Electronic Arts/Berklee Charting Change Scholarship Awarded

Carol Gao was named the fall 2023 scholarship recipient during a panel at the World Soundtrack Awards in Belgium.

October 24, 2023
Carol Gao

Carol Gao

Image courtesy of the artist

Carol Gao was named the recipient of the fall 2023 Electronic Arts/Berklee Charting Change Scholarship in an announcement made at the World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent, Belgium. The news was delivered by Steve Schnur, worldwide executive of music for Electronic Arts (EA), and Katie Rupinski B.M. ’23, who was awarded the inaugural scholarship last spring, during a panel on mentorship held at the event.

Gao, a native of Toronto, Canada, double majoring in game and interactive media scoring and electronic production and design, will receive $15,000 and professional mentorship opportunities with a team of world-class video game composers at EA after she graduates this spring. Gao is a pianist and member of the leadership board of Berklee's Video Game Music Club.

“Receiving this award has been so overwhelming. It’s hard to put into words how honored and grateful I am,” said Gao. “I came to Berklee after a long break from music, so making the choice to pivot back to it felt like a huge risk at the time. Now, to be given such recognition for something I’m deeply passionate about is absolutely surreal. I’m so excited and hopeful for what the future holds!”

The panel, titled "Learn by Doing: The Importance of Mentorship," took place in front of an audience of industry professionals from around the world. Alongside renowned composers Stephen Barton and Stephanie Economou, Rupinski shared her firsthand experiences learning from a team of EA composers working on the original score for the next Star Wars video game. The panel was introduced by Schnur, who presented Rupinski with the formerly named Next Gen Scholarship during EA Day at Berklee's campus in Boston last April.

“I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to talk about all EA has provided me and how they continue to support me as I step out of school and enter the industry,” said Rupinski. “I can’t overemphasize the importance of the amazing connections made during my time at the EA mentorship and how important time with mentors in the industry can be for upcoming composers. I feel extremely grateful to not just have met these amazing people in the industry and hear their wisdom but to know them as people.”

Katie Rupinski B.M. '23 at the World Soundtrack Awards

Katie Rupinski B.M. ’23 (left) speaks on a panel at the World Soundtrack Awards. 

Johannes De Bruycker

Rupinski will soon begin her role at ROTU Entertainment, an award-winning gaming and virtual art studio, where she will work as a production assistant composing upcoming projects.

“Katie Rupinski is a uniquely talented young composer whose career now has the professional momentum it deserves,” said Schnur. “I was proud to announce Katie's first professional assignment at ROTU at our World Soundtrack Awards mentorship panel. We were also thrilled to announce the program’s second scholarship recipient, Carol Gao, during the event. Our commitment to the EA/Berklee Charting Change Scholarship has only just begun.”

The EA/Berklee Charting Change Scholarship is offered to one student composer each semester who is majoring or minoring in game and interactive media scoring, and who has demonstrated support of women and non-cisgender individuals in the industry. The continuation of this partnership reflects the two institutions’ shared commitment to gender inclusion and the ongoing efforts to foster the next generation of female composers.

“Katie Rupinski is beyond deserving of the inaugural EA Charting Change scholarship. Her unyielding talent, unbridled enthusiasm, and indomitable spirit, combined with the industry experience EA and Schnur have provided, will make her unstoppable,” said Sean McMahon, chair of the Screen Scoring Department at Berklee. “It's so encouraging to see the emerging impact of the EA/Berklee partnership. We're grateful for the generosity of EA and Steve Schnur, and their commitment to change—it's making a difference and means everything.”

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The company develops and delivers games, content, and online services for internet-connected consoles, mobile devices, and personal computers.

In fiscal year 2022, EA posted GAAP net revenue of approximately $7 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for a portfolio of critically acclaimed, high-quality brands such as EA Sports, FIFA, Battlefield, Apex Legends, The Sims, Madden NFL, Need for Speed, Titanfall, Plants vs. Zombies, and F1. More information about EA is available at ea.com/news.

EA Sports, Battlefield, Need for Speed, Apex Legends, The Sims, Titanfall, and Plants vs. Zombies are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. All rights reserved. John Madden, NFL, FIFA, and F1 are the property of their respective owners and used with permission.