We had an amazing time hosting 20 Bay Area 10th and 11th graders in our newly-designed EA Lab for seven weeks while they learned more about computer science, web design and mobile development. Each week, students were visited by a different EA presenter and spent 1:1 time with their EA mentor to learn more about what it’s like to pursue a technical career and get advice from women in the industry. Take a look at this video that recaps the experience.
“I was surprised at the high quality of the program and how in depth the curriculum is for these girls,” said Kady Srinivasan, Senior Director, Network Engagement for EA Mobile and Girls Who Code mentor. “It was a great experience to spend time every week getting to know a bright, energetic young woman and hopefully have a positive impact on her future by sharing my own experiences pursuing a technical career. I believe that programming will be like learning any other language someday, so I told my mentee that she is getting a great head start on building her career!”
Of course, it’s not just about classroom time if you’re coming to EA every day. In addition to using our cafeterias, game rooms, weekly Club EA training and Friday BBQs, we wanted to make sure these students got the special EA treatment and met with many EA leaders. They were visited by our CEO Andrew Wilson and Chief Talent Officer Gabrielle Toledano, who was integral in bringing the program to our campus. Head of Maxis Lucy Bradshaw welcomed the students in their orientation and our Chief Technology Officer Ken Moss spoke to them during graduation.
And the most exciting? They had two field trips right on our campus. The first to visit GlassLab Games where they got to play a game in development and learned how to build games for a classroom setting. The second was with the The Sims 4 development team at Maxis. That’s right, the students not only got to tour the studio but they used their new skills to design and pitch ideas for an expansion pack. They also got to visit the Pogo team where they learned about game testing.
“The best part about hosting the Girls Who Code class was the opportunity to show them first-hand how they can apply the skills they’ve learned to a career in game development,” said Rachel Franklin, Executive Producer of The Sims 4. “I could see it really click, and some even had tears in their eyes they were so excited! Having a computer science degree myself and having been one of very few women in those classes, I’m very passionate about the need to encourage more young girls to pursue STEM. Bringing the students into The Sims environment was an opportunity that was just as memorable and impactful to me as it was to them.”