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Central Washington University

CWU Game On! Receives INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine’s 2019 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award

Thursday, August 15, 2019

INSIGHT Into Diversity Award LogoCentral Washington University’s Game On! program has received the 2019 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

CWU Game On! will be featured, along with 49 other recipients, in the September 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. 

Inspiring Programs in STEM Award winners were selected based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives.  

“The success of CWU Game On! is credited to the program’s partnership with the Real Madrid Foundation, Microsoft, and CWU—the only partnership of its kind,” said Josh Hibbard, interim vice president for strategic enrollment management. “It’s rewarding to have our efforts recognized internationally, but the real reward is seeing the difference this program is making in the lives of our middle school and high school student participants.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Game On! because of its intentional model that teaches and mentors underrepresented middle- and high-school students in computer coding while providing them a pipeline to higher education. A call for award nominations was sent out in April, and the winners were announced this week.

“We know that many STEM programs are not always recognized for their success, dedication, and mentorship for underrepresented students,” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We want to honor the schools and organizations that have created programs that inspire and encourage young people who may currently be in—or are interested in a future career in—STEM. We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond.”

Since Game On! was founded three years ago, the program has successfully increased student participation while narrowing the gender gap. During the 2016-17 academic year, Game On! served 119 students, 32 percent of whom were female. Student participation grew to 515 in 2018-19, with young women representing 49 percent—almost leveling the gender gap. 

“CWU recognizes the potential of this after-school program that re-engages students into academics utilizing soccer and coding curriculum,” said Manuel Rodriguez, the executive director of Game On! who is responsible for the day-to-day success of the program. “We are passionate about Game On! because we know it creates a sense of belonging and promotes academic success, while also building stronger pathways to higher education.”   

Each partner shares its specialty to create a winning team. Teachers and staff from participating schools are trained on how to properly deliver the social sports methodology from Real Madrid Foundation coaches, and how to implement computer literacy and coding curriculum from Microsoft. CWU coordinates campus visits and career exploration opportunities to ensure each student participant understands the importance of a college education.

“We aim to serve underrepresented middle- and high school students from economically disadvantaged communities in Washington state,” Hibbard said. “We are dedicated to growing Game On! to support high school completion and stronger pathways to college, particularly in the STEM fields.” 

Game On! Student Participants on CWU Campus

Learn more about CWU Game On! and its one-of-a-kind partnership with the Real Madrid Foundation of Spain, Microsoft, and Central Washington University.

For more information about the 2019 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award and INSIGHT Into Diversitymagazine, visit

About INSIGHT Into Diversity  
INSIGHT Into Diversitymagazine is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today and is known for its annualINSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award that recognizes colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. INSIGHT Into Diversitymagazine presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion in higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as explorations of best practices and profiles of exemplary programs. In our Career Center, readers will also discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversitymagazine are available online at

Media contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1484,

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