The odds are stacked against underrepresented students interested in STEAM. We know that even girls and students of color who demonstrate a passion and aptitude for science, math and technology are not provided with the same resources and educational opportunities as their white male counterparts. So, by the time they’re teenagers, many simply don’t believe that careers in the video game or other STEAM industries are possible.
The ESA Foundation refuses to let this phenomenon persist. While our funding is limited, our access to the video game industry is abundant, and offers us the ability to support as many STEAM-career-minded women and minority students as possible. Accordingly, we now offer the non-monetary benefits of our scholarship program to an additional cadre of students who demonstrate exceptional skill, creativity and, yes, passion. Each academic year, these students will be provided with mentor, intern, networking and professional development opportunities.
The key, here, is that the mentors and those conducting the professional development and networking sessions are themselves are not just experts in their fields, they are women and people of color. Research shows that whenever an underrepresented student works with or is exposed to a demographically similar role model, that student performs better in school, on job applications and in interviews.
Our mentors come from top ESA member and other industry companies, and the internships, offered during the school year and summers, are with triple-A and independent studios alike. The professional development sessions run the gamut and include:
They also enable industry professionals to serve as mentors, advising students on creative issues and career advancement while, in turn, engaging with the next generation of innovators.
More committed than ever to enabling video-game-focused students to obtain access to STEAM industries, the ESA Foundation is excited to introduce its inaugural 2021-21 Student Network Class:
This past year, Activision Blizzard’s University Relations and Recruitment team conducted a virtual professional development session with the 2020-21 scholars. They provided tutorials on résumé and portfolio creation, management of online professional networks, such as LinkedIn, and landing internships.
Scholarships were awarded to 31 women, minority and LGBTQ+ college students who, emerging from a pandemic, are eager to create video games and content reflecting their lives.