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Social mobile game publisher Zynga announced it has partnered with North Carolina A&T State University, the largest Historically Black College or University (HBCU), to help expand gaming development through Zynga’s Social Impact Fund.

As part of the partnership, Zynga will grant the university’s college of engineering a total of $1.4 million over a four-year period to create the Zynga Scholars program. Zynga scholars will receive support to strengthen their gaming development competencies throughout their undergraduate education.

Skills and education courses will include introductions to game design, cyber security, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, dynamic data structures, databases, and efficient algorithms. Each year of the program, students will showcase their progress by presenting their projects and skill developments to College of Engineering faculty and university administrators, as well as to Zynga mentors and employees.

Above: Portrait and lifestyle shoot at Zynga’s headquarters, San Francisco, CA, April 24-25, 2019. Pictured: a large group meeting with employees and their dogs.

Frank Gibeau, CEO of Zynga, started a $25 million fund last year for social impact causes in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a statement, he said the company is honored to partner with North Carolina AT&T State University’s college of engineering and to empower future Black representation in the game industry.

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Robin Coger, dean of the College of Engineering and a professor of mechanical engineering at North Carolina A&T State University, said in a statement that the Zynga Scholars program will further advance current undergraduate studies leveraging programming and artificial intelligence for gaming projects and help create a more equitable society.

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