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Meet Yeyhlin, SLI scholar

An interview with SLI scholar and volunteer EMT Yeyhlin (John Handley High School ’23, Hollins University 27), whose major is public health with a Spanish minor.

What are your college and career goals?

[In 2024] I discovered my passion for research and want a career in the CDC. I’ve always liked helping people. As I’m the oldest daughter in my family, it’s kind of second nature. Since I was eight I’d play with doctor toys, put on a little lab coat and everything, and then when I started looking at careers I wanted to focus on something that pays well and is something that I am passionate about. 

I’ll be the first in my family to go to college, and I’m going to Hollins University, an all-girls school. I was accepted into UVA and Virginia Tech, but I wanted a smaller school so I could really focus on learning the material. Since I’m going to be premed, I want to make sure I get connections with my professors, learn the material for the MCAT, and do it right the first time.

What are some of your classes and involvements?

I like to read and write a lot, so I like English class. I like AP Government this year, too. It’s pretty interesting. I’ve been into public speaking for a while. It’s my second year with the speech and debate team, and I got first in regionals. The team is really proud of all we’ve accomplished.

I did work at a home for older people, and now I am a server at a restaurant. It’s good money, with flexible hours.

What are some challenges?

A lot of the times, when I take the challenge to take an AP class, I’m one of the few Hispanic girls in there, if not the only one, so at times you kind of feel alone. I mean, I have a lot of friends in that class, but sometimes I feel like I have to prove myself more. 

It can be really hard to do well in my classes when I have family responsibilities, too. My father passed away in June three years ago, and I have a sister and a little brother. With my mom and the language barrier I’ve kind of been her mini translator, so I don’t know how they’re going to do without me when I go to college. I have a little guilt going away. We’ve kind of gotten a lot closer since my dad died, so me going away will be really tough on my mom.

My mom has always wanted me to have an education. Now I have all these scholarships, so we don’t have to worry so much about the money.