RIT and AT&T offer video game development camp for underrepresented students

Free programs for middle school students begin in July; Apply by June 14

Middle school students will learn how to develop digital video games for social good at the free AT&T ROC Jr Game Dev Camp Powered by RIT, held July 22-26 and July 29-Aug. 2 at RIT.

Rochester Institute of Technology and AT&T are teaming up to host a digital game development program that addresses equality issues in technology education and helps local students impacted by the digital divide.

The AT&T ROC Jr Game Dev Camp Powered by RIT will give 40 underrepresented students in grades 4 through 6 from across the Rochester region an opportunity to gain critical digital literacy skills. Students will develop their own functional digital video games with the overarching theme of using technology for social good.

Camp participants will customize their own 2D platformer game level—building their own digital characters, adversaries, effects, environments, and sound, while integrating their customizations into the game using industry-standard digital creation tools.

Throughout the day, professors and students from RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media will help participants learn the basic technology and digital skills needed to create digital games. Additionally, game makers will be there to talk about what it’s like to have a career in game design and development. Students will tour and test state-of-the-art equipment in RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. The camp will be taught by Sten McKinzie, lecturer of interactive games and media.

“We’re working to bridge pervasive diversity gaps in the tech industry—and introducing young students in underserved communities to computing education at an early age is critical to those efforts,” said Lana Verschage, director of Diversity Initiatives at RIT’s Golisano College of Computing. “Our AT&T ROC Jr Game Dev Camp is a really impactful way to introduce these students to hands-on programming experiences that can help jumpstart engagement in tech education.”

This effort is part of the AT&T Connected Learning initiative to help address the digital divide through internet accessibility, affordability and safe adoption. AT&T is committing $5 billion to help 25 million people get and stay connected to high-speed internet by 2030.

“At AT&T, we believe everyone deserves an opportunity to make their dreams a reality. And we have been working to help bring the right technology and programs to the right places,” said John Emra, President of AT&T Atlantic Region. “This collaboration with RIT gives students the knowledge, skills, and confidence to thrive in the digital world and to explore the diverse career paths emerging in the gaming industry. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with RIT on this fun and impactful program and look forward to seeing what these kids come up with.”

Program details

  • When: The first session is July 22–26. The second session is July 29–Aug. 2. Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
  • What: The program is free. Lunch, snacks, and transportation are provided.
  • Where: RIT’s campus.
  • Who: The camp will host 20 students per session. The program is open to public middle school students. No previous technology experience is required. Participants may only attend one week of the camp.

How to apply

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