Areas of Focus

The GAMES initiative seeks to encourage more young girls to choose to pursue STEM careers, using the gaming medium. This national initiative, founded by Northeastern University, the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), and the Institute of Systems Biology (ISB), is comprised of five working groups of volunteers:

research-group Research/Assessment

gamers-working-group Gamers

funders-working-group Funders

networkers-working-group Networkers

girls-experience Girls + Gender Advocacy

These working groups will help brainstorm, vet alternative strategies, and then execute on the implementation steps for the initiative. If you want to join one of these groups, or otherwise help, click here.

Research/Assessment

GAMES isn’t simply a program for middle school girls—it’s a program designed by them. We are engaging and involving girls at every stage of the development process in order to get their input on plots, characters, graphics, platforms, and more. Such research and development will help GAMES succeed where other programs have stumbled.

research-group Research/Assessment Working Group 

We have 43 volunteers in this group, which is headed up by Dana Riley-Black (ISB) and Dr. Magy Seif El-Nasr (Northeastern). This group will play the key role in getting the GAMES process started. We are finalizing the key research questions we need to answer in several areas. This will include both a literature survey and analysis for issues we want to know before we commence the Game Jam process, as well as the research and measurement tools needed for the longitudinal analysis of what happens over time with the girls who play the games we develop. We will be asking gaming companies to share existing research data that can inform this effort.

We have developed basic project assumptions that we need to test and vet with the working group. We plan to get started before the end of the year with the literature survey. The objective of this group and research will be to develop the basic game protocols, which inform the Game Jam process.

Gamers

A great game isn’t just about great graphics—it’s about how it captures the player’s attention and imagination. The goal of GAMES is to do just that. We’ve reached out to video game industry experts and young women across the country to explore how we can produce games that are not only educational but are downright fun.

gamers-working-group Gamers Working Group

We have 37 volunteers who have offered to help the Game Jam and game-development process. This group is headed up by John Williamson, Seattle independent game producer, and Jay Laird (Northeastern), both of whom have extensive experience in Game Jam, design, and production. This group will get started right away in brainstorming a series of key threshold questions, including Game Jam options, delivery program, vetting of good ides, and how we approach subsequent phases.

Funders

In order for GAMES to make the most dramatic impact, we aim to make the video games developed through the program available to everyone at no cost. But to accomplish this will require significant and sustained support from foundations and philanthropic organizations. To pledge your support, click here.

funders-working-group Funders Working Group

Headed up by experienced gaming business executive Gail DeGulio, this group of 21 volunteers will get to work immediately in developing strategies to fund the initial work and staffing needed to get GAMES underway. The group will then identify various sources for funding the subsequent phases of the initiative, and commence executing on these fundraising strategies. Included in this is a NSF grant application, which will be submitted by January 2014. We will also pursue opportunities to get corporate, individual, philanthropic, and foundation support for GAMES.

Networkers

We can’t do this alone. To build video games that truly educate, engage, and inspire girls will require a broad base of support. That’s why we’re building a network of professionals and like-minded organizations to help develop, distribute, and promote both the games and the mission.

networkers-working-group Networkers Working Group

Headed up by Tayloe Washburn (Northeastern), the 61 networkers will help us build the network of key stakeholders, volunteers, partners and interested people, companies, and groups around the nation that want to support this initiative in one or more ways. A strong national GAMES network will serve as a terrific foundation for moving forward on GAMES and related initiatives for girls and STEM.

Girls + Gender Identity

Throughout the initiative, it is important that we monitor the authenticity of engagement as well as the integration about what we know about girls and STEM to insure the initiative is successful.

girls-experience Girls + Gender Identity Group

Led by Karen Peterson, Principal Investigator of National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), this group monitors and assures the authenticity of girls’ engagement throughout the GAMES initiative, including the integration and application of what is known about girls and STEM, gender practices, and research throughout the activities of all four other groups. Group members will include girls from a wide range of backgrounds and geographic locations, advocates, and educators working with girls in both formal and informal environments.