Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) today announced that Erin Loelius of Manasquan, N.J., has been named the winner of the 2014 Gamers in Real Life (G.I.R.L.) Scholarship. The scholarship program, currently in its seventh year, was established to encourage women to pursue careers in the video game industry in areas of development and design.
A student at California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, Calif.) and an avid gamer who has always found video game art to be a source for inspiration, Loelius has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship to use for her college tuition and other educational expenses. In addition, she will spend 10 weeks on a paid internship at SOE’s headquarters in San Diego this summer. During her internship, Loelius will work on two of SOE’s most anticipated titles, Landmark™ and EverQuest Next™, working alongside Rosie Rappaport, current senior art director for both titles and original art director for the classic EverQuest.
“I grew up playing games, so inspiration from video games has always found a way into my art, and that’s what makes this internship opportunity so amazing and fitting,” said 2014 G.I.R.L. winner Erin Loelius. “Someday I hope to collaborate on games with the same quirkiness and whimsy of games I grew up on. I’d love to create something that pushes people’s imaginations and makes them remember their gaming childhood.”
As part of the G.I.R.L. competition, finalists were asked to submit two pieces of original concept art inspired by either PlanetSide 2® or the EverQuest®franchise, and an essay discussing their views on women in the gaming industry. The submission was reviewed by a panel of judges and game art/development executives from Sony Online Entertainment. Loelius’s winning art entry was inspired by the characters and environments in the EverQuest franchise.
“SOE has prided itself on being a major catalyst of women’s involvement in our industry,” said Laura Naviaux, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, Sony Online Entertainment. “As our company continues to evolve and diversify our portfolio, we’ve found it imperative to refine our approach with game art and development, seeking out varied perspectives from the current and future leading voices in the industry. The market for compelling and original online game experiences is rapidly evolving and as a publisher it is our responsibility to listen and celebrate the spectrum of play styles among our global community, and deliver innovation in art, design and technology.”
“Erin’s submission was best in class and we’re very excited to have her intern with the Landmark and EverQuest Next team this summer, working alongside Senior Art Director Rosie Rappaport,” said Joe Shoopack, Director of Artistic Development, Sony Online Entertainment. “It’s rewarding to see the SOE G.I.R.L. scholarship continue to help students achieve their career goals, and add their perspectives to the industry.”
Since its beginnings in 2008, the G.I.R.L. program has seen an exponential growth in the number of entries each year. The G.I.R.L. submission phase closed on March 19, 2014.
For more information about G.I.R.L., please visit www.girl.soe.com.