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Student of the Month | September 2023 | Joyce Matombo

Joyce Matondo

Love and effort.  Those are the two characteristics that City of Medicine Senior Joyce Matondo attributes to her mother, her greatest influencer. Joyce says of her mother: “My mother inspires me every day with her resilience and determination to make our lives better than her own. I see her effort and love in everything she does, which has made a significant impact on every aspect of my life.”


That impact has inclined Joyce to consider becoming a physician, although she hasn’t yet decided upon her specialty. She’s well on her way, according to her teachers. She, too, is equipped with the love and effort her mother has instilled in her.


Her teacher and NHS advisor, Laura Clarke, shares that Joyce is an exemplary scholar who holds herself and others to high standards. Not only is she a member of The City of Medicine chapter of the National Honor Society, but she is also the President. In addition, she’s an active participant in HOSA: Future Health Professionals, as has been a representative in the student government and assisted in organizing several successful school events. Recently, through careful planning, project management, and effective collaboration and communication, Joyce co-founded a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting homeless and impoverished members of her community. That's the loving, compassionate, kind-hearted young lady that you will encounter with Joyce. These are skills that can surely be put to use in the context of a larger-scaled research project. 


The scholar has proudly completed a recent research internship at NC State, a feat she says was one of the most challenging in her life.

“While it was incredibly difficult, it was very rewarding,” she said.  Her plans are to attend Duke University or UNC Chapel Hill but will take a short break immediately after graduation.

Her teacher, Laura Tuson, said Joyce has an aptitude for science. 


“Due to Joyce’s curiosity, relevant extracurricular experiences, and genuine interest in applied science, she is sure to excel as a scientific researcher,” said Tuson.

Joyce was chosen to participate in the NC ACS Project SEED program where she conducted research over the summer at North Carolina State University. She formally presented her research in August to university professors, graduate students, chemistry teachers, family and friends at the NC Biotechnology Center in Research Triangle Park, NC. Joyce's research at NC State was titled: “Engineering Polyketide Synthase Pathways for Derivatized Natural Products.” Antibiotic resistance occurs when certain bacteria become “immune” to antibiotics making them less effective. Joyce looked at Polyketides and the biosynthesis of other enzymes that will make antibiotic drugs more efficient and less costly. Joyce ended the summer by attending the National American Chemical Society Conference in San Francisco, where she attended workshops and networked with other researchers, university professors, and students.

Joyce also loves to give back and practices self-care in order to give her best.


“I have a passion for volunteering and working with children so I often participate as a team member for the children's sanctuary at my local church, which is World Overcomers Christian Church. In my free time, I love to read to de-stress. It's something I really enjoy because of how calming it is for me,” she said. 

Joyce says her accomplishments and ambition don’t come without life’s challenges.

“One challenge that stands out for me is trying to overcome preconceived notions that people had about me due to my African background,” she said.  She also says that she learned time management in order to experience success when the world shut down during the pandemic.


“I eventually found a way to balance my life and efficiently manage my time. To achieve this, I utilized various tools, such as a calendar, and set achievable daily goals. This approach helped me to avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed.  I also made sure to take breaks and practice self-care, whether it was sitting down watching Netflix or simply taking a nap,” Joyce said. 

Ranking among the top of her class, Joyce carries out the mission of vision of our Early College by successfully dual-enrolling at Durham Technical Community College where she is on track to ean an associate degree with her high school diploma.  Joyce has a solid plan that will support her higher education endeavors and future employment opportunities. She has proven that Excellence is Everywhere at CMA,” said her principal Dr. Renita Griffin-Jordan.