A Los Al senior’s podcast: ‘The Sy-STEM’

Margaret Galvez highlights underrepresented peoples’ stories in STEM


Indira Guzman and Spotify, collage by Google Photos

Margaret Galvez, Los Al senior, host and producer of “The Sy-STEM.” 

Bella Kim, Staff Writer

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — Margaret Galvez, a senior at Los Alamitos High School, hosts and produces a podcast called “The Sy-STEM,” where she interviews people about their successes and struggles in the STEM field. Her aim is to spotlight people of diverse ages, occupations, genders, and ethnicities to show students that they can pursue areas where they don’t feel represented. 

“My main audience is young people who feel discouraged because they don’t feel like they’re part of the majority in STEM,” Galvez said. “With my podcast, I want to show stories of people who are considered minorities so that they feel more comfortable if they want to pursue a career in STEM.” Each episode of “The Sy-STEM” is an interview with someone studying or working in STEM. Galvez asks them questions about their background, education, job, interests, and views on representation. 

“After each interview, I began to feel more comfortable speaking to them because I don’t want to make it seem scripted. The point is to make it seem like a conversation,” Galvez said. She decided on a podcast as her platform so people could hear her guests’ stories firsthand. 

“I wanted one where voices could be heard,” she said. “There’s authenticity in a podcast.” The first episode of “The Sy-STEM” premiered on Spotify in April 2022, and the podcast currently has seven episodes and about 50 followers. Hoping to pursue a career in computer science or mathematics, Galvez started “The Sy-STEM” to encourage young students like herself. 

“I have heritage from Bolivia and Peru, and I don’t see much diversity in the [STEM] field. In order to combat it, I interview underrepresented people to inspire young people to enter the career,” Galvez said. 

Indira Guzman (left), Mrs. TiraTira (top right), and Mr. Valenzuela (bottom right).

Her mother, Indira Guzman, works with a research group that supports women in STEM, and she inspired Galvez to start “The Sy-STEM.” Galvez interviewed her for the first episode. Other guests on the podcast include high school students, professors, Los Alamitos High School engineering teacher Mr. Martin Valenzuela, and Los Al math teacher Mrs. Janice TiraTira. Galvez interviews a broad range of people so her listeners can see what different STEM careers look like, how they can start in high school, and where they might be when they’re in college or adults.

Juliana and Abigail Montoya are seniors at Cypress High School who follow “The Sy-STEM.” 

“It’s cool to see behind the brains of someone who is interested in STEM,” Juliana Montoya said. “I appreciate that Margaret is making it more known and bringing women [into] STEM representation.” 

“Margaret’s works and efforts to help raise the voices of women and POC [people of color] in STEM [are] very inspiring to me,” Abigail Montoya said.

 Galvez produces “The Sy-STEM” herself, recording and editing audio and photos with free apps like Anchor and Picsart. For her, the hardest part is continuing the podcast with new ideas and reaching out to potential interviewees. As a senior, Galvez said, balancing school, college applications, and coordinating interviews for “The Sy-STEM” is a complicated process. Sometimes people she contacts don’t want to be interviewed, so she has to move on to someone else. 

“Just go for it,” Galvez advised students who want to start their own podcast. “There are so many free services that you could use. Everything I used to make this podcast was free, so anyone could really do it.” She also spoke of the rewards of making “The Sy-STEM,” like the lessons she learns from the people she interviews. 

“I think the most valuable lesson is perseverance,” Galvez said. “They had to work really hard for the things that they did. It’s really inspiring, they just continue. I need to have that mindset of continuing until whatever goal I’m trying to get.” 

“The Sy-STEM” is available to listen to on Spotify, and more information can be found on the podcast’s Instagram account, @thesystem_0.