Sony Online Entertainment has just announced their fifth annual "Gamers In Real Life" (G.I.R.L.) scholarship competition. Although the acronym has always mildly annoyed me, I think the program itself is great. Winners receive $10,000 in scholarship funds and the opportunity for a paid internship at SOE's San Diego headquarters.
While girls and women become an ever-larger percentage of the game-playing audience, gender balance among designers and developers still skews fairly heavily toward men. Many games, too, have a tendency to discount potential women players through their content and marketing. The G.I.R.L. scholarship and internship are designed to address some of these issues from the ground up:
The purpose of G.I.R.L is to positively impact the way females are depicted in video games and create and influence content to be appealing to women. Another purpose is to help raise awareness of the serious female gaming audience to the media in an effort to encourage the gaming industry to positively promote women throughout all facets of games, game production and into game management.
The program is accepting entries for the 2012 year through March 29. Current college students (graduating in Fall 2012 or later) over age 18, majoring in any program related to video game development or design, are welcome to apply.
Sony Online Entertainment Announces Fifth Annual G.I.R.L. Scholarship Program [Sony Online Entertainment]