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The best experience of my life - GDC 2017

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Women@King and Campus again partnered with Diversi to sponsor a scholarship programme for 10 female talented students to attend The Game Developers’ Conference 17 in San Francisco. The scholarship aims to increase the presence of women in the video game sector by sending 10 women from the EU to GDC.

Read the experience of one of this years winner of the scholarship, Stephanie Murphy.

In November 2016, I applied for a scholarship to attend the Game Developers’ Conference 17, held in the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The annual Scholarship is funded by Diversi, an organisation working for greater diversity in the gaming industry, and King, the interactive entertainment industry behind mobile blockbusters such as ‘Candy Crush Saga’. The scholarship aims to increase the presence of women in the video game sector by sending 10 women from the EU to GDC. In January 2017, I found out that I was one of the lucky 10!

It was my first time travelling to the West Coast and my first time attending a conference of this scale. Over 20,000 attendees flooded the North, West and South halls of the convention center this year. As a student from Blarney, it was quite surreal! Each day hosted a set of tutorials, sessions and roundtables focusing on disparate aspects of the game industry: Design, A.I., Programming and Narrative to name but two. There were so many talks that appealed to me. It was hard to narrow down which ones to attend as some took place at the same time. My favourite session was: ‘Full Speed Flying in VR! The R&D Behind Eagle Flight (Presented by Autodesk)’. I learned valuable VR development lessons from Ubisoft game director, Olivier Palmieri, about creating comfortable VR experiences. The advice I received from this session proved to be useful in the development of my final year project.

The scholarship provided various networking opportunities throughout the week, from breakfasts with industry professionals to evening networking parties. Diversi provided us with the chance to talk to experienced members of the video game industry and gain valuable advice. I learned so much from these networking activities and got to connect with interesting and talented people. On that week, King hosted a Q&A with female game industry veterans at their new office in San Francisco. The panel covered a wide range of job disciplines such as programmers, producers and artists. The discussion opened my eyes to the challenges in the industry and how to overcome them.

One of my favourite aspects of the scholarship was the fact that I was attending GDC with 9 other students with a passion for video game design and development. While I study Computer Science, they studied other interesting areas such as Music, Level Design and Character Art. I learned so much from these women and I was in awe of their dedication to their craft. We all became good friends by the end of the week. I can’t wait to see what they will accomplish in the future.

I want to thank Diversi and King for one of the best experiences of my life! If this scholarship didn’t exist, I would have never had the chance to meet these amazing people and attend these inspiring, thought provoking sessions. If you are a female student who loves video games and you are interested in pursuing a career in this industry, I encourage you to apply for scholarships like this one. It is always worth a shot! Who knows, maybe you will be heading to San Fran next year!

By Stephanie Murphy

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