EVENT: Female industry leaders and academics will take part in a panel discussion at the University of California, Irvine on women in gaming, with an emphasis on eSports and other competitions. The panelists, including prominent professional and club players and designers, will examine gaming’s cultural dynamics and how women can better be encouraged to pursue it as a career or sport.

WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, Feb. 2, at 6 p.m. in the Crystal Cove Auditorium at UCI’s Student Center (bldg. 113, grid E8 on campus map), followed by a VIP reception at 7:30 p.m. in UCI’s eSports arena, also at the Student Center.

INFORMATION: The panel discussion is free and open to the public. The VIP reception is by invitation. Media planning to attend either event should contact Matt Miller at 949-824-1562 or 714-317-8771. Parking is complimentary for media who RSVP in advance.

HIGHLIGHTS:     

6-7:15 p.m.: Discussion and Q&A moderated by UCI informatics doctoral student Amanda Cullen, featuring:

  • Rumay “Hafu” Wang – renowned professional competitor and champion, now a Twitch streamer with 400,000 followers and 49 million views
  • Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico – eSports host, Twitch streamer and former professional gamer
  • Heidi McDonald – creative director at iThrive and game designer
  • Kathy Chiang ’16 – UCI eSports arena coordinator, co-founder of one of the world’s largest video game clubs and computer game science alumna
  • Lena Uszkoreit – University of Southern California doctoral student who studies the effect of female streamers on the perception of female competitors                                

7:30 p.m.: VIP reception allowing guests to play games in UCI’s new eSports arena while networking with the panelists, faculty and industry professionals

BACKGROUND: Amateur and pro female video gamers have faced tough odds, harassment and threats, including Gamergate. Yet equal numbers of women and men now play online games. As collegiate and professional eSports teams expand and viewership skyrockets globally, players and academics say it’s critical to break down gender barriers. The question is how.

“This conversation is meant to inspire young women to pursue gaming as a hobby and as a career and to generate action that encourages and supports inclusive gaming on campus and beyond,” said panel moderator Cullen, who researches fan activity.

The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Informatics at the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences, UCI eSports and the Women’s Empowerment Initiative, in partnership with AnyKey.

For more details, visit http://www.informatics.uci.edu/home/women-in-gaming.

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