The Entertainment Software Association and Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Leaders on the Fast Track today announced that 20 minority youths were awarded grants for creating video games that seek solutions to problems in their communities. The fellows will appear at The White House in Washington, D.C. on December 4, to present their ideas to influencers and policymakers.
Of the 20 students, 7 are African American. Terence Dalbert is one of them.
A 22-year old from Augusta Georgia, Dalbert created a game called Top Recruit: Navigating Senior Year. He is a student at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for which he earned a 4-year scholarship.
Asia Bryant, a 21-year old student at the equally prestigious Vassar College, created a game called Urban RGP – Create Your Environment: Community Awareness.
And 26-year old Demetric Sanders, who attended Stanford University, created “Bar Up” – Teaching Kids to Write Through Lyrics/Twitter.
“At the core of the ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellowship is the belief that using technology for social change or career paths is essential to not only the advancement of minority communities, but America as a nation,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of HHF. “Through this creative partnership with the ESA, we are engaging youth on their terms, through video games. The link from playing a video game to developing one to computer coding, cybersecurity and other skills gap areas is evident and that’s also what we are trying to leverage through this program."
Each of the 20 Fellows will receive a $1,000 grant to further their ideas and will be tracked by the LOFT team to sustain the impact of their effort. Joining ESA and HHF on this effort was Globaloria, Black Girls Code, BK Nation, BASE (Black Association of Scientist and Engineers), Computer Science Teacher's Association, and Gamepress.
“The ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellowship shows how games are more than a means of entertainment, but also a valuable tool for change in our society,” said Rich Taylor, senior vice president of communications and industry affairs at the ESA. “We are proud to offer this opportunity that will help create real change in minority communities through the unique platform only video games can provide."
The 2013 Video Game Innovation Fellows are:
Geraldine Agredo, 15, Game – Animal Frenzy: Identify animals in Spanish for bilingual education , Attends The Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria, Hometown of Astoria, New York
Ashely Alicea, 23 , Game – Pencils Down: See the World Through a Teacher's Eyes , Attended Ithaca College, Hometown of Dorado, Puerto Rico
Mia Benavidez, 17, Game – Cards for the Cause: Applications for Literacy, Attends Robert E. Lee High School , Hometown of San Antonio, Texas
Asia Bryant, 21 , Game – Urban RGP Create Your Environment: Community Awareness , Attends Vassar College, Hometown of Newark, New Jersey
Marcus Cisneros, 17, Game – College-To-Do List- College Preparation, Attends Watsonville High School , Hometown of Watsonville, California
Terrence Dalbert, 22, Game – Top Recruit: Navigating Senior Year , Attends Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Hometown of Augusta, Georgia
Claudia Flores, 23 , Game – Any Hour is the Right Time: Community Service , Attends Santa Clara University, Hometown of San Jose, California
John Funtanilla, 22 , Game – Founder's Quest: How to Build Your Own Non-Profit , Attends San Francisco State University, Hometown of San Francisco, California
Ama Koranteng, 17 , Game – Transform-a-City: Addressing Ethnic Inequality, Attends New Albany High School , Hometown of New Albany, Ohio
Daniela Leguisamo, 15, Game – Animal Frenzy: Identify Animals in Spanish for Bilingual Education , Attends The Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria, Hometown of Jackson Heights, New York
Nicu Listana, 20 , Game – Founder's Quest: How to Build Your Own Non-Profit, Attends San Francisco State University , Hometown of San Francisco, California
Morelia Lopez, 17, Game – College-To-Do List- College Preparation , Attends Watsonville High School , Hometown of Watsonville, California
Bayonia Marshall, 20, Game – Baby Rush: Addressing Teen Pregnancy and Single Parenting, Attends Iona College , Hometown of Oxon Hill, MD MOC: Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Sade Mcintosh, 22, Game – Restaurant RockStar: Food and Nutrition Education Attends York College, Hometown of Far Rockaway, New York
Aaron Michael-Blackman, 22, Game – Where's the Money: Financial Literacy Attends Howard University, Hometown of St. Louis, Missouri
Jesus Rios, 22 , Game – JFG Haiku Hunt: Education about the Japanese Friendship Gardens in San Diego , Attends University of California, San Diego , Hometown of Calexico, California
Michelle Rivas-Molina, 15, Game – Animal Frenzy: Identify Animals in Spanish for Bilingual Education , Attends The Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria Hometown of Jamaica, New York
Demetric Sanders, 24, Game – Bar Up!: Teaching Kids to Write through Lyrics and Twitter, Attended Stanford University, Hometown of Portland, Oregon
Sophie Sheeline, 19, Game – Doctor Game: Learn How to Diagnose, Attends Dartmouth College, Hometown of Hillsboro, California
Fatima Zenine Villanueva, 22, Game – DOMUS: Life from Perspectives of a Homeless Individual, Attends Bergen Community College , Hometown of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey