We are a team of entrepreneurs, self-proclaimed adventurers, and non-profit leaders working together to create entrepreneurship programs for youth. Our mission? To build a global community of talented instructors so we can make entrepreneurship education available to kids all around the world.
Cristal is a scientist, entrepreneur, and mentor passionate about developing the next generation of creative leaders. With a background in engineering, technology, and science, her professional accomplishments are good fodder for advanced tongue twisters. Her passion for igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in girls led her to found VentureLab in 2013 and to write the VentureGirls book. As Chief Innovation Officer, she spreads the Entrepreneurial Learning gospel wherever she goes and encourages our team to #DreamBig. Outside of planning an education revolution, she love reading, jiu jitsu, and searching for new unicorn-themed swag.
BS, Mechanical Engineering, BA, Plan II, MS, Biomedical Engineering, PhD, Biomedical Engineering University of Texas, Austin
Drew is the jack-of-all-marketing-trades and digital expert at VentureLab. She has a passion for the non-profit world and a love for geeking out to marketing tools and data. (If there's a question the team is stumped by, she's already Googling the answer.) When she's not helping spread entrepreneurial mindsets, Drew is an avid Dungeons & Dragons player and aspiring gardener.
BS, Communication, Florida Institute of Technology
Itzel is an immigrant from Mexico and has spent the majority of her professional career empowering and making opportunities for girls and women. She is an emerging leader in the community and is respected by her professional peers as an expert in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for girls in particular. Itzel has presented at multiple state and national conferences promoting opportunities for girls in STEM and is passionate about strengthening the pipeline of girls, and especially Latinas, in the U.S. and beyond. In 2019, Itzel was selected as one of National AfterSchool Association Convention (NAA) Next Generation of AfterSchool Leaders and is a graduate of Emerge Leadership Austin. As VentureLab’s Program Manager, Itzel supports the development and management of VentureLab’s programs to bring youth entrepreneurship education across the globe.
BA, Urban Studies and Geography, University of Texas at Austin; MBA candidate at Concordia University Texas
Julie is an innovator in the informal education space and a recognized leader in STEM education. She brings over 20 years experience managing nationally recognized informal STEM programs for girls, parents and educators across the nation and is passionate about engaging kids as creative problem solvers in a world filled with so many challenges. Julie graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelors in Biology and is a recipient of the “Austin Under 40” Award for leadership in Youth and Education. Previously, Julie was at Girlstart, a national leader in STEM education for girls, where she created Girlstart’s brand and method for engaging girls in STEM.
BA, Biology, University of Texas at Austin
Karen brings over 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in a variety of roles giving her a unique perspective of the complex issues they face. As Director of Philanthropy for VentureLab, Karen will utilize her expertise in relationship-based fundraising and strategic planning to meet and exceed VentureLab’s philanthropic goals. Her passion for building strong and meaningful partnerships will help produce successful major gifts, grants, sponsorships, and events. Previously Karen worked as Associate Director of Development at the University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geoscience raising support for students and programs in Geological Studies including a k-12 outreach program called GeoForce designed to increase the diversity of students pursuing STEM degrees and careers, especially in geology.
BS, Education with a specialization in life sciences, University of Texas at Austin
Scott is a lifelong learner and construction major turned educator. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a BS in Construction Science in the College of Architecture. He spent 3 years with PeaceCorps Panama before returning to the states to pursue a career as a bilingual educator. He has taught in rural and urban school districts to a population of diverse students. While teaching in public schools, Scott also led STEAM based summer camps, held community language classes, mentored university students, and delivered professional development to parents, community members, and other educators.
BS, Construction Science, Texas A&M