Bright Futures: Andrea Holt, biology major

Jun. 13, 2013 - by Carol Best

New Grad Finds Amazing Opportunities at Sea

June 13, 2013
20131105 AHolt

When you think of MNU – a university in the heart of the Kansas City metro– do you think “marine biology?” Most people don’t. But senior biology major Andrea Holt (’13) isn’t like most people. In addition to excelling in MNU’s biology program, Andrea has worked at the Sea Life Aquarium in Kansas City and studied abroad in the Caribbean to gain specialized experiences that will further her goal of becoming a marine biologist.

Andrea’s love for the marine world began when, as a high school senior she became fascinated by ocean-themed specials on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and Animal Planet.

“I realized I had never been more interested in a field than I was in the ocean and its life,” Andrea says. “That confirmed my decision. I had to learn more, and I had to gain the tools to ultimately get to the sea.”

That resolution, however, didn’t cause Andrea to rethink her choice to attend MNU.

CatamaranAndrea Holt steers the catamaran she and fellow Broadreach students lived on last summer. “I discovered that majoring in biology [at MNU] would still be completely practical, because had I gone to school near the ocean, I still would have studied biology,” Andrea says. “Rather than specify right away, it’s more sensible to major in the broader field of biology, because it leaves more doors open in terms of future opportunities and jobs. Attending school in Kansas never seemed like a barrier, just another step that I had to take in my journey to reaching the ocean life!”

What’s more, there are many opportunities for marine studies in Kansas, says Assistant Professor of Biology Rion Taylor.

“Hundreds of thousands of years ago, this whole area was a shallow sea,” Taylor says. “So there are actually a lot of oceanography studies you can do in Kansas.”

When [employers] look for someone, they want to get the most for their investment. So they look for somebody who has really strong basic experience, as well as an interest and love for the marine environment. And that’s something Andrea has certainly gotten here. – Steve Cole, PhD, professor of biology

Since Andrea is primarily interested in the current marine environment, however, she has sought out experiences in the field. Last spring, when she learned that Sea Life Aquarium was coming to Kansas City, she competed against 2,000 other applicants in multiple rounds of interviews for a grueling 13 hours. In the end, though, Andrea was hired as an Educational Specialist. The experience, she says, was rewarding.

 

“My favorite duty at Sea Life was teaching at the Rock Tide Pool Touch Tank,” she says. “In this exhibit, guests were allowed to touch different marine organisms like sea stars, sea urchins, cleaner shrimp, horseshoe crabs and more. I loved watching people gain the courage to touch the animals (especially the kids). It was really cool to see their faces light up as they felt these creatures for the first time.”

But Sea Life Aquarium was only the beginning – Andrea knew she needed experience on the ocean. She applied to the Broadreach Tropical Marine Biology program, and after earning a Broadreach scholarship, spent summer 2012 in an unforgettable study abroad program in the Caribbean. As she completed certifications in scuba diving, yachting, AWARE fish identification and more, Andrea gained unforgettable field experiences living on a catamaran with seven other students, their professor, and the ship’s skipper.

“At one point while watching a barracuda, I found myself in the middle of a school of tiny fish – hundreds of them,” Andrea says. “It was such a cool feeling to have them all surrounding me. This dive also included getting to see a green sea turtle up close as it swam right up to one of my dive buddies.”

SeaTurtleUse

Now Andrea’s professional and academic achievements have paid off with another dream opportunity – this summer, she is an intern on the American Pride  tallship in Long Beach, Calif. Her duties include interning under the resident marine biologist while she lives aboard the vessel.

“I’ll be teaching the guests marine biology, leading fish dissections, tending to the boat, helping operate sails and assisting groups in activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, Aquarium of the Pacific tours, hiking and more,” Andrea says.

Professor of Biology Steve Cole says that working on the American Pride will be a perfect fit for Andrea’s unique skillset and personality.

“She’s a person who embodies what it means to be a biologist,” Cole says. “She’s going to be a person that people are going to want to present their programs to the public.”

Further into the future, Cole says Andrea’s combined achievements at MNU, Sea Life, and Broadreach will serve her well in whatever marine biology career she chooses.

“When [employers] look for someone, they want to get the most for their investment,” Cole says. “So they look for somebody who has really strong basic experience, as well as an interest and love for the marine environment. And that’s something Andrea has certainly gotten here.”

As Andrea celebrates her 2013 graduation, she looks the future with faith and anticipation.

“I prayed for patience, and certainly put trust in God that I was in the right place,” Andrea says. “I prayed that He would bring me to the sea, where I belong, in His time. Now I leave in less than a month to go live on a boat in California!”

To learn more about biology at MNU, visit our science and mathematics page.

 

MNU News

Friday, August 18
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
JK Warrick photo credit JimSmith
Dr. JK Warrick to Serve at MNU as Special Counsel

Dr. JK Warrick to Serve at MNU as Special Counsel

Dr. J.K. Warrick has been appointed special counsel to the president for the 2017-18 academic year. President David Spittal, made the announcement…

Read More
CareerLife Calling
Expansion of Mentoring Program to Serve All Majors

Expansion of Mentoring Program to Serve All Majors

More career-focused opportunities for juniors at MNU will launch this fall with a newly expanded mentoring program. Built on the positive impact of…

Read More
Kassidy Chuning headshot resized
Alum Finds New Perspectives, New Growth

Alum Finds New Perspectives, New Growth

Kassidy (Ritchel ’14) Chuning worked hard and played hard.  During high school, she played basketball and volleyball while maintaining a coveted GPA. Strong family values were woven into the…

Read More
Aaron Tiffany w guitar
Business Major Answers the Call

Business Major Answers the Call

Aaron Tiffany (Business Administration, ’05) isn’t exactly where he thought he’d be after graduation from MNU. Or actually, he is. “Going in to college I didn't know what I wanted to…

Read More
Sunberg Named GS
Alum Named 43rd General Superintendent

Alum Named 43rd General Superintendent

MNU Alumnus, Dr. Carla (Johnson ’83) Sunberg, was elected the 43rd General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene June 27, at the denomination’s General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana.…

Read More
Jason Heidi Menard
Driven to Succeed: Alum Taps into Hard Work, Passion, and Energy

Driven to Succeed: Alum Taps into Hard Work, Passion, and Energy

Some people might say that alum Jason Menard, just 7 years out of MNU, is too young to be a high school assistant principal and athletic director.…

Read More
Stowe in China
MNU Professor Selected for Prestigious Fellowship

MNU Professor Selected for Prestigious Fellowship

The U.S. Department of State announced the selection of Ramona Stowe of MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) for a 10-month fellowship project…

Read More
PrayerWalk2016-74
Visit MNU Exhibit at GA2017

Visit MNU Exhibit at GA2017

If you’re attending The Church of the Nazarene General Assembly or any of the associated conventions June 21 to June 29, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana, be sure to stop by the MNU exhibits.…

Read More
mnugrad-004
MNU Mourns Passing of Former President Ed Robinson

MNU Mourns Passing of Former President Ed Robinson

Dr. Edwin H. Robinson, fourth president of MidAmerica Nazarene University, went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, May 27, 2017. Dr. Ed, as he was…

Read More
Sports
MNU Cross County and Track & Field Announce 2017 Signing Class

MNU Cross County and Track & Field Announce 2017 Signing Class

MNU Cross Country and Track & Field are prepped for another great season...

 
MNU Finishes Top-30 in Learfield Directors' Cup

MNU Finishes Top-30 in Learfield Directors' Cup

After a successful 2016-17 season which saw several Pioneer squads qualify for Nationals, MNU ranked 27th in the NAIA and 2nd in the Heart in the Directors' Cup...

 
Lindsay Smith Named Next MNU Cheerleading Coach

Lindsay Smith Named Next MNU Cheerleading Coach

OLATHE, Kan. - Director of Athletics Todd Garrett has announced Lindsay Smith as the next head coach of MNU Cheerleading.

 
Latest Photos
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement