Zachery Feldker

Class Year

’15

Hometown

Bloomington, Ill.

Major(s)

Biology

Zachery Feldker ’15 became a Carthage biology student at an exciting time for the department. He was one of the first students who was part of the freshman-only Phage Hunters genomics course, made possible by a grant from the Science Education Alliance. Zach was thrown right into research, where he isolated his own unique mycobacteriophage (a virus that infects bacteria) and studied its characteristics.

In the first semester of the two-semester course, his class sent in one isolated phage to have its genome sequenced. In the second semester, the class annotated and determined the features possibly coded for in the DNA of the phage. “The work of this class has been submitted, and now the participants and I are published in the Genebank database,” he said. Zach presented his research at the 2012 Celebration of Scholars.

Since completing the Phage Hunters course, Zach continues to admire the strength of Carthage’s Biology Department.

“The Carthage biology program offers the opportunities, and holds the standards of excellence, that a larger research state school would demand, while being packaged into a smaller school that allows for friendships between students and professors in a way that promotes creative student driven learning,” he said.

One of these opportunities Zach talks about is his small regenerative study in Xenopus (frog) tadpoles for the Developmental Biology course. Zach will also be traveling to Hairou, China, this summer to teach English in student summer camps

After graduating from Carthage, Zach has aspirations to study veterinary medicine or possibly pursue life science research. “Carthage has prepared me for these challenges by research class opportunities as well as interactive and rigorous core major courses,” he said.  

“The Carthage biology program offers the opportunities, and holds the standards of excellence, that a larger research state school would demand, while being packaged into a smaller school that allows for friendships between students and professors in a way that promotes creative student driven learning.”

Zachery Feldker, ’15

Career goal

“I have aspirations to study veterinary medicine, and or possibly pursue life science research of some kind.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

“It is hard to pick a favorite professor, especially when they are involved in so many things on campus and you interact with many of them outside of class. However, I will miss Dr. Choffnes and Dr. Pfaffle while they are on sabbatical.”

Favorite class

“Again, it’s a hard choice to make. My favorite classes within my major thus far have been Phage Hunters and Genetics. The class that I had the most fun while taking was the Sci-Fi and Religion topics class for J-Term.”

Campus involvement

“I am most actively involved in CUMBYA, a youth ministry group on campus where I hold the office of vice president. I am also a member of the biology honors society Beta Beta Beta, and help out as a supplementary student instructor and lab assistant in the Biology Department.”

Toughest class

Organic Chemistry. Not because it is extremely hard, but because I think a little differently than the class format, so it was up to me to adjust.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“There are many Carthage ‘moments.’ My favorite thus far is a tie between presenting during the Celebration of Scholars, and attending the theatre production of A Clamour of Rooks.”

Favorite spot on campus

“Walking every day back and forth down Campus Drive never is the same, especially when you turn and look at the lake on your way to class. For more quiet times, I am quite fond of the each of the chapels on campus.”

Biggest surprise so far

“For a campus all stretched out on one short piece of road, you discover new things about it all the time — discovering locations unexplored by you (you’d be surprised what you don’t see every day!), finding new opportunities made available, equipment and machines you have not used before but are available when needed, and discovering bits of history of campus when passing through offices, buildings, and the library.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“Develop time management and scheduling skills in order to survive! Be able to structure your day so that you can get everything done, but still plan flex time to be able to enjoy an unexpected invitation by a friend, or enjoy a discussion with a group of classmates over a meal.”