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Feminspire Project Earns Hope Thoms World Changer Recognition

Academic Background and Future Plans

Hope Thoms, a Game Design major with an associate's degree in Game Programming, has been awarded the prestigious World Changer Award at the recent Student Innovation Project (SIP) Presentation. Set to graduate in August 2024, Thoms hails from Ridgecrest, California. After graduation, she plans to stay in Arizona for a while, hoping to work for TSA at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This role is a strategic move for Thoms, providing her with the opportunity to eventually pursue game studio opportunities on the East Coast.

Significance of the Award

Winning the World Changer Award is a significant milestone for Thoms. Reflecting on her journey, she shared, "It means a lot to me. When I took the first SIP class, I had no idea what I was going to do and was kind of intimidated by SIP. Now, just two semesters later, I have a project I am incredibly proud of. Winning this award has furthered my plans to pursue this project after graduating, which I had very little intention of doing when I finished the first SIP class."

Journey to UAT

Thoms’s path to the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) was serendipitous. After graduating high school in 2020 at the age of 16 with plans to study Marine Biology at the University of California San Diego, her trajectory changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the cancellation of a summer internship at Scripps Aquarium. She found herself working at a restaurant and indulging in her passion for video games. One night, while playing Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, she realized that she wanted to pursue gaming as a career. After discovering UAT through a Game Informer magazine ad, she applied and received the Innovator Scholarship, which expedited her start date to Spring 2022.

Memorable Moments and Influences

During her time at UAT, Thoms has had many memorable moments, the most notable being when she wore a suit of armor in Dr. Daniel Pike's Worldbuilding class. She credits several individuals for their influence and support, including Michele, who helped her enroll, Dr. Pike, who referred her to the honors program, her friends and advisor, Tristen.

The Feminspire Project

Thoms’s award-winning SIP project, Feminspire, aims to create a supportive community for women in all STEM fields through a mobile application. The app offers three types of accounts: mentor, mentee, and social, all with access to community features. Mentors and mentees fill out applications and receive recommendations based on their interests, allowing mentees to choose their top mentors and vice versa.

Future Plans for Feminspire

Looking ahead, Thoms plans to continue developing Feminspire after graduation. While she is still deciding on the best process, her initial steps will involve creating a company and establishing a social media presence. The SIP process was not without its challenges, as Thoms admits to overcomplicating her project initially. However, with advice from her subject matter experts and Professor Valenzuela, she was able to streamline her vision and bring it to fruition.

Challenges and Rewards of the SIP Process

The SIP process presented its own set of challenges for Thoms. "I overcomplicated everything. I was really my own worst enemy when it came to creating it. I wanted to make something really big and great with every possible detail ironed out, but that just wasn’t practical," she confessed. However, once she had her scope in mind and began working on it, things fell into place with guidance from her mentors.

The most rewarding part of the SIP process for Thoms was receiving positive feedback on her project video. "I didn’t think I would have done that well on my video, but the grade and feedback gave me a lot of confidence and relief. Presenting was the easy part," she said.


Hope Thoms’s journey and her project Feminspire exemplify the spirit of innovation and perseverance, making her a deserving recipient of the World Changer Award. Her story is an inspiration to many, showcasing how passion, dedication, and support can lead to remarkable achievements.

Learn more about how Student Innovation Projects contribute to career readiness, here.