January 31, 2024

AHS Alumni Feature: Ani Yam

Not only does class of 2018 Ames High graduate Ani Yam have Trix up her sleeve, she likely has some Lucky Charms, too. Yam collects her Chex from General Mills, where she is a process engineer at the food production facility in Cedar Rapids.

“I currently work specifically with our cereal products (Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs),” Yam said. “In my role, I look at more efficient solutions to how we produce our products to save money, time, and resources as well as ensuring that we can get the most and best quality cases out the door in the safest way possible.”

A class her junior year at AHS swirled Ani into a major at Iowa State and ultimately her current role.

“The biggest thing Ames High did for me was inspire me to go the career path I did! After having such a wonderful time in Mrs. Brenneman’s AP Physics class, I was inspired to go into engineering at Iowa State because I loved the constant challenge and figuring out why things worked the way they do,” Yam shares. 

“High school also taught me to keep doing what I love- I was involved in orchestra and I ended up playing music all throughout college even if it had nothing to do with what I studied- I still play music to this day, and it taught me to set aside time for things I love,” she adds.

In addition to Mrs. Brenneman, two other AHS teachers made a difference in her high school days.

“I loved French class with Madame Dobernecker, I loved when we did little French parties and brought in all sorts of fun foods for our potlucks,” Yam said. “I owe so much to Mrs. Polashek for always believing in me when I didn’t ever believe in myself- encouraging me when trying to practice for All-State auditions or giving me opportunities to play for Madrigal or fun ensembles.”

Yam’s favorite memory also comes from her time with the late, great, Mrs. Polashek.

“Senior year Pops Concert. I remember sitting in the front row of the orchestra playing the Sound of Music Medley on the tarp-lined gymnasium. I had looked up at a friend in another section when we got to Edelweiss and it had hit me that I was about to graduate in a week and I just started crying! I had a wonderful four years in the orchestra!”

Yam was part of several activities while a student at Ames High: Orchestra, National Honor Society, Student to Student Ambassadors, Senior Mentor, Fellows Tutoring, Bee Club and 100th Green Butterfly, where she was a Co-Leader.

As Yam was involved with several activities, academic and club based, she reminds current students to have a balance to get their most of the amazing education they will receive from the Ames CSD.

“Work hard, but play hard too! You’re obviously in school to learn and get a good education – but don’t forget to enjoy it too! Do I remember studying for my calculus tests or finishing up homework late at night? Not really,” Yam said. “But I have countless stories to tell from homecoming/prom, attending school musicals, orchestra concerts, football games, and volunteering. Say yes to things and get involved, because those are the things that you’ll actually remember years from now!”