Becker seniors start Women in Games Club
Published on: February 13, 2020
After years of studying in a predominately male field, Becker College seniors Victoria Yong and Chloe Tibets decided to start a Women in Games Club to help their fellow women interact with and support each other. They’ve ended up achieving much more.
Yong and Tibets recalled thinking about the club as they sat in classes where many of their fellow students were men. As a game development and programming major, Yong remembers having classes where she was the only woman in the room.
“When I started, I was the only female programmer. I really didn’t have anyone to look up to,” Yong said. Entering her senior year, she said, “I knew I would like to help other female programmers get that support.”
Meanwhile, Tibets found herself in a similar situation while studying interactive media with a game arts concentration. And while the number of women in gaming has grown in recent years, both Tibet and Yong said they saw a need they could help address.
“We decided we should probably have a group that allows women to network with each other,” Yong said.
Tibets and Yong started by researching the idea. They found there were some international organizations, and a group in Boston. But they couldn’t find anything in the Worcester area.
“We talked to people at other schools, and they didn’t seem to have anything like this,” Tibets said.
So they took the next step and talked to their professors at Becker about the idea.
“We were very nervous when we stated this,” Yong said.
Both women said the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“Our professors have been very helpful,” Tibets said. “We’ve had some very good interactions.”
“I feel like the professors here are very supportive about what we’re doing,” Yong added. “It’s a great feeling.”
In addition to offering words of support and advice, Tibets and Yong said their professors have offered them contact information for leaders in the industry.
“A lot of the success we’ve had was because we had help to start,” Tibets said. “They had contacts that we’ve reached out to, and that’s led to more contacts.”
Tibets and Yong decided to start the club unofficially, to gauge the level of interest. And while their club is called Women in Games, they decided to make it inclusive and have their events open to everyone.
They invited in their first speakers in the fall of 2019. Those speakers included Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir from Bonfire Studios, Kristen Halloran from Hasbro, and Mary Alice McMorrow from Earplay.
“Sigurlina spoke to students about the importance of diverse teams in creating successful games, Kristen spoke to students about how to get your dream job, and Mary Alice spoke to students about the importance of marketing for games,” Tibets said.
From the first, the women said they’ve had positive feedback and a growing following.
“We’ve had a really good turnout of both women and men,” said Tibets. “At our first talk, we had about ten people. Now we get 50 or 60.”
In addition to finding students interested in the club’s events, they’ve found that people in the industry have been very supportive.
“These people are really trying to help us,” Tibets said.
“The speakers have been really nice,” Yong said. “They really want to answer our questions.”
Building on the early success, Yong and Tibets started the Women in Games Club officially in January.
“We are already planning our first speaker for this semester, as well as a LinkedIn photo event, where students can have a professional picture taken,” Tibets said. “We also have professionals coming from local companies to give Becker students a portfolio review.”
Their goals for the future include providing networking opportunities and making sure that every student has the opportunity to have their portfolio reviewed.
“One of our big goals is to provide students with mentors,” Tibets said. “We want to help provide students with the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed.”
“We also want to work with other clubs,” Yong said.
Tibets and Yong said they would also like to help create a network for students at Becker, so that they can reach out to people in the industries where they want to work. In addition, they’d like the opportunity to educate people about careers in the gaming industry.
“We’d like to offer events where we can talk to students and parents about what we’re doing,” Yong said. “We can help them make the connection.”
As the women noted, there are still a lot of misconceptions about careers in the gaming industry and the skills they are learning at Becker College.
“We tell them we’re going into game development and they’re like, ‘You’re going to play games?’” Tibets said. “But the truth is that the skills we are learning here are super transferable.”
“All the skills that we’re learning can apply to other jobs,” Yong added.
Members of the Becker College faculty credit Yong and Tibets for positive impact their efforts have had on their fellow students and the College.
“The founders of the Women in Games Club have committed an enormous amount of time, energy, and passion to create an organization that not only supports and inspires, but transforms and elevates the entire climate of our program,” said Terrasa Ulm, who is an associate professor of Design, Management & Criminal Justice. “They have completely blown me away with their contributions to our Becker community.”
Yong and Tibets noted that, in addition to all of the support they are receiving from the Becker Community, they’ve learned that there are many people in the gaming industry who really understand where they are coming from and genuinely want them to succeed.
“We’ve found that lots of people want to help us because they were once in our position,” Tibets said.
“It’s been really great,” Yong said. “It’s worked out a lot better than I thought it would.”
For more information about the Women in Games Club, contact Brandon Frencic, Senior Assistant Director for Becker College’s Center for Career Education and Advising at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Becker College’s ranked Interactive Media Design programs and program in Content Creation & Emerging Media, go to https://www.becker.edu/academic/academic-programs/design-technology/