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I Have Decided to Become a Role Model
by Emily Thomforde on 07/17/13 12:18:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


We bemoan the lack of women in games, in engineering, in the sciences.  It is conventional internet wisdom that young women and girls need to see positive female role models in order to inspire them to enter male-dominated industries and succeed.  Well, I'm stepping up.  I'm a woman in games; I'll be one of those role models.

This completely goes against all of my instincts for modesty, deference, and living quietly. But if I want to help others shine, I've got to do some shining myself. I'm going to break my own rules and brag about myself.  I'm going to put a picture of my face on the internet. I'm not asking young people to look up to me; I am striving to be someone worthy of looking up to. Here goes:


I'm Dr. Emily J. Thomforde.

  • I invented Chart Inference and it earned me a PhD.
  • I make my own software and my own dresses.
  • I made a game that people all over the world are playing. 
  • I dance and I teach dance.
  • I use math every day, whether in sewing or baking or art or algorithms.
  • I resist societal pressure to drink alcohol or wear makeup.
  • I serve my community without expectation of reward.
  • I love science because it doesn't always produce answers, but always produces more questions.

So instead of lamenting the lack of female role models in the game industry, I have done something about it. There is one more now. After this gets around the internet, maybe there will be even more.

This is my call to arms. To women, to gays, to people of colour, to the differently abled, to all who are underrepresented: Put yourselves out there. Brag about your accomplishments. Have opinions. Be present. Be visible. We can all be role models together.

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Jonathan Jennings
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Great article Emily hopefully your example spreads to others as well !

Alessandro Ricci
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Although my being in the game industry can only worsen things (I'm in the majority in most senses!), I support your efforts. Kudos! (and impressive summary of accomplishments).

Katy Smith
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"This completely goes against all of my instincts for modesty, deference, and living quietly." Ugh, this is so me as well. Congrats for doing something to make things better! Good luck!