Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Girls Who Game comes to WilmU: ‘You can have your own pathway to the gaming industry’

Plus, a roundup of Juneteenth events happening in Delaware this weekend and beyond.

The esports industry is booming.

(Photo by Sam Churchill with Creative Commons license)

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a newsletter alongside a roundup of Technical.ly’s best Delaware reporting from the week, job openings and more. Subscribe here to get updates on Delaware tech, business and innovation news in your inbox on Thursdays.

The middle of June already?

We’re just days away from Juneteenth, now both a state and federal holiday (but not, for most privately owned companies, a paid day off). Just before then, on Saturday, June 18, Delaware startup Futures First Gaming (FFG) will hold its annual Girls Who Game tournament.

Quarterly FFG events have been held in Wilmington movie theaters in the past, but this year’s Girls Who Game will be held at Wilmington University’s New Castle campus, home of its Game Design and Development degree program. WilmU and FFG recently formed a partnership to amp up game industry education in Delaware, including a public school Pathways program that is set to launch at some (currently unannounced) high schools in the next year.

The Girls Who Game tournament, as the name suggests, focuses on girls and women in the esports industry, from players to developers. Anyone can play in the tournaments or participate in the workshops for PC building and video editing. The three panels will be filled with women in the industry.

Jihan Johnston, CEO and cofounder of BeatBotics, a digital transformation awareness company she started with her then-13 year old son, spreads awareness to inner city communities on the importance of STEM careers in gaming, esports, the metaverse and beyond. She is a Ph.D. student at University of California and the first Black woman to do academic research on HBCUs in esports.

Johnston will moderate the panel “Disrupting Esports Through Your Own Experiences,” powered by Evil Geniuses.

“What I’m hoping to bring to viewers is to show that you can have your own pathway to the gaming industry,” she told Technical.ly. “This is just going to be a conversation about the different transitions. I was an assistant principal for 15 years, and I made my transition from being an administrator to now in esports and gaming. It’s also to highlight the role that parents push for — you know, marketing, lawyers, getting your MBA, getting your degree — to the gaming industry, so we’re really trying to dismantle the negative connotation of gaming and letting people know that you can actually enjoy what you love and make a career out of it.”

One thing Johnston wants to relay to girls is that they can be a part of the industry without changing who they are: “I’m excited to show that you can be a woman of color, you can have bamboo earrings and long nails, and still be in this industry and still be well respected.”

The Girls Who Game panels will stream live, and will later be available to view on YouTube.

Register for Girls Who Game 2022

Upcoming Delaware events and deadlines

The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is happening this week, through June 18, evenings at Rodney Square. The festival is free, as always.

Juneteenth celebrations will be happening all weekend. On Saturday, June 18:

And beyond:

Secure Delaware is seeking in-person presenters for its 2022 cyber security conference in October. Application deadline is June 24.

P&G Ventures, Proctor & Gamble’s early-stage startup studio, is seeking entrepreneurs and inventors for its Innovation Challenge. Deadline is June 30.

Power Moves

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