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23January

Donor Spotlight: FlowPlay

Today we are saying a special thank you to an amazing new donor, FlowPlay, Inc. This holiday season, Seattle-based gaming company FlowPlay ran a promotion that raised money to fund Girlstart’s Summer Camp in Bellevue, Washington, this summer! Their donation is making this week of Camp possible, and helping Girlstart bring great STEM programming to more girls in 2015!


Tell us a little about FlowPlay, Inc.

Derrick Morton, CEO of FlowPlay:

FlowPlay is a developer of virtual environments and game technologies – making immersive worlds and massive multiplayer online (MMO) games including the flagship social casino title, Vegas World. FlowPlay's first game, ourWorld, is played by over 35 million players and is one of the most popular teen virtual worlds. ourWorld was created to fill the void of games targeted toward pre-teens and teens – more specifically young girls who have traditionally lacked games created for them. Through ourWorld, FlowPlay helps fuel a passion for gaming and tech in general, which is imperative to showing girls at a young age that technology can be fun and spans a broad range of possibilities.

Why did FlowPlay decide to invest in STEM education for girls? 

While women represent half of the US workforce, they fill just over one quarter of tech jobs. That percentage is even smaller in the game development industry, where women make up just 22% of the workforce. The industry-wide gap is especially obvious at FlowPlay where we create casual games that are designed specifically for women, yet there’s a consistent lack of females within the hiring pool available to bring onboard and help make our games great.

We are excited to work with Girlstart because the organization’s mission to inspire girls’ interests in STEM aligns so well with our goals for ourWorld. Girlstart reaches young girls at a critical age – during middle school when 74% of girls express interest in STEM. Studies, however, show that it’s during 6th-8th grade when girls begin to lost interest in STEM. By the time they select a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science. We look forward to doing our part to improve these statistics and potentially bring more females into the world of game development.

What advice would you give to girls who are interested in STEM careers?

Learn to code. Code is the building block of technology and the world that surrounds us today, so there’s nothing more fundamental or critical than learning a programming language when pursuing a career in tech and STEM in general. Coding skills are highly sought after and look great on any résumé, no matter what position you’re going after. And with 123 million STEM field jobs expected to be in demand by the year 2020, it’s more important than ever that girls are prepared to fill those positions.

Anything else you'd like to add? 

There’s such an assumption that girls aren’t good at the fundamental skills of science, technology, engineering, and math – but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. As a father of a 15 year old girl, I see these assumptions every day. It’s a battle for women of all ages and backgrounds to combat the stigma surrounding girls in STEM – making it especially important to be aware of how we all talk, act, and ultimately influence the young girls in our lives when it comes to their capabilities and interests in STEM.     

Thank you, FlowPlay!

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