Caps Off to Game Design Academy Graduates

Second annual Demo Day brings future game makers to Zynga HQ

SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- will today host the second annual Game Design Academy Demo Day and Graduation at Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters. The demo day and celebration is part of San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and’s Game Design Academy program, which leverages students’ interest and excitement around games to teach the fundamentals of technology education and computer science and to prepare the next generation of tech industry professionals to fill the jobs of tomorrow.

“It’s amazing to see how far our Game Design Academy students have come over the last two years,” said Erin Baudo Felter, Executive Director of “From our first Zynga Game Jam where students built simple paper prototypes to today’s demos of fully developed original games, this is our partnership with SFUSD coming to life in the best way possible. These students are the future of games, and we know that this experience will allow them to move forward confidently in their own careers.”

The event recognizes this year’s 66 graduating seniors from the Game Design Academies at Balboa and Thurgood Marshall high schools. Beginning with 36 students in 2013, the program now serves more than 220 students during the 2015-2016 school year. More than 100 Zynga employees have invested nearly 800 hours supporting students through annual events like Game Jam and Career Day. Graduating students who have worked on final game projects in teams will showcase their work to an audience of teachers, administrators, parents and Zynga mentors. Zynga employees who have been involved in the students’ projects for the last two years – supporting all aspects of game development including design, prototyping and pitching – will provide feedback and next steps for the graduating students.

“The Game Design Academy is an excellent example today of hands-on learning at its best,” said SFUSD Superintendent Richard Carranza. “We value partners like who are helping to build pathways to tech and Computer Science in ways that meet students where they are, and engage them because they are learning by doing.” also announced today the launch of G:RL Game Makers. In partnership with BAVC, a San Francisco-based arts and tech nonprofit lab, G:RL Game Makers is a summer game development fellowship for Bay Area girls ages 14-18. The program challenges the next generation of game makers to develop their own concepts and learn the basics of design and coding. Female game makers from Zynga will work hand-in-hand with the girls this summer to expose students to future careers and explore themes of female empowerment and community.

About's mission is to help make the world a better place through games. has inspired more than 10 million players to contribute nearly $25 million through 200 in-game campaigns benefiting 50 nonprofit partners. These funds have supported the work of results-driven nonprofits worldwide, including partners like Direct Relief International, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity, KaBOOM!, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital,, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Food Programme.

About Zynga Inc.
Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq:ZNGA) is a leading developer of the world's most popular social games that are played by millions of monthly consumers. The company has created evergreen franchises such as FarmVille, Zynga Casino and Words With Friends. Zynga's NaturalMotion, an Oxford-based mobile game and technology developer, is the creator of hit mobile games in popular entertainment categories, including CSR Racing, CSR Classics and Clumsy Ninja. Zynga games have been played by more than 1 billion people around the world and are available on a number of global platforms including Apple iOS, Google Android, Facebook and The company is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif. Learn more about Zynga at or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Kelly Pakula
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