Herman Holt’s Team


Herman Holt's team is working to develop anticancer medication, specifically synthesizing indoles as tubulin binding agents that may lead to a synthetic derivative of the prodrug Combretastatin A-4.

About the Scholars

Danielle Davis, junior chemistry major

Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Why she's a Scholar: What initially attracted me to this program was the emphasis that was placed on undergraduate research. As someone who started undergraduate research early, it is very important to me and I believe it will be the most rewarding experience I will have during my time as an undergraduate.
What she hopes to learn: I hope to enhance my understanding and knowledge of organic chemistry through the various reaction schemes I will complete during the span of the program. I also hope to continue to refine my critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and time management skills by participating in this program. There are numerous benefits to being a student that participates in undergraduate research, such as gaining a better understanding of published works and learning to balance both collaborative and individual work, and I am sure I will experience these benefits by being a part of this program.
Other organizations or programs: Alliance, ACS, Food Not Bombs
Favorite thing about UNC Asheville: Something that I would like to share with a prospective student is that due to the small size of the school you will be able to develop close relationships with your professors. At UNCA you truly are a name, not a number. That was one of the deciding factors that made me choose this school, and the relationships I have made with both faculty and my peers serve to reinforce that I made the correct decision.

Rayven Van Kalker, sophomore chemistry and new media major

Hometown: Asheville, NC
Why she's a Scholar: I was already familiar with the current research being conducted in the chemistry department at UNC Asheville before I heard about the GlaxoSmithKline Scholarship. After hearing about a program that would give me the opportunity to perform research at UNCA as part of the scholarship, well, I was obviously thrilled. Because I was eager for my junior year (when students usually start research) so I could put my knowledge into practice but the program fast-tracked it to this coming summer.
What she hopes to learn: I hope to gain a more in-depth knowledge on organic chemistry and its branches, and even more, what it means to be a researcher. I expect to strengthen my ability to balance independent work with collaboration, and especially develop problem-solving skills through experiment troubleshooting.
Other organizations or programs: I am a part of the CarePartners Foundation as well as an avid member of two student run organizations, TEDxUNCAsheville and ArtFront.
Favorite thing about UNC Asheville: My favorite aspect of UNC Asheville would have to be the community on the campus. It's very inspiring for me to see how everyone is so passionate about their endeavors. I also enjoy being a part of a community that is very strong-willed and supportive.

Malina Navarez, junior chemistry major

Hometown: Hilo, Hawaii
Why she's a Scholar: My desire to strive to learn more about chemistry and the way it works within us.
What she hopes to learn: I hope to establish a more in depth connection with the foundations of chemistry in order to someday bring something new, with a positive impact, to the table of science and the community.
Other organizations or programs: In addition to chemistry I also take some engineering classes from the joint mechatronics program with NC State. Furthermore, I work as a personal trainer with the Built Like a Bulldog program, I am a Group Fitness Instructor in Kickboxing, I work with the Outdoor Programs leading trips in various outdoor sports in addition to having been a member of the Cheer and Dance Team of UNC Asheville for two years.
Favorite thing about UNC Asheville: Personally, my favorite thing about UNC Asheville is the wide spectrum of opportunities of which a student can embark upon. From cheerleading to research in chemistry and engineering, one person alone can gain so many new experiences creating a more concrete background of one's self and strengthening one's identity.

Mary Ashley McCrory, sophomore chemistry major

Hometown: Waynesville, NC
Why she's a Scholar: My passion for chemistry and desire to learn more about it every day in a way that could help others.
What she hopes to learn: I hope this program allows me to learn all about working in a lab so that I can continue to do so for the rest of my life. I hope to develop a compound that could branch into potential treatment for cancer and other pathological conditions. I hope that it teaches me to mess up hundreds of times and keep moving forward until I get the results I am striving for.
Other organizations or programs: Health Occupations Students of America, Rotaract (Secretary), Alpha Xi Delta Sorority (Vice President)
Favorite thing about UNC Asheville: I love UNC Asheville because of all of the incredible opportunities it has presented me with. Having a one-on-one relationship with the faculty has opened up tons of pathways that help me get closer to my career goals. The people are incredible and truly care about your success, which I believe is hard to find elsewhere.