Northeastern University – Seattle to host national interactive event building a game for girls to close the gender gap in STEM


Northeastern  University – Seattle to host national interactive event building a game for girls to close the gender gap in STEM 

100+ leaders in tech, games, education and research don their wizard caps to come together Friday, June 28 to kick off GAMES (Girls Advancing in Math Engineering and Science)

Seattle, Wash – June 26, 2013 – What do wizards, academics, non-profits and modern tech gurus have in common? This Friday, June 28 from noon-2pm leaders in game development, education and research will come together at Northeastern University’s South Lake Union campus to take part in an interactive game-based event. This event will formalize a collaborative group to eventually develop a game that engages young girls in STEM.

The event is cohosted by the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) – a non-profit working with a practitioner network serving more than 7 million girls. NGCP shares sponsorship with the Institute of Systems Biology (ISB). The event also includes groups at Northeastern’s Boston and Charlotte campuses who are joining by video.

Research shows that only 14.5 percent of girls show an interest in STEM at the critical ages between 4th and 8th grade. In most fields, men and women have closed the gap. But in STEM careers, women only represent 25 percent of the workforce. At the same time, 80 percent of the unfilled jobs in our region are in STEM.

“We’ve seen the research,” explained Northeastern Seattle’s Dean, Tayloe Washburn. “We know games are a powerful tool for reaching kids. We have a lot to learn from past efforts to make educational games that teach STEM. With a collaborative community process involving a wide range of expertise in many fields, we are flipping our focus so that we will end up with an entertaining must-have game or games all will enjoy, but that happens to capture girls’ imagination in STEM and pursuing a career in STEM fields.”

Karen Peterson, Principal Investigator, NGCP and CEO, EdLab Group, represents one of the first groups to join the G.A.M.E.S initiative. She shares Washburn’s enthusiasm:

“G.A.M.E.S. is a unique opportunity to activate the strategies we know appeal to girls, such as creating solutions to real world problems within collaborative, fun and flexible environments,” Peterson noted. “Bringing these innovative partners together adds a very powerful tool to the other valuable work occurring across the United States.”

Borrowing from game terminology, the June 28 event represents the first level of a six-level process that is expected to take a few years. The process aims to deliver a highly popular, entertaining and effective game for girls who generally engage with games differently than boys.

At this first level, participants are challenged to collect “players” who are Researchers, Networkers, Gamers and Fundraisers. In a highly interactive, fun and energetic environment, attendees will each be given tokens used to identify themselves and their interests in developing the G.A.M.E.S. project.

The event will also feature speakers from Northeastern University, STEM leaders, “girl-serving” advocacy groups and leading game companies.

“We’ve seen efforts to create games like this struggle in the past,” added Washburn, “and we want to learn from those efforts using a collaborative model that engages the passions of our community strengths across the country to create a solution that can be applied nationally.”

The event will also feature a hashtag for live tweeting for those attending and those participating virtually at #Games4STEM. Those interested are also encouraged to visit the dedicated page on Northeastern’s website for more information:

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About Northeastern University
Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a leader in worldwide experiential learning and interdisciplinary research that focuses on global challenges in health, security, and sustainability. Northeastern offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in seven colleges, the D’Amore-McKim School of Business and the School of Law, as well as select advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle.

The Northeastern University–Seattle graduate campus delivers industry-aligned degrees to meet the needs of the regions’ high-profile business sectors. Graduate degrees ranging from cyber security and computer science to health informatics, leadership, and engineering, are delivered through an innovative hybrid educational model (on-line and on campus) to offer working professionals the flexibility they need to advance their careers.

For more information about Northeastern University–Seattle, visit

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Andrew Rota
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