Student Profile - Zach Holt

Chemistry, chemical engineering major explores possibilities

For chemistry and chemical engineering major Zach Holt, chemistry is a passion that led to his choice of attending Lamar University. Zach Holt

“Ever since I can remember, I have always liked chemistry,” Holt said. “If you can understand chemistry, you can understand anything in the world because everything is chemistry. When I discovered that Lamar had a great engineering school and was ranked nationally as a top school, I knew that Lamar was the right choice for me.”

Further attracting the Baytown native to Lamar, Holt received the McMaster Honors Scholarship and the Don M. Lyle Regents’ Scholarship in Engineering.

“Receiving these scholarships definitely solidified my choice to attend Lamar,” Holt said. “With the rising cost of school, I couldn’t turn down such an excellent offer.”

Although he is considering medical school where he wishes to study the brain, Holt said that Lamar is presenting him with information and knowledge to make an educated decision when it comes time to choose which career path to follow.

“The more classes I take at Lamar, the more I understand what each career entails,” Holt said. “For example, I have learned that chemistry opens so many doors. Most majors translate into a job, whereas chemistry offers a variety of fields. There are so many possibilities with a chemistry or chemical engineering major.”

Holt said that along his journey certain professors have had a profound impact on helping him determine how to implement his major in the future.

“My chemistry professor Dr. José Andino acted as a guide to help me figure out how I wanted to use my majors in the future,” Holt said. “He had a lot of insightful knowledge that he shared with me. Not only was he a professor, but he felt like a friend as well.”

While at Lamar, Holt has seized opportunities to be involved on campus. Since enrolling, Holt has become a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society, been elected as vice president of the Lamar Sailing Club, been chosen to be a Lamar Ambassador, rushed with the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon and been named chair of campus involvement for the Honors Student Association.

“My goal as chair of campus involvement is to gain more recognition for HSA and get more people involved with the program,” Holt said.

As a Lamar Ambassador, Holt acts as the face of Lamar’s student body. Ambassadors are chosen from a variety of backgrounds and attend community and university events as representatives of the campus.

“Serving as a Lamar Ambassador offers a multitude of unique opportunities to network in the academic and local community,” Holt said. “During my time as a Lamar Ambassador, I hope to promote university pride and, by doing this, unite the campus as a whole.”

In addition to his involvement in campus organizations, Holt works at Outdoor Pursuits in the Sheila Umphrey Recreational Sports Center where he is a rock wall facilitator.

“One of the reasons I decided to work at the rock wall is because I spent so much time there already,” Holt said. “This way I get paid to do something I love. I would not have developed into as serious of a climber if I hadn’t climbed the wall at Lamar.”

At Lamar, Holt has enjoyed several camping and climbing trips with Outdoor Pursuits and participated in other activities such as crate stacking, s’mores, yard games, and Project Chill, an event inviting students to relax in hammocks outside the library.

Working at the rock wall has allowed Holt to meet more people who enjoy the same interests as him.

“My job has allowed me to expand my social circle and deepen friendships,” Holt said. “Also, I have learned patience and how to maintain efficiency under pressure.”

Through his participation in organizations, Holt has developed friendships with other students and mentors who strive to help each other.

“Just by attending meetings and being involved, you meet people who can give you guidance from previous experiences,” Holt said. “Socializing and being around people is always beneficial. It allows you not to stay holed up in a dorm room.”

This December, Holt will travel to Nicaragua with VIDA, a volunteer travel program focused on helping those lacking medical resources, an organization that he learned about through a fellow Lamar Ambassador as well as through his participation in LU’s chapter of the American Medical Student Association.

“This will be a medical trip in which we will work on bilingual medicine, learn technical skills, and provide free healthcare for those that wouldn’t usually have the opportunity,” Holt said. 

While at Lamar, Holt looks forward to participating in research opportunities and study abroad.

“I’m hoping to go to Germany for a semester or longer,” Holt said. “Germany has always been on the forefront of science and engineering, and I would love to study chemistry while over there.”

Holt said he has grown not only mentally, but also socially at Lamar.

“Before I came to Lamar, I was not fully comfortable with being myself all of the time,” Holt said. “Taking a step away from home and serving in leadership roles forced me out of my comfort zone and made me into a more confident person.”