Karl Yost

2024 INTL Alumni Award Winner
Ph.D. Student - Harvard
Silicon Valley International School (INTL) was proud to recognize alumnus Karl Yost with this year’s INTL Alumni Award at INTL’s Annual Gala & Auction. This award was bestowed on Karl  with great admiration for his exceptional educational accomplishments and for embodying the transformative power of INTL’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme. 

Karl's time with INTL began in Kindergarten as he embarked on a journey filled with learning, embracing challenges, and seizing opportunities until graduating as part of the school’s first high school class in 2020 and receiving the IB Bilingual Diploma in German and English. His story is a prime example of the school's commitment to fostering holistic development and academic excellence.

Integral to Karl's success is INTL’s renowned IB Programme and immersive bilingual curriculum, which played a pivotal role in broadening not only his worldview but also his approach to learning. Reflecting on his IB experience, Karl notes, "It’s become second nature to look at things from a broader context. I came into college with others not having the same IB background as me, and I've realized that I have a good ability to put things into perspective and a real-world context that other schools aren’t focused on." 

Karl acknowledges the profound influence of his 11th-grade Chemistry teacher, Mr. Weston, who inspired him to pursue Biochemistry. "Mr. Weston really helped me get into Biochemistry because he taught me that you can still be a cool person and study science at the same time. That message from him really resonated with me on a personal level," Karl recalls.

After saying farewell to INTL, Karl's academic voyage continued at the prestigious University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Graduating this summer with a degree in Biochemistry, Karl elaborates on his choice, stating, "What drew me to UCLA was because of the fit. From the very beginning, I could really see myself fitting in with the school and being successful. In addition, UCLA is a more renowned school with a lot of opportunities available. It also felt like a great balance between work hard and play hard, which is positive for the mental health side of education."

Karl believes that an IB education equips students with valuable skills. "The IB Programme really teaches you how to be independent and resourceful. This was a really helpful skill for me to learn for college since you’re on your own a lot of the time and can’t always rely on the professor to help you every step of the way," he asserts. Speaking about the interconnectedness of learning, Karl adds, "I think that learning is something that is super interdisciplinary. Like how history is connected to philosophy and how philosophy is connected to science, like a web that ties everything together. I think that the IB really helps students understand the interconnectedness of education and cultivates a perspective about how learning can be something that is cool and can shape your view on the world."

Karl's commitment to scientific inquiry extends beyond the classroom. At UCLA, he dedicates 20-35 hours weekly to research in the lab, focusing on fungi and their potential therapeutic applications. Karl sheds light on his work, saying, "Most people don’t know this, but a lot of common antibiotics like Penicillin have ingredients that originate from nature. So in the lab, we’re currently trying to figure out how certain fungi can be used to create therapeutic remedies."

Recognizing the importance of mentorship, Karl actively participates in guiding younger students through the Chemistry Club. "I’ve been doing some mentoring through the Chemistry Club because when I first started college this club really helped me acquire research opportunities. As a senior, I am also one of the older members in the lab so I’ve helped guide a couple of the younger students through the lab process," Karl explains.

Looking towards the future, Karl has set his sights on a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. Already accepted into four prestigious programs, Karl reflects on his journey, stating, "Since getting my first acceptance letter into Northwestern, I have also received acceptance letters to Berkeley and Princeton as well. I’m really fortunate to have been accepted into these great schools, and right now I’m looking at each of their strengths and weaknesses to see which one is the best choice for me." Since the interview with Karl, he was also accepted into Harvard's doctoral program. 

Karl acknowledges the role of INTL in shaping his trajectory towards a Ph.D., stating, "Although Ph.D. schools don’t ask about what you did in high school, I do think that going to INTL helped me explore opportunities in college, which in turn helped me get into a Ph.D. program. Even though it is not strictly related, INTL helped me acquire skills and pursue my passions while in college."

Beyond academia, Karl envisions a career in venture capital, aiming to blend his vast skill set and invaluable qualities. "After my Ph.D program, I am hoping to pursue a career in venture capital because I want to be able to mix my research skills with my communication and people skills. Science is also a very underfunded field that needs resources to help people. So I think that venture capital will help effectively branch out the scientific issues that I am interested in into the real world," Karl affirms. He also sees teaching as a means to inspire others and deepen his own understanding of specific subjects.

In celebrating Karl Yost's journey, we celebrate the essence of INTL - nurturing students to become not only scholars but also passionate, innovative contributors to the world. Karl's story is a testament to the power of INTL and the enduring impact of an education that values curiosity, a passion for learning, and the dedication to making our planet a better, more positive place for everyone. We look forward to witnessing Karl's continued success as a Ph.D. student and the positive mark he will undoubtedly leave on the world.


Notice of Nondiscriminatory policy as to students

Silicon Valley International School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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