Agnes Navaratne, game changer

Creating paths to possibility

“One day, I will make video games in a male-dominated industry!” This statement from Agnes Navaratne is one we have no trouble believing. This witty, musical, and promising STEM wiz is a queer activist with bold dreams of establishing her own game development company.

Agnes immigrated to the United States with her family when she was just four. Her parents, who are both art teachers, were able to secure their move with an E2 visa. However, under the terms of this program, Agnes, as a dependent, would be required to leave the country upon turning 21. The twist? She could stay with her parents in the only place she knows as home if she managed to enroll in college full-time. The challenge? Her visa status makes Agnes ineligible for federal financial aid and work authorization. Fortunately, Stonewall was able to help with a solution.

In 2016, Agnes applied for and was awarded a Traub-Dicker Rainbow Scholarship. The scholarship, founded by Stonewall donor, Phyllis Dicker, and her late wife, Peggy Traub, supports LGBTQ women in their pursuit of higher education. Especially those that take academic achievement and community service seriously. Agnes, who has done everything from serving as treasurer of her high school GSA to raising money for local homeless shelters, fit the bill.

With her Stonewall Scholarship, Agnes is pursuing a possibility unique to her, but one that she hopes will inspire other women. She is currently in her second year of school, working towards a Bachelor’s of Innovation in Game Design and Development at the University of Northern Colorado.

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