Earlier this month, Girls Who Code, a charitable organization dedicated to instilling a passion for computer science and engineering in young women, began their seven-week Summer Immersion Program at EA’s Redwood Shores campus.
This class of 20 high-school aged girls were immersed into EA’s culture while being taught coding languages and applications from a Girls Who Code curriculum. The EA Lab was transformed into a classroom where they could interact with employees at our most popular gathering spot: the Starbucks. The group experienced of EA’s amenities, including the café’s, shuttles and fitness center. Their classes were supplemented with EA-employee led workshops, presentations, and fieldtrips.
Throughout the seven-week curriculum, the girls were exposed to HTML, Flash, Python, data structures, and robotics. Additionally, their final project was to create an app that they presented at their graduation.
Over 100 employees from EA volunteered to talk about their roles and how they use coding to show real world application for what the girls have learned. Each girl was paired with a female mentor from various technical roles at EA to share their stories and act as role models.
The EA leadership team spoke about their personal experiences and their journeys to EA. They inspired the girls to pursue their passions and take risks Some of the speakers included Andrew Wilson, CEO, Ken Moss, CTO, Blake Jorgensen, CFO, Chris Bruzo, CMO, and Mala Singh, CPO.
Mala shared her story of growing up among brothers, being independent and travelling often. She encouraged the girls to be open to different cultures and perspectives and shun stereotypes. The group enjoyed hearing about her travels and how much they had strengthened her.
Through Andrew Wilson’s talk, he referred to the lack of fear we have as children and how important it is to retain that confidence to take leaps and not let others tell you how far you can leap.
“Being at Electronic Arts for almost 7 weeks has allowed me to realize that this is the type of environment that I really want to work in,” says Julie (pictured above at the front), who was a part of the program in 2017. “It was an eye-opening experience because I realized that in any job you go to, there’s always going to be people who support you, and who are at the same level or different level.”
250 girls have been a part of Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Programs here at EA over the past three years.
One of EA’s enhancements to the Girls Who Code curriculum was a special behind-the-scenes fieldtrip to the Sims team. Three dozen EA employees joined the fieldtrip and shared their knowledge to make the experience personal.
Samantha Ryan, Sr. Vice President of Maxis, spoke to the group to set the tone for the day. She inspired the girls to “not let people define you” and to decide your own path in life.
The girls visited each discipline on the Sims development team to learn about the elements that go into making a game.
The girls were divided into five teams of four, and paired with members of the Sims Team to design an expansion pack.
In the Game Development Circuit breakout session, there were 6 different stages:
Design, Art and Animation, Implementation, Beta to Final, Launch, and Marketing.
"We get to see a technological and business component all embedded in to one thing at The Sims, and then we get to put it to action. We get to create our own little Expansion Pack! I think it’s so cool that they’re letting us do this and see how their jobs work,” says Samantha (pictured above on the far right), who was a part of the program in 2017. “We can see whether we can envision ourselves in this position, and whether we can work here someday.”
Each team had to pitch their Expansion Pack idea to the rest of the group.
The girls finished off the day with some Sims swag!
In the Girls Who Code graduation ceremony on August 10th, the girls excitedly pitched their final projects to the entire audience.
Thanks to all the students and EA Volunteers for making this another successful Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at EA!
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