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Goodnight Spotlight: Myra Holder

Goodnight Celebrates Women’s History Month!

Myra Holder, Goodnight First-Year Class of 2023, is involved in many extracurriculars in the Raleigh area. One in particular, co-directing Camp Kesem, has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of [her] life”. Read on to learn more about Camp Kesem and other interests Myra has!

Tell us about yourself! 

I’m a senior majoring in Genetics with a minor in Microbiology. I currently work as a Certified Pharmacy Technician at CVS, where I love learning about medications and helping patients. I am also a Co-Director of Kesem at NC State, getting to support some pretty amazing kiddos. I grew up in Lillington, a small town about an hour away so moving to Raleigh freshman year was a big change! I love exploring new places and seeing everything that Raleigh has to offer. This includes going to sporting events! In addition to backing the Pack, I follow the NC Courage in women’s soccer, and I have more recently got into hockey with the Carolina Hurricanes!

Do you have any extracurriculars you would like to discuss?

This year, I have the honor of being a Co-Director of Kesem at NC State. Kesem is a national organization whose mission is to be a child’s friend through and beyond their parent’s cancer journey. We do this by providing a free week-long summer camp and year-round support to our campers with the goal of ensuring every child that is affected by a parent’s cancer is never alone. We are an organization completely led by college students responsible for fundraising, planning, and implementing everything to make camp happen. I heard about Kesem not long after the pandemic started and after hearing the stories of its impact on our campers, I jumped in headfirst. Last year I was an Operations Coordinator, planning every second of the fun, and this year as a Co-Director, overseeing our chapter and coordinators to make camp happen! It’s hard not to jump in headfirst after seeing the community of shared experiences that Kesem fosters among campers. Campers can take the week to just be a kid without worrying about what might be happening with their parents at home, or when they do worry, they have a community surrounding them that understands what they are going through. During camp, we have a session called Empowerment, where counselors and campers can share their stories and what makes Kesem “magic”. Listening to these stories and the impact of Kesem has made every difficulty of fundraising, recruitment, and planning completely worth it. It has also made it one of the funniest and most rewarding experiences of my life. 

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Goodnight Scholars program?

For me, the Goodnight Scholars program is all about community and support. From the second we stepped foot onto campus for the freshmen retreat, it was like we immediately made 50+ new friends. Whether we need a friend, a mentor, a tutor, advice, or somebody to help fix our car, there is always someone willing to help, whether that be the pro-staff or a fellow scholar. The program invests in our futures while giving us opportunities to invest in our community. As a STEM coach, I have loved showing kids that STEM isn’t hard and scary, but can actually be really fun and cool! As a freshman mentor, I got the pleasure of introducing freshmen scholars into our community. Along with giving me so many unique experiences and opportunities for the future, the program has allowed me to meet my amazing mentors and some of my best friends for which I am eternally grateful. 

Tell us about your experiences as a woman within your STEM major, at NC State, and in your position at Camp Kesem.

For many, many years STEM was a male dominated field and in many parts of the field, it still is. I am lucky enough that in my major of Genetics and minor of Microbiology, there are many female professors to look up to and learn from. There are many groups at NC State working hard to ensure that all students feel accepted, wanted, encouraged, and equipped, regardless of their gender or background. 

What are your future life and career goals? How do these connect to your identity?

After graduating in May I hope to work in pharmaceutical development or gene therapy research, then go back for a graduate degree once I have narrowed down my field of study. Having a degree in genetics and interest in pharmaceuticals, I am interested in going into pharmacogenomics, which is the intersection of these two subjects and is becoming a growing field in itself!