Rise to the Top


Anne Dalton, Managing Editor

“Live your life with integrity,” said Joyce Yin, class of 2019 valedictorian.  Mrs. Pompelia taught her this and Yin has been sticking to it ever since in order to reach her goals.

Yin’s strong work ethic was apparent throughout high school.  Aside from her many activities, she has taken 13 Advanced Placement (AP) courses to help launch her career.  She did not just take the classes to raise her GPA, but rather to help her figure out her likes and dislikes as well as preparing her for a career in chemical engineering.  “She is an excellent student who is driven to succeed and works hard to achieve her lofty goals,” said Linda Kubus.

The possibility of being valedictorian became her ambition before high school began.  “In 8th grade, I overheard the word for the first time. And long story short, I thought, I have the potential to achieve this, why not me?” said Yin. “The ambition part was always on the backburner, throughout high school my goal was more so to challenge myself as much as possible, and that kind of resulted in me being valedictorian.”

Being valedictorian for the class of 2019 is a huge accomplishment for Joyce.  She is the first member in her family to grow up in America as China does not recognize this honor.  She takes pride in being a part of the Asian-American community. She hopes the culture she brought to Latrobe through her ideas made a difference while resonating with other students.  “I travel frequently and value it greatly in being able to understand different cultures and how other people live. From this, I bring diversity and cultural value as well as respect to others to any campus,” said Yin.

“She is deserving of being valedictorian because she has continually challenged herself throughout her career here at Greater Latrobe and has worked extremely hard to succeed in her classes,” said Scott Reaugh.

Yin stated that without her mom, she would not have been able to receive this title let alone be the person she is today.  Joyce is following the footsteps of her mother who is also an engineer, specifically a mechanical engineer, at Kennametal. “My mom is definitely my biggest role model,” says Yin.  “She never fails to clean up my loose ends when I am a mess and she is an absolute queen.”

“Latrobe’s academic opportunities through classes such as AP Seminar and AP Research have allowed me to develop unique skills such as group collaboration and communication,” said Yin.  Joyce’s focus for her AP Seminar project was virtual reality exposure therapy in medicine. Recently, she presented an AP Research project on bus routing optimization in suburban bus companies. She feels that these two classes in particular have prepared her for the rigor of college learning.

As Joyce leaves Greater Latrobe, she is thankful for the academic platform.  “Know that Latrobe is special in the academic opportunities that it offers. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and take classes that you may not even like, you will learn a lot,” said Yin.  “Don’t let others put you down for taking hard classes- be proud of it!”

Yin has been a strong role model and leader throughout her time at Greater Latrobe.  She has led her peers not only in the classroom, but through her involvement in clubs and organizations too.  She enjoys working as a team with her classmates to serve both the school and local community.

Joyce has made being involved in her school community one of her biggest priorities aside from academics.  This year alone, she participates in Student Council, current treasurer; Letterman’s Club, current president; Mathletes, current vice president; National Honor Society, current president; Hometown High Q, captain; Varsity Swimming, senior captain & 4-year letter; Varsity Track & Field, jumping co-captain & 4-year letter; Science Bowl, M3 Modeling Competition, Remembering Adam, Science Olympiad, and Young Engineers.  

 “Joyce was a very hard working and dedicated student,” said Reaugh.  “There were several times when she missed class because of a sporting event, and had a friend skype the class so that she would not miss the material.”

Other activities Yin participated in during high school:

  • QUEST 2015
  • Class Officer, Secretary 2016-17
  • Westinghouse Science Honors Institute 2016-17
  • Excela Health Exploring Program 2016-17
  • Westinghouse Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day 2017
  • Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW) 2017
  • Chick-fil-A Leader Academy 2017-18
  • Link Crew 2017-18
  • UPMC Sports Medicine Day 2018

Outstanding Awards:

  • Distinguished Honor Roll (13 Quarters)
  • President’s Award 2016
  • Varsity Letter Winner-Swimming and Track 2016-2018
  • Women in Science Award for Chemistry 2017
  • Math Student of the Month 2017
  • AP Scholar with Distinction 2018
  • Graduate of University of Dayton Women in Engineering Camp 2018
  • Rotary Student of the Month 2018
  • M3 Math Modeling Competition 2018 & 2019

Yin has always been taught to do her best in anything she does.  She created a healthy balance in her life between academics and athletics, and always gives over 100%.  

Outside of school, she is just as active.  She uses her intelligence outside the classroom to tutor her peers during the school year and in the summer for AP classes and standardized test preparation.  Joyce has excelled at swimming both in school and outside of school. She has been a member of Aqua Club for 10 years now and since has become swim coach for the program for almost three years. While maintaining over a 4.0 GPA, she has also managed to work not only as a swim coach, but as a lifeguard at Wimmerton Pool.

This fall, Yin will be attending Pennsylvania State University as a student in the Schreyer Honors College.  She will be majoring in chemical engineering. “I’m excited to experience the college atmosphere, meet new people, join clubs, conduct research, and take some of my favorite classes,” said Yin.  “I am very excited for thermodynamics, engineering design, calculus III, etc.”

“I think that Joyce has developed a work ethic and a foundation to be successful at whatever she sets her mind to and I am sure that in the years to come she will accomplish some great things,” said Reaugh.

Joyce’s passion towards STEM fields will assist her throughout college.  She has gotten exposure and background from the STEM focus in school, but has also experienced the specific areas first hand out in the real world.  She has had the opportunity to shadow a variety of professionals in the field such as a mechanical engineer, optometrist, and pathologist. A highlight of shadowing was in Portland, Oregon where she was able to maxi-prep bacteria and analyze mouse retinas at Oregon Health and Sciences University for an MD PhD student.

Yin has big plans for the future.  She has a lot of time to think about this, but she possibly wants to go to graduate school for a higher level of learning.  She says, ”As a chemical engineer, I hope to improve upon materials and chemicals used in everyday life to become more environmentally secure.”  After college she hopes to land a job in one of her following dream cities: San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver. Kubus said, “Joyce will accomplish whatever she wants because she can and is capable of anything.”

As her high school career ends, she is excited to enter the next chapter of her life.  Joyce’s drive to do great things in the world will take her far because she has always been passionate to her beliefs and what she has been taught.  From a Wildcat to Nittany Lion, Yin will continue her road to success no matter where life takes her.