Finding Greatness: Zoe Von Holten

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2022 12:00 AM
Categories: School of Health and Natural Sciences | Pressroom | Students | Faculty/Staff | Finding Greatness

Macon, GA

Zoe Von Holten doing field work for her research.

Biology major Zoe Von Holten, who started MGA as a dual-enrolled student, is now involved in a research project with Dr. Tyler Achatz involving systematic parasitology. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D for a career in academia.

Full Name: Zoe Von Holten.

Age: 17.

Hometown & Residence: Dublin.  

High School: “I was a homeschooled student.”

Family: Parents, Stacie & Conner Harrell, Eric & Sheila Von Holten; nine siblings.

Employment: Full-time student.

Degree Objective: Bachelor of Science in Biology.

Class Rank: Junior.

Primary Campus: Macon.

Career Goals: “My career goal is to complete a Ph.D and enter the field of academia. After spending the summer as an undergraduate researcher at the University of North Dakota, I now conduct research at MGA through a directed study in systematic parasitology with Dr. Tyler Achatz. Besides being fun, research is a way to advance the span of human knowledge. That’s a life goal for me that I’ve always considered a truly awesome achievement, no matter how trivial the knowledge or field.”

She chose Middle Georgia State University because … “I chose MGA for several reasons! I entered through the dual-enrollment program at the age of 15, primarily because it offered courses unavailable at the community college I had been attending. Unlike some other universities, MGA accepted all of the credit hours I had already earned. Its location in Middle Georgia meant I didn’t have to leave my hometown. I can commute easily enough to any of three campuses to take the classes I need. Finally, it offered the best tuition rates.”

The greatest thing she discovered about Middle Georgia State was … “It would have to be the quality of the instructors, especially those in science classes. It’s just a small enough school that they always seem to have enough time to help you, and each one I’ve met has been genuinely kind, engaging in their teaching, and dedicated to their students’ success. It takes some of the stress out of classes to have that much help available to you.”

Her greatest academic experience as a Middle Georgia State student has been … “Being a part of a research lab. My primary focus so far has been a project that I’ve presented as a poster entitled ‘Revealing further diversity of the Diplostomidae (Digenea) parasitic in New World kingfishers.’ I’ve also gotten to work in collaboration with other labs, go on field trips to collect specimens, and attend conferences such as the Annual Midwestern Conference of Parasitology (AMCOP), where I was awarded a student research grant to fund my future work.”

To her, “greatness” means … “Greatness as a personal quality is nothing more than a drive to be great. Basically, trying your best. That could be choosing to interact with someone with kindness, putting effort into studying or working with excellence, or just getting through the day and being able to start fresh the next morning. A willingness to learn and improve combined with perseverance can lead to greatness in anything.”

In five years … “I will be continuing my education. I will have completed a master’s program and begun working towards a Ph.D.”