The IGDA Foundation Names Cierra Mcdonald Winner of The 2019 Jerry A. Lawson Award

The IGDA Foundation announced the first recipient of the Jerry A. Lawson Award for Achievement in Game Development this morning.  Let me know if you would like to speak with someone from the IGDA or our winner Cierra McDonald.

Cierra McDonald(right)in an Interview

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MARCH 20, 2019 – The International Game Developer Association Foundation today announced that Cierra McDonald has been awarded the 2019 Jerry A. Lawson Award for Achievement in Game Development.

Cierra McDonald is a Senior Program Manager with Xbox’s Advanced Technology Group, where she serves as the game developer education program director. Originally from the south side of Chicago, she has been on Team Xbox for over 10 years and recently celebrated 15 years at Microsoft. Cierra is the founder and co-lead for the Blacks at Xbox employee community. And she’s proud to share that she finally crossed 100,000 Gamerscore at the end of 2018.

“Cierra is an outstanding example of the innovation, creativity and activism that the best in our industry bring to their craft every day,” said Jen MacLean, Managing Director of The IGDA Foundation. “We are proud of Cierra’s accomplishments and the impact she has made in the global game developer community, and are thrilled to award her the 2019 Jerry A. Lawson Award.”

Jerry A. Lawson

Born in 1940, Jerry Lawson pioneered home video gaming in the 1970s by helping create the Fairchild Channel F, the first home video game system with interchangeable games. A New York native, Lawson is one of the few African-American engineers who worked in computing at the dawn of the video game era.

The Jerry A. Lawson Award for Achievement in Game Development highlights the accomplishments of a person who identifies as an under-represented minority in the game development community, with a specific recognition of work directly related to game development. By highlighting advancements in the industry and products we love, the IGDA Foundation hopes to raise awareness of the many people who have made an important contribution to game development in the industry’s history.

Fairchild Channel F, the first home video game system with interchangeable games


About the IGDA Foundation

The IGDA Foundation focuses on improving the lives of game developers by making game development a more diverse and inclusive community.  We want every person on the planet to love playing games, and we think the best way to make that happen is to have a game development community that is inclusive of, and welcoming to, every person who wants to make games.  We believe that diversity of all kinds in game development leads to better and more successful products and companies, and happier and more successful game developers.

Participants in our programs are selected both for their excellence as individuals and for the promotion of a more diverse and inclusive community.  We value diversity of all kinds, including gender, race, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, country of residence, age, and life experiences.  We’ve designed our programs to be as welcoming to participants as possible, with attention to features like a travel stipend to make the program experiences accessible regardless of economic status.

The IGDA Foundation is a public charity, registered as a 501(c)3 organization in the United States.  For more information, please visit


Adam Mersky

Managing Partner

The Amplifier Group

+1 (617) 285-2556

Skype: adam.mersky

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