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Jules Porter headshot.

Social Entrepreneur, Innovator and Leader

It’s hard not to be in awe of Jules Porter, ’18 MBA. Not too long ago, Porter’s dream of starting an African-American owned and directed video game company was nonexistent.

Within a year, the joint J.D./MBA graduate student developed the idea for Seraph 7 Studios and won a combined $26k in the Fowler Business Concept Challenge and St. Thomas Business Plan Competition. The money is helping further her dreams of investing in the next gen of diverse gamers and empowering them to tell their stories through video games.

Porter has been a gamer her whole life, playing ‘Mario’ as a little kid. But she noticed a troubling trend over the decades.

“Developers have yet to address the way women are portrayed in gaming. We’re scantily clad and hyper-sexualized. It’s unrealistic. I’ve served in the Marine Corps and never gone into battle half naked. So why do we keep putting women out there like that?”

“I also looked at the way people of color are portrayed in gaming,” she continued. “We’re barely included. When we are, we’re gangsters or drug dealers. Instead of seeing ourselves as heroes, we’re the bad guys. We don’t get to be the hero, and that’s a problem.”

Through work study programs and summer camps, Seraph 7 Studios aims to increase the graduation rates and reduce the achievement gaps of students of color. This develops and uplifts local students, while increasing the cultural competency and nuanced multi-cultural understanding of players.

As if two demanding degrees and starting a company wasn’t enough, Porter volunteers for the Minnesota Justice Foundation’s Street Law program where she teaches legal topics to high school students. As part of the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services’ Community Justice Project, she’s also worked with Professor Carl Warren to design the class ‘Race, Practice and the Pursuit of Justice’.

Porter has an equally impressive background. She studied aeronautics and theology as an undergraduate and traveled the world in the Marine Corps. This 2018 graduate plans to go into intellectual property law and computer technology law. “I love artificial intelligence, block chains, cryptocurrencies – things like that,” Porter said.

Along with practicing law is to develop her video game company. Porter’s fresh ideas include a “Mortal Kombat”-type game with elders duking it out; a game based on the biblical war in heaven; and a game that puts you in the shoes of legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

When asked if she draws superpowers from the Wonder Woman emblem plastered across her phone case, Porter smiles. “I think so,” she laughed.