Meet the GCF Student Advisory Board: Spotlight on Gloria Chua!

Gloria Chua, Stanford Class of 2017.

Gloria Chua is the Board Chair of the Giving Circle Fund (GCF) Student Advisory Board and a senior at Stanford University, majoring in Product Design. Her philanthropy journey began back in Singapore when she was in 11th grade.

“At the time, the idea was that as a student, your main focus should be your academics. You don’t really engage [in social change]. I was doing a lot of research rather than actually going out into the world. I was very much in my own little bubble … I think at some point, I realized: ‘I don’t think that’s how the world works.’”

When a couple of upperclassmen invited her to join their new nonprofit, Open Lectures (OL), a resource similar to Khan Academy, Gloria jumped at the chance to get involved. The main goal of OL was to give low-income students a chance to excel in their university entrance exams and gain access to higher education without the use of expensive tutors.

“Part of my role [at OL] involved giving a lot of my time toward giving talks around various schools in Singapore. . . The flipside of that is that I also got to meet a lot of amazing people, who seemed like ordinary students, but all of them were incredibly motivated and driven. I really wanted to do something for them … After the talks, I would be talking to these high schoolers, and we would just sit and talk about their aspirations and their goals as well as the challenges that they face. Their aspirations and goals were very similar to mine: it’s only that the circumstances were very different. I think listening to those stories made me think: ‘there’s no reason why I was born with such privilege.’”

From this point on, Gloria knew that creating equal access to quality education was an area she wanted to further explore. She has since led an Alternative Spring Break trip at Stanford, centered around the connection between education, technology, and equity. Although her efforts have been geared towards the American educational system, the root of her motivation stems from her life in Singapore.

“I think Singaporean culture really emphasizes family and education. Those are the two things that have stuck with me for a very long time … I’ve been blessed to grow up in a place that values both, and I have a wonderful family and a wonderful education. I wish that for everyone.”