An overwhelming response to the annual Women in Games Scholarship offered by Vancouver Film School (VFS) has led to the unprecedented announcement of four recipients. Janel Jolly of Canada, Nicha Jaijadesuk of Thailand, Jaymee Mak of Australia, and Anna Prein of Russia have all been awarded a full-tuition scholarship to the one-year Game Design program. This scholarship, the first of its kind in the world, covers the full tuition for an aspiring female game designer in VFS’s acclaimed Game Design program.
“When we first started the Women in Games Scholarship, I was very excited to see one or two candidates who really stood out – applicants I truly believed could make an impact in the game industry,” says Dave Warfield, Head of Game Design at VFS. “But this year, it was impossible to choose just one candidate out of a staggering range of applicants from all over the world. The applications were of such a high quality that we had no choice but to award scholarships to these four incredible women.”
According to a recent article in The Boston Globe, women only make up around 11% of the game industry, and the issue came to the fore just a few short months ago when the #1reasonwhy hashtag exploded on Twitter. That began in response to the question “Why aren’t there more female game creators?” and encouraged women working in the game industry to voice their own experiences of inequality and marginalization. The Women in Games Scholarship is designed to help address this gender imbalance and ultimately empower more female game designers.
“When I heard the news, I entered a two-day daze of joy and disbelief. My dream was really happening,” says scholarship recipient Janel Jolly. “Over the years, I’ve been slowly inching my way into the industry, but I feel like this scholarship has given me rabbit’s feet to help reach my destination. The long road to success is both frightening and exciting, but I’m ready for the journey and eager to face whatever challenges are ahead.”
Previous winners include Shannon Lee of Canada, now at BigPark Games, Annie Dickerson from the United States, currently at Grantoo, Lala Fuchs from Brazil, who won a Unity Award for Best Student Game and is currently with DeNa Studios, and Kristina Soltvedt Wiik from Norway, who will graduate from VFS this June. 2013 is the first year the scholarship has been awarded to more than one recipient.