In Part 2 of her interview, Cristal Glangchai discussed the unique approach that VentureLab takes regarding STEM education, placing a heavy emphasis on art and entrepreneurship. For Glangchai, there is little doubt in her mind that this fresh methodology is the primary factor in VentureLab’s success and popularity among students and parents alike.

 

“Students have a ton of fun during our programs, we think because they get to dive into science, technology, the arts, and more, in a hands-on way instead of a traditional classroom setting,” Glangchai notes. “Sometimes, they don’t even realize that they’re learning! I think parents, in turn, are excited to see their students learning valuable skills and being exposed to cutting-edge technology in a way that’s not dry and boring. Entrepreneurship education is a new concept, but we all know that things like teamwork, creativity, and innovation are important. Our programs teach those basic skills in an engaging way, creating something that both students and parents can get excited about.”

 

Glangchai also cites VentureLab’s commitment to encouraging kids’ independence as a major component in the program’s success. By giving students the opportunity to explore their abilities and the possibilities of their own ideas, all of VentureLab’s programs truly allow kids of all ages to realize potential beyond their imagination.

 

Glangchai says that of all of VentureLab's programs, the three most popular would have to be Youth Startup, Girl Startup, and Gamer (venturelab.org)

Glangchai says that of all of VentureLab’s programs, the three most popular would have to be Youth Startup, Girl Startup, and Gamer (venturelab.org)

Despite having the same fundamental methodology behind each of VentureLab’s programs, each diverse program offers students a unique, topical approach. Of all the programs, Glangchai says without hesitation that the most popular programs would have to be Youth Startup, Girl Startup, and Gamer.

 

In Youth Startup and Girl Startup, kids come in [with] a diverse [range] of ideas they want to work on, and end up voting on the top ideas. From there, they work in teams to create prototypes, do market research, work on business models, and then pitch and sell their products. In Gamer, students learn the basics of coding and logic and learn about game design. We talk about the business of game design, discuss entrepreneurial game designers, and then each of the students goes through the entrepreneurial process to design, create, and market their games.

 

Glangchai does note, however, that even while these three courses have proven to be the most popular, there has certainly been an increasing demand for several other programs, including Musicpreneur, Filmpreneur, and Maker. She says that the plan is to meet that demand by expanding these programs into week-long courses during VentureLab’s summer camp.

 

These aren’t the only plans for expansion that Glangchai has in mind. As with any successful company or brand, there is always a value in considering long-term goals in addition to short-term, and Glangchai has certainly put some thought into the former in addition to the latter.

 

“[VentureLab is] currently based out of San Antonio, but [we] definitely plan to expand to other areas,” she says about her goal of spreading VentureLab’s mission. “Our next expansion of our camps is into Austin, Texas this summer.  Five years from now, we hope to be in multiple locations around the nation and hope to license our curriculum to be taught in schools or in after school programs across the world. Eventually, we would like to have 75 percent of all graduating students going through our programs.”

 

In the future, Glangchai hopes that VentureLab's mission and curriculum will expand on a national, if not global, level (venturelab.org)

In the future, Glangchai hopes that VentureLab’s mission and curriculum will expand on a national, if not global, level (venturelab.org)

Glangchai could not be more proud of what has already been accomplished by the VentureLab programs and how VentureLab has impacted not only students’ lives, but her own life profoundly.

 

VentureLab has been amazingly rewarding. I had never taught kids younger than 18, so it has been a fun learning experience. I love hearing all the unfiltered and creative ideas that the students come up with, and I love talking to them after the program and learning how much we were able to help them in their overall life. Teaching kids critical thinking skills, bolstering their creativity and confidence, and teaching them how to take ideas and turn them into products or companies is a fun thing to wake up to every morning. My kids have taken many of the classes and are always asking when they can go to VentureLab. [They] said something funny the other day. My daughter, Maribel, said VentureLab was like school, and then my son, Javi, said, “no, it’s not like school, we just have a lot of fun!” I thought that was awesome. He didn’t even realize he was learning, he was just having fun.

 

What’s next for Glangchai herself? We’re excited to announce that she has just been nominated the 2015 Woman of the Year in San Antonio by The San Antonio Business Journal. We could not think of a woman more deserving!

 

To learn more about VentureLab and all of their amazing programs, visit venturelab.org

 

If you are a woman working in STEM and are interested in being featured in our ‘Women Leaders in STEM’ series, shoot us an email at blog.muipr@gmail.com or tweet me @tamarahoumi