Kristin Alyea Epstein '97

Many Princetonians, from English majors to engineers, fondly remember the famous chemistry lecture given annually by Prof. Hubert Alyea '24 *28. There in the Frick auditorium he would work his magic with Bunsen burners and test tubes, concluding, with a flourish, to wild applause.

Decades later, a distant relative in the Alyea family returned to Princeton and also worked some magic. When Kristin Alyea Epstein and her family moved back to Princeton 10 years after her graduation, she expected to find a lively Princeton Area Alumni Association. What she found was a dormant organization. Kristin was determined to wake it up. In 2008, she reached out to local alumni, inviting them to an organizational meeting. Among the 40 present, there were skeptics who doubted. But Kristin was confident. Legend has it that she would not allow any of the 40 to depart without signing up for a committee. The next day, she was on the phone to a select handful: "How would you like to chair a committee?" In the face of that confidence, no one could say "no."

During her five years as President of the Princeton Area Alumni Association, affectionately known as the PA3, Kristin rallied her troops to create what is now a thriving regional association that hosts some 50 events a year, including programs in cultural activities, community service, careers and networking, as well as Alumni Schools Committee interviewing. Social activities range from happy hours to receptions and an Annual Dinner. In addition to local undergraduate and graduate alumni, members include parents of current and former students and surviving partners of alumni. Current graduate students are invited to all PA3 events and activities.

As big a job as this was for Kristin and as much hard work and persistence that it took, it was not the only Princeton volunteer position she has held. Kristin is also treasurer for the Class of '97 and has served on its Reunion Committee for the 10th and the 15th Reunion. She is an Alumni Schools Committee interviewer and a P-rade marshal. When her term as president of the PA3 concluded, she took on the role of vice chair of the Alumni Council Committee on Community Service, she sits on the Alumni Council's Executive Committee, and she has just joined the board of Colonial Club.

And that's not all. She has served as Vice Chair of the Princeton International Academy Charter School, has lead two Girl Scout troops, and was one of the Princeton community members who served as volunteers when the University was a host for the Special Olympics USA Games. She also happens to have a job. An engineer by training and profession, with a degree from Johns Hopkins as well as Princeton, after a hiatus at home with her children, Kristin became the Executive Director of Yinghua International School in Princeton in 2012.

Kristin may not use chemical compounds to make her magic happen. Her magic comes from the confidence that she can get things done. With this Award for Service to Princeton, we thank you for bringing your own brand of Alyea magic to Princeton.

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