On the surface, Activision Blizzard is a video game behemoth providing players with some of the best-loved entertainment, including Candy Crush, Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Overwatch and World of Warcraft. But the company is also dedicated to social impact, whether supporting military vets or fighting COVID-19.
One of Activision Blizzard’s longtime beneficiaries is the ESA Foundation. For the past several years, the company has donated funding to the Foundation’s scholarship and grants programs, helping to ensure that underrepresented students are provided with STEAM-related learning and career opportunities.
“The Activision Blizzard team really goes the extra mile,” says Anastasia Staten, the Foundation’s executive director. “They contribute every year to our scholarship fund, but perhaps just as important, they support our scholars in non-monetary ways.”
David King, Chief Technology Officer, Treyarch
The company, for example, stepped up when asked if employees could volunteer to serve as judges in choosing the Foundation’s 2020-21 scholars. The response was overwhelming, with 19 judges from across the Activision Blizzard family—including subsidiaries Treyarch, Toys for Bob and Sledgehammer Games—making selections based on student applications and video presentations.
One of those judges was David King, chief technology officer at Treyarch, who says of the process, “As a long-time veteran of the video game industry, it has always been exciting to be directly involved with helping to create a path for a new generation of industry talent. I was truly impressed by the student ESA Foundation scholars. These future professionals demonstrated remarkable passion for their respective crafts and are clearly on the path to greatness.”
Most recently, Activision Blizzard’s University Relations and Recruitment team conducted a virtual professional development session with this year’s scholars. They provided tutorials on résumé and portfolio creation, management of online professional networks, such as LinkedIn, and landing internships.
“What an amazing session,” recalls scholar Meha Magesh. “I immediately updated my résumé and LinkedIn page, and I’ve already sent out several applications for internships this coming year.”
The latter is especially relevant. Activision Blizzard offers a world-class internship program providing not only hands-on experience but mentorship and career guidance, which are crucial for aspiring game developers, including ESA Foundation scholars, trying to access the industry. This past spring, in fact, four-time scholar Steven Harmon interned with Activision, and in the last year two former scholars, Miranda Due and Andrew Hoyt, joined Treyarch, the subsidiary behind Call of Duty.
Says Staten of Activision Blizzard, “They totally get what we do, which is nurture these talented young people and provide them with career opportunities. We simply couldn’t have the impact we do without their support to diversify the video game industry.”