Why dismantling systemic racism requires way more than equal access to education.

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Photo by Arthur Edelman

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are a few of the most recent and most visible deaths of unarmed Black citizens at the hands of the police. The public reckoning of the widespread use of fatal force against members of the Black and African American community for generations has sparked a renewed call for justice and for systemic change in the United States.

It’s about time.

I am not the first and I won’t be the last to condemn the actions of officers of the law who use their position of power to perpetuate a cycle…


Learning to Embrace Failure and a Growth Mindset — A Mental Health Journey

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Early application results for the Class of 2022 were just released and college aspirants are wrapping up their remaining applications to be shipped off for review. It’s as good a time as any to share my college application story.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t get into my dream school (see also, article title).

But that’s also not the true ending to what is a deeply personal story — one I’ve told only a handful of my closest friends. I hope in sharing it more widely, especially in my capacity as the founder of a startup in the college admissions space, I…


A response to HBR’s study comparing the words VCs use to describe male vs. female entrepreneurs

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Being kind of a big data nerd and a female founder, I was super fascinated when Harvard Business Review came out a few days ago with a study of how VCs use different terminology to describe male and female entrepreneurs (handy infographic provided for your viewing pleasure below).

Yes! Give me that hard data over anecdotal evidence any day.

Not that there wasn’t already hard data about the gender gap in the venture funding space.

A quick and dirty rundown of existing stats:

Just earlier this year, Fortune found that the VC funding gender gap has gotten worse. Women-led companies made up just 4.94% of all VC deals…


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Back in the 90s, the Wu-Tang Clan taught us through a handy 5-letter acronym that cash rules everything around us (that’s C.R.E.A.M. for all you late-stage millennials). Now that we’re deep in the 2010s and cash has been replaced with Data, it’s time for D.R.E.A.M.

Terrible word play aside, data is everything these days. From recommended Netflix shows and Spotify playlists to Tinder matches and curated Facebook newsfeed content, all of our data and meta-data are constantly being analyzed to guide our next decision.

True, a lot of these decisions aren’t of much import. Whether Tide or Gain detergent…


I came up with five.

As a first-time founder, I’ve had to dig deep to figure out what motivates me. This year, I also grappled with navigating the motivations of my former co-founder. The experience gave me a front row seat to observing and distilling what drives people — specifically: what drives founders. There are a million different motivators. I’m not covering that many. Here is my neither exhaustive nor objective list of the wrong motivations to have as a founder. As in, avoid these.

1. Fear

I’m sure fear of failure, embarrassment, ostracism, shame have all been in the driver’s seat at major turning points…


There have been a few instances in my life when I’ve found myself in a conversation about physical appearance. “What would you change about yourself if you could change one attribute?” My answer is always the same: my skin color.

I say this not because I’m not proud of my race (I think my ethnic background and cultural upbringing have given me a singularly diverse perspective) or because I find fault in how I look (I’m very much aware of how stunning I am, despite a mild case of eczema and being a few shades toastier than my parents would…

Steph Shyu

She/Her • Educator • Entrepreneur • Mental health advocate • Equity reformer • Quasi-journalist • Ex-lawyer || Puns always intended. Sarcasm often lost.

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