Kara Von Holten, Academic Success Specialist (Undergraduate Advising)

Kara Von Holten, once a small town girl from Missouri, has made her way to the Phoenix metro area and to the ASU English undergraduate academic success team. With prior experience as an advisor with the university’s School of Social Transformation, Von Holten loves working with students because every day is different.

“Each day brings its own unique challenges which can make for fun problem-solving,” says Von Holten, who has an undergraduate degree in health sciences from the University of Missouri and a master’s in academic advising from Kansas State University. “You never know what kinds of questions students are going to ask or where the conversations will go” she observes. “It’s rewarding when I know I’ve addressed their questions or relieved any worry they might have been having.”

Not only is Von Holten an experienced and committed advisor, she also volunteers her time with College Connect Tempe, a college access program through the City of Tempe. The program works with members of the community to navigate the process of college and secondary education opportunities through workshops and one-on-one advising sessions. Workshops are held at Tempe Public Library and local high schools throughout the school year as a way to engage with the community. FAFSA night is a major event where volunteers work with families to help them complete their FAFSAs (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

“It’s exciting being a part of their journey,” Von Holten says of her advisees. “College is such a pivotal moment and it can be rewarding to work with undergraduate students as they navigate through college, exploring their passions and trying to determine where they want to go after.”

Von Holten and her husband, Kevin, are both transplants to the Phoenix area and enjoy Arizona and the desert. She admits that they don’t think they could ever move back to the Midwest. But they love to travel, especially to national parks. Yosemite National Park is Von Holton’s favorite.

“It’s so serene and you feel extremely small when you’re standing in the valley looking up at the summits,” she says. “It’s just a breathtaking place to be.”

In her spare time, Von Holten studies Spanish and enjoys spending time outdoors—hiking, biking, running, playing tennis or just lounging by the pool and reading, especially nonfiction, history, and travel writing. Fascinated with the history of New York, she is currently reading Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898.

After a busy advising day and after the chores are done, Von Holten and her husband relax with their cat, Rigby, who loves watching the lizards crawl around in their backyard.

Sheila Luna

Image: Courtesy photo of Kara Von Holten hiking in Zion National Park.