Azure Bowie-Hankins

Videogame Producer, Electronic Arts
Mills College, Class of 2007
Azure Bowie-Hankins Headshot

​​Six years after graduating from Mills College, I’m confident that Mills was the best educational choice for me. My diplomas say that I completed the BA/MBA Program, but they don’t describe the road that led me to graduation.

I arrived at Mills as a music major, but knew immediately that I would be switching my major to dance. The arts community at Mills is vibrant. I looked forward to waking up every single day, exploring the world through dance, and immersing myself in the rich history of the art form. My first two years as a dance major taught me about passion and life’s rewards when you follow it.
I’m a prime example of the benefits of a liberal arts education. In my sophomore year, I suffered an injury and had to rethink my major. The structure of Mills’ liberal arts program gave me the opportunity to take classes outside of my field, and I discovered an appreciation for economics. I was able to make a smooth transition between majors, even as I was going through an emotional time, putting aside the dreams I had strived for with dance.
I would stress here that when I pivoted from dance to business and economics, I did not sacrifice passion in my education. Some of the best advice I have ever received came from Nancy Thornborrow, professor of economics at Mills and founding dean of the college’s Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business. I was struggling to come up with ideas for internships to apply to. Nancy encouraged me to look at the hobbies that I enjoyed outside of my studies. I’d loved video games since I was a kid, but I’d always considered gaming to be just a hobby. I’d never considered that I could turn my passion for games into a career.
The following summer, I interned for Electronic Arts, working with people who had created some of my favorite games. When summer ended, I knew that the gaming industry was the industry where I wanted to build my career. Today I’m a producer on The Sims 4 team, helping to craft the next iteration of a game that I’ve loved since middle school. It’s my dream job, and I never would have ended up here if it weren’t for Mills. Mills taught me about the importance of passion, and I learned never to settle for a career path that I’m not excited about. The Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business gave me the tools to be a good producer. The courses highlight effective teamwork, one of the most valuable skillsets that I gained at Mills. I learned the importance of highlighting the strength of individuals within a team to create a harmonious and effective environment that can produce good work.
When I look back on my Mills education, I recognize the building blocks that helped to shape my life into what it is today, and it fuels my pride in being a Mills alumna.​

Azure Bowie-Hankins has worked in the video game industry for seven years on a variety of titles, including MySims and The Sims 3. She is currently a part of the production team for The Sims 4. In her spare time she likes to sing and play piano at small shows, pretending to be a rock star. She graduated from Mills College in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, then completed an MBA in 2008.​