Lawrence University Posse alumnus Eli Cauley.
Lawrence University Posse alumnus Eli Cauley.

Alum Explores Video Games as Watson Fellow

Fall 2018 | New York

Elijah “Eli” Cauley’s academic achievements as a Posse Scholar at Lawrence University and his lifelong passion for video games have earned him membership in the 50th class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows. Over the next year, Eli will travel to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Japan for his project entitled, “Creating Play Around the World.” His goal is to learn from diverse game-makers who exist outside the traditional game development world.

Eli is among 40 students chosen as 2018 Watson Fellows. The prestigious grant, which is awarded to graduating college seniors, funds a year of independent study and living expenses outside the United States.

A self-taught videogame designer, Eli has been creating games for as long as he can remember.

Eli hopes to collaborate with developers around the world.

“While games once existed for me as a plaything during free time, they are now a central tangible part of my life,” he says. “They are informed by my relationships, politics, friends, academics and the places I live.”

After a summer spent in New York exploring the diversity and richness of video games and their developers, Eli hopes to expand on his knowledge by collaborating with developers around the world.

“The medium is woefully underexplored and so desperately needs diverse voices to breathe life into its uncharted corners,” he says.

Eli’s Watson Fellowship will commence in London, where he will connect with other video game aficionados and experts. He will then travel to the Netherlands to participate in open-game jams, hack-a-thons, and other community events. His year-long journey will conclude in Japan. He will divide his initial time there between Kyoto and Tokyo, two cities that are vibrant with independent video gaming, and end his fellowship at the famed Global Game Jam in Fukushima.

Eli graduated magna cum laude this past June with a major in linguistics.