UNCF and EA Madden Scholars Aiming to Take Gaming Industry to Next Level
On March 23, 2023, more than 20 students who received EA Madden scholarships went to Electronic Arts (EA) Orlando for a full day of behind-the-scenes action, showcasing how the EA SPORTS team builds some of the most popular games in the world, celebrating the students and highlighting the many opportunities available to them.
The inaugural class of 24 student scholars came from 12 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including UNCF-member institutions Clark Atlanta University and Tuskegee University to tour EA SPORTS. Other student scholars joining the tour came from Florida A&M University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T State University, Morgan State University and Southern University and A&M College.
At the welcome presentation, Daryl Holt, senior vice president and general manager, EA SPORTS, shared his own unique career path at EA, offering many insights to the group. Later on, Seann Graddy, vice president, and Julie Foster, vice president, Brand, EA SPORTS, also joined the students to share how EA games like Madden NFL 23, EA SPORTS™ PGA TOUR™, EA SPORTS College Football, and others get designed, built and enhanced for players around the world.
The EA Madden Scholarships celebrate Coach Madden and his legendary career in sports and entertainment and are a key part of Electronic Arts’ $5 million John Madden Legacy Commitment to Education. John Madden’s son, Mike Madden, even surprised the students with a personal welcome video that underscored how proud he and the entire Madden family were of the students and underscored his family’s lifelong dedication to learning.
Madden Championship series analyst @OneGreatUser also joined in the day’s activities and helped share his excitement for the game with all the students. In addition to building popular TikTok and Twitch followings, @OneGreatUser has climbed the Madden ranks over the years, including capturing the Panthers Club Championship at EA headquarters in Redwood Shores, CA, in Madden 20.
One of the day’s memorable highlights was a personal guided tour of the Broadcast Studio, Motion Capture (MoCap) Studio and Art Lab at EA Orlando. The world-class creative facilities help EA game developers to build unique and intensely realistic in-game experiences. EA’s Black Employee Resource Group, BEAT, also entertained the students through an inspirational session that culminated with an impromptu jam to “The Swag Song,” which provided lots of laughs and many insightful questions.
EA SPORTS’ Orlando studio is located in the heart of downtown Orlando’s Creative Village, an urban innovation district designed to cultivate synergies between the region’s emerging digital media industry and partners in education.
EA Madden’s involvement in this initiative allows them to give back to the community and support the next generation of talented individuals in the gaming industry. By partnering with UNCF, an organization dedicated to providing access to higher education for underrepresented students, EA Madden is ensuring that deserving students, regardless of their financial circumstances, can pursue better futures.