Glangchai says confidence key for young girls interested in technology


Photo by Mary Vanderbloemen

Photo by Mary Vanderbloemen
Photo by Mary Vanderbloemen

Last Monday, Trinity hosted Luz Cristal Glangchai, a guest lecturer for the Lennox seminar series. Glangchai spoke about her experience as a woman in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, and what she is doing to get more girls and women to explore these fields.

Glangchai attributes her passion for science and technology largely to her father, who she says taught her many traditionally “male” skills like fixing cars and bought her and her sisters math and science kits.

“I got into technology by learning and experimenting,” Glangchai said.

During her presentation, Glangchai emphasized the importance of instilling confidence in young girls for success in the future. She said that girls and women are often less confident and more fearful of failure than men.

“We need them to rethink failure and take risks,” Glangchai said. “Failure is part of the learning process.”

Glangchai is the founder and CEO of VentureLab, which is an academy that teaches K-12 students technology and entrepreneurship skills. VentureLab has helped 724 students, and over 60 percent of these students are female.

“We wanted to inspire girls to stand up and start up,” Glangchai said. “We teach our students to think like an entrepreneur.”

Glangchai told several success stories of girls who have used the skills learned at VentureLab to create better futures for themselves. One girl created an app that aimed to provide an incentive to exercise and received $200,000 in funding. Another is achieving things she never thought she would.

“We worked with some economically disadvantaged girls and created a safe environment for them,” Glangchai said. “Eventually one of them got a full ride to college.”

Students, professors and members of the community attended the lecture, held in Chapman Auditorium.

“It made me optimistic. I liked what she said about perseverance and her reminder that failure is okay and it shouldn’t stop you,” said senior Ismerai Monreal. “She made it seem like there is hope for women in STEM fields and her program sounded awesome.”

“I liked her information about women in technology,” said sophomore Sarah Haley. “I actually thought the gender gap was closing. It raised my awareness that the gender gap is still an issue and what’s being done about it.”

Glangchai’s lecture was the first in a series about women in science and technology. The next lecture will be at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the Fiesta Room and will feature Maria Klawe. The lecture will discuss the importance of increasing women’s involvement in tech careers.