Actively Raising Awareness

Emmaus Holder stands with bike

Emmaus Holder ’24 has always considered himself an adventurous person. He has been on numerous hiking and backpacking trips, and he’s traveled around the world, including to Tanzania and Djibouti just this spring.

This summer, the Carolina sophomore took his adventurous nature to another level.

Over the span of 56 days, the Morehead-Cain Scholar cycled 4,300 miles from Topsail Beach, North Carolina, to Los Angeles, California, in a solo, self-supported ride.

The experience was more than just about racking up miles on his bike, though. Holder tied his academic and personal passions into the adventure, turning it into a research opportunity and a chance to bring awareness to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, which can cause physical and learning problems.

The towns along Holders’ meandering route linked researchers working on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, support groups and the services designed to help families. From town to town, Holder stopped to meet with researchers and learn more about their challenges and successes — ultimately compiling dozens of interviews that he’ll turn into a research paper.

“This is something that is going to be one of the best things I will ever do in my life,” he said. “It was absolutely the best way I could have spent my summer. This is something that is going to be very special for me for the rest of my life.”

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