When it comes to cultivating the next generation of leaders in STEM, Andria Balogh isn’t taking any chances. She didn’t just start a highly successful math and science tutoring firm for students of all ages, she also founded the STEM-E Youth Career Development Program, a nonprofit that works to introduce K-12 students to entrepreneurship and career development opportunities. Andria is passionate about giving young people a full view of the career options before them and encouraging them to be innovative.
Are you from Houston?
Yes I am from Houston. I grew up in Copperfield and went to Labay Middle School and Cypress-Falls High School.
Who has inspired you most in your life and why?
My mother has been my biggest inspiration. As a strong female professional born to a poor immigrant Latino family, she educated herself when she was young, earned a full college scholarship, and worked her way up in the oil business, a highly male-dominated field, to become an invaluable, irreplaceable individual. She taught me the importance of strength, confidence, education, independence, and hard-work, reminding me at every step in my career that I could do anything I put my mind to. She gave me the passion and motivation to always do my best while inspiring me to always give back.
How do you like to get your day started? Any consistent rituals?
My morning typically involves getting mentally and physically ready for the rest of the day. My only routine includes taking 15 minutes to relax and enjoy the moment. With busy days filled with “to-dos” and little time to think, I try to take a second to myself while having breakfast and sipping on my coffee to remember to live in the moment and be grateful and thankful for the day and what I have. It truly sets me off on the right footing and allows me to be happy no matter what issues arise.
How do you approach leadership? Would you rather be liked or respected?
I approach leadership in a collaborative manner. I believe that the role of the leader is to bring a team together and enhance the strengths of the team while promoting and building each individual. As a leader, my mission is also to help the team recognize and work on our weaknesses to become better as a team and as individuals. Although I would love to be liked as a leader, I understand the greater importance of being respected for my actions and values. Luckily, I feel that I can and do have both, and I am very lucky to work with individuals at STEM-E who are as passionate as I am about our mission and vision and who are amazingly hard-working, talented, innovative, and intelligent! It is easy working with this wonderful team, and I find my role as a leader is more about providing focus, direction, and reinvigorating the team with motivation and passion towards our goals.
What motivated you to create The STEM-E Youth Career development program? Biggest success story from the program? What are the next steps? Any hurdles?
I am passionate about the STEM-E Youth Career Development Program because of the potential for great impact here in Houston and across the world. During my tutoring work at Tutoring with Andria, I recognized that many of my students lacked access to and awareness of Houston STEM programs. In addition, I saw few, if any, entrepreneurship programs that provided business training and entrepreneurship opportunities to youth that truly challenged them and pushed their limits. I also saw that students continued to feel unprepared to make career and life decisions because of their lack of understanding the wealth of STEM and business professions prior to matriculation. Finally, I came to realize that the skills I was teaching to all my students were the skills that are lacking from the workforce of the future: creativity, innovation, problem solving, and vital business skills. Thus, I developed the STEM-E Youth Career Development Program. As a start-up non-profit our biggest hurdles are those of most start-up enterprises: program awareness, financial support, and more staff. These hurdles are positive because they represent the growing success and support of our program.
How has working in Houston set you up for success?
Houston has been an amazing platform for building my professional network and thus making STEM-E a success. We have 10 professionals working at STEM-E and with our specialized network, we are able to offer access to top-notch businesses and professionals to students, parents, and teachers. We truly believe that this program would not be possible without the wonderful support of Houston and Houston professionals, programs, and companies. Houston truly allows us to educate students in a specialized way that sets them up for future success as our next generation of STEM experts, business leaders, and entrepreneurs.
What are your Houston top three? Where would we find you in your free time?
When I’m not tutoring or working with my amazing STEM-E Team, I am out karaoke singing, dancing, or studying. I am currently studying at Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business to earn my Master in Business Administration degree. For fun, I love to spend time with my family and friends at home in Jersey Village or in midtown or downtown, singing and dancing.
Follow Andria on Instagram @steme.ycdp and Twitter @steme_ycdp
The 2018 HYPE Impact Awards will be held Nov. 8. Click here for information and tickets.