Emily Yong in a classroom in Kenya.

As a member of Hamilton’s women’s cross country team, Emily Yong ’19 has had a long-standing interest in running. Through her years of experience with this high-impact sport, Yong has become well-acquainted with physical therapy as part of athletics, and hopes to someday pursue a career as a physical therapist.

In the hopes of melding her interest in athleticism with the educational mentorship she has already found so fulfilling, Yong this summer is interning for STRIVE, an organization dedicated to supporting local communities in Kenya and Peru.

At Hamilton, when she is not running, Yong can be found doing various forms of community outreach, working as a Project SHINE tutor, a Multicultural Peer Mentor, and a Let’s Get Ready Math coach.

As an intern with STRIVE, Yong was allowed to pursue a project of her own choosing, a selection which brought her to Iten, Kenya. Iten is a small town located in the highlands of Kenya known best as one of the running capitals of the world. St. Patrick’s High School, one of three schools where Yong is volunteering, has raised and educated more top international athletes than any other high school in the world. “This internship has exposed me to a larger athletic community because Iten is full of runners and athletes. I am lucky to be able to train in the hills of Iten, where running culture is so strongly revered,” said Yong.

With Strive, Yong splits her days between three schools: Kiptabus Primary School, Kamariny Primary School, and St. Patrick’s, where she tutors students in mathematics and English. In the mornings at Kiptabus and Kamariny, Yong works closely with the teachers in classrooms to improve students’ learning, often working one-on-one with students to ensure a thorough understanding of the material. In the afternoons interns play sports with the students.

Emily Yong ’19

Major: Neuroscience

Hometown: New York, N.Y.

High School: Brooklyn Technical High School

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At St. Patrick’s, interns work one-on-one with students affiliated with Cross World Africa, an organization STRIVE partners with to help introduce African students to the American college admissions process. Yong helps students develop a general college list given their SAT scores, college preferences, extracurriculars, and running times for recruitment.

Through this work, Yong has made a direct impact on the lives and learning of talented young runners, an experience she has found wholly fulfilling. It is not just the students Yong is mentoring, though, who have benefitted from her work with STRIVE. “Being at the center of Kenyan running culture and surrounded by world-class athletes and coaches has greatly furthered my interest in pursuing a career in physical therapy,” said Yong.

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