@Rhia_a, 19 – FUNDED

“In my experience, asking questions has led to so many open doors — so, I definitely recommend the same to other aspiring women in gaming!” says Melody, a JBL Quantum Grant winner. Her passion for game design is only matched by her drive to also support other women in this space! You can find Melody as @Rhia_a on Instagram and Itch.io.

What is your dream in gaming and/or esports? 

My dream is to create games that help make the world a better place by targeting education, social justice, mental health, climate change, and inclusion.

How will this award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? 

This award will help pay for my tuition at the University of Texas at Austin, where I’m studying various aspects of game development that will get me one step closer to achieving my dreams and goals! Thank you so much, 1,000 Dreams Fund!

What does being a 1,000 Dreams Fund – JBL Quantum Grant recipient mean to you? 

I’m extremely humbled and grateful for this opportunity! I feel as though I am on the right path toward helping people through games and that all the hours that I’ve spent working on my craft are validated. Being a recipient also means that I have even more responsibility to promote and uplift any other women aspiring to enter or continue in the gaming or esports industry. With confidence, I will do just that to the best of my ability!

Women are underrepresented in gaming and esports. What can we do to change this? 

I believe the key to shifting this imbalance is simply investing more into women. For example, creating more opportunities (like this one), more mentorships, more media representation, more funding, and more workshops will undoubtedly provide support for any woman, young or old, to not only enter, but thrive in the gaming and esports industries. At the end of the day, women can and will get out there and show the world how powerful and influential they are. The change starts with us because, together, we can focus on shifting the narrative and showcasing how women belong in any industry, especially gaming and esports!

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way? 

I’ve faced financial challenges with my school tuition and the technology and software that is required for my major. Tuition alone is a terrifying number, but I believe it is a necessary cost in order to get the instruction I need to help educate myself and others in the future.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the gaming or esports industry? 

If you are passionate or curious about something, pursue it and never be apologetic about your interests. Speaking from the lens of a game developer, go put in the work to grow into the artist, programmer, or designer you want to be. If you want to learn about video game development, there are many (free) tools and resources available for that.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals? 

First and foremost, good physical and mental self-care is crucial to successfully stay on task. Second, I truly am passionate about helping people through game design. So, for me, there’s this intrinsic motivation that keeps me focused on wanting to improve and be better personally and scholastically! I love what I do 🙂