Alexandra Holland, B.S. 1993

Self-Employed, WNC Nature – Weaverville, NC; and Instructor, NC Arboretum – Asheville, NC

1993 Major: Biology

How has being a Biology graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"Duke gave me the background and confidence I needed to pursue different botany-related jobs and volunteer opportunities. By virtue of being a Duke student in biology, I was able to get summer internships in research that I enjoyed. My degree, the research experience I had as an undergraduate, and the internships helped me get into an excellent graduate school. Also, Dr. Wilbur's class at Duke, particularly, inspired my interest in native plants. That lead to volunteering at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX and then to becoming certified as a Blue Ridge Naturalist in Asheville, NC. Now I teach adults about botany and lead nature hikes for all ages, focusing on native plants and botanical principles. All of the biology and science classes I took at Duke added a piece to the puzzle that influenced me working in a field I love where I can share my excitement about science with others."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Biology programs? 

"Take advantage of all the opportunities Duke offers - research, relationships with your professors, study groups with fellow students, etc. One of my lab classes at Duke was brand new and focused on new research techniques. I got hands-on experience with techniques that I then used in my summer internships with a pharmaceutical company. Duke is on the cutting edge of technology and will put you in an excellent position when looking for jobs."

Alexandra Holland