Vancouver – Vancouver Film School  (VFS), Canada’s premier post-secondary entertainment arts institution, today announced Shannon Lee from Toronto, Canada, as the first-ever winner of the Women in Games  Scholarship, valued at $30,000. The scholarship covers the full tuition to the acclaimed one-year Game Design program at VFS, which was recently named by the L.A. Times as one of the top 10 schools “favored by video game industry recruiters.”
The unique scholarship was launched in early February at Game Design Expo 2009 as a means to support and foster talented female game designers in an industry traditionally dominated by male gamers and designers. More and more women are forging successful careers in the game industry and now make up 20 percent of the workforce, up 17 percent from 2004, according to findings in The Game Industry: Now & in the Future, a 2009 report released by VFS. The school established the Women in Games scholarship to encourage this positive trend.
Shannon will have the opportunity to experience one intensive year learning every facet of game design, from game theory to level design to game interface design. The Game Design program’s industry-led curriculum reflects a professional game development and production environment, so that when Shannon graduates, she will be prepared to begin a career in the game industry.
“It is an honour to have been chosen, and I am so thankful for this chance to fulfill a long-held dream of mine,” says Shannon. “I cannot wait to start the Game Design program at VFS and to take advantage of the opportunities that the Women in Games scholarship has afforded.”
“In an industry that has typically been male-dominated, it’s exciting for me to see not only a depth and quality of work by the women that are interested in being game designers, but also the high level of interest that our scholarship generated,” says Dave Warfield, Head of Game Design at VFS. “I believe it is a very positive step for the industry to know that our next generation of game designers will be bringing a new perspective on the games we play.”
In addition to the Women in Games Scholarship, VFS also awarded six other scholarships, ranging from $2,500 to $7,000, thanks to the contribution by a number of Game Design Expo 2009 sponsors. Five of the six recipients of these scholarships are women.
Congratulations to the following scholarship winners:
Katharine Craig, Vancouver, Canada. – $7,000 G4techTV  scholarship
Jessica MacGaul, Surrey, Canada – $5,000 EA  scholarship
Denver Thomas, Parsippany, U.S. – $2,800 Big Fish Games  scholarship
Thi Bao Vo, Hanoi, Vietnam – $2,500 Annex Pro  scholarship
Sara Moore, Ottawa, Canada – $2,500 Obsidian Entertainment  scholarship
Bunthita Nijathaworn, Bangkok, Thailand – $2,500 Crystal Dynamics  scholarship