly and always willing to help, which allows me to learn so much and allows me to grow in my craft. I think the coolest part to me is working with so many amazing creatives that have such a passion for the game, and they have so much love for what they do for a living. We’re all gamers so we all relate to one another and to be able to be a part of the behind the scenes stuff, it’s really amazing and fun to see.”
Learn more about the UH Mānoa Esports program
At UH Mānoa Esports, Guerrero created team schedule graphics, victory graphics, class flyers for esports academic courses and graphics with UH’s Cloud9 collaboration, as well as during the Overwatch League’s (OWL) first visit to UH Mānoa.
“I essentially created graphics for the whole school year up until OWL, which allowed me to continue practicing my craft by experimenting with different graphic trends and utilizing them with UH Esports,” Guerrero said. “Prior to creating graphics with UH Esports, I haven’t created a graphic or opened Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator in a couple years so everything was also new to me and I was learning something new everyday. I’m very fortunate to have Sky Kauweloa and Kevin Nguyen give me the freedom and be open to be as creative as possible with our graphics.”
Kauweloa, UH Mānoa Esports program director, said, “Ryan stands out as a stellar example of how alumni have come back to UH Esports as a means of building up a portfolio of work in order to gain a foothold into the industry. We are all immensely proud of him.”
Guerrero’s success in the UH Mānoa esports program earned him an internship with esports organization Glo Navy, which was key to landing his current position at Riot Games.
“There are so many roles behind the scenes in the esports industry so if you have any chance to help out UH Esports or another organization, take advantage of the chances you have because it allows you to continue to gain the experience to be able to build your resume and portfolio,” Guerrero said. “As you continue to gain experiences along the way, you’ll meet so many amazing people that share the same interests as you, and the more you network, the more opportunities that are presented to you.”
Visit the UH Esports team’s Twitter and Discord pages. More stories on UH’s esports program.
—By Marc Arakaki