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Wakandacon Game Jam – Learn To Code a Game from Scratch!

Learn to code a game from scratch at the Wakandacon Game Jam!

July 24-25 at Columbia College

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Presented by Blacks in Gaming and Columbia College


This two day workshop will train students to unlock their own creative potential using state of the art tool sets. Students will have the opportunity to build their own game over the course of the two days. Students will learn an introduction to the basics of coding, animation and game design using Columbia College’s state of the art game design facility.


Columbia College
Interactive Arts and Media
916 S. Wabash, Suite 101
Chicago, 60605


July 24 (Wednesday)

Game Jam from 9:00am – 4:30pm

July 25 (Thursday)

Game Jam from 9:00am – 4:30pm
Closing Speaker from 4:30pm – 5:15pm

Why a Game Jam?

Only ~5% of engineers, scientists, or designers are black. Diversity in technology becomes increasingly important as we transition from mouse interfaces, past touch interaction, and into augmented and immersive virtual reality.

Non-representation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) ultimately slants the design and development of new technology if only certain viewpoints, concerns, and needs are satisfied. If we are to avoid the mistakes of the past, it is imperative that we all have a hand in creating the worlds of the future.

Wakandacon hopes to leverage the excitement surrounding our event to amplify the efforts of our partners, and to work alongside them to create a pipeline to bring more students of color into STEAM careers.

A gaming computer


Alpha Lab
Blacks in Gaming


Carl Varnado

Carl Varnado – Blacks in Gaming

Media Arts and Film instructor, Carl Varnado, is pioneering the direction of 21st century learning in the fine arts. Holding a Multiple Subject Master of Education and a Master of Arts in Arts and Media Management, he teaches 6th-8th grade students untraditional art – animation, film, and other interactive media. In the coming school year, game design has been added to this impressive list of class offerings.

Mr. Varnado made an impact at the recent Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. As one of the GDC’s presenters, he was also there to gather best practices in order to implement game design into Rancho Solano’s STEAM curriculum.

The significance of media arts in education is clear to Mr. Varnado as he states, “Innovation in education does not come from testing. It comes from where it always came from: matching student interest with societal goals. If we want our students to be 21st century engineers, artists, and entrepreneurs, we have to create classes that train them to express those abilities. Those classes are game design, film, animation, and architecture. Rancho Solano’s media arts curriculum is designed to match each student’s desire for scientific discovery alongside his or her personal artistic vision. Comprehensive societal change happens when students are allowed to find their own path whether they are creative or systematic thinkers.”

Keisha Howard

Keisha Howard – Sugar Gamers

A native of Chicago’s South Side, Keisha has been a video game enthusiast since childhood. Her communications background and passion for business innovation led her to the Information Technology Industry, specifically social media, the video game industry and geek culture. After discovering that a considerable part of the industry’s consumer and professional demographics were not being represented, Keisha created Sugar Gamers. It began as a women’s advocacy and networking group for consumers and professionals, but eventually blossomed into an organization that advocated for all demographics who were under served or not being represented (such as minorities, and people from the LBGTQ+ community.). She has also given two Tedx Talks. She discusses her successes, losses, and the obstacles she’s overcome in countless panels, workshops, podcasts and speaking engagements, as well as interviewing other impactful individuals to help share their stories.

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