About Me

Alcatraz 2019

San Francisco Botanical Gardens 2019
(Zach and Drew)

How did my educational and industry journey lead me to APEX at Waukee?

Born and raised in Ohio, I attended Bowling Green State University for chemistry and biology. After my B.S. degree, I wanted more education and went right into graduate school at Purdue University. My graduate program was a specialized chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences. Pharmacognosy (or natural products chemistry) is the study of compounds from nature for the benefit of society in terms of medicinal or nutritional uses. As a graduate teaching assistant (or TA as it is known), I ran the chemistry labs and proctored exams that the Purdue pharmacy students took as part of their education. I studied the isolation of compounds and chemical structure identification from extracts made from plants. My graduate degree cost me $0 and I got paid a monthly stipend to live on. It was not a scholarship. Ask me how!

After obtaining my Ph.D. in research, I worked for two different companies (Metagenics, Inc. in CA and Kemin Health in IA) in the nutrition industry as a research scientist and product development manager. It was at these two companies that I not only used my technical skills, but also developed my business skills. When working as a scientist in industry (no matter what company), people have to think and work in cross-functional teams. There were many times when I presented to customers, made difficult decisions on new products (go vs. no-go) and used critical problem solving skills in a fast-paced environment. Working with individuals in R and D, quality control, marketing, sales, production, and engineering required complex communication skills everyday. Being in industry allowed me to improve the health of people, publish, present research, obtain patents, and solve problems. I attribute my success in industry by having 21st century skills (universal constructs), which include complex communication, critical thinking, flexibility and adaptability, productivity and accountability, creativity, and collaboration.

I transitioned into the secondary education arena in 2012 and taught AP Chemistry and Chemistry I at Waukee High School for three years. Why? I wanted to be an inspiration for students who wanted to go into a scientific field. I knew I could offer students a different perspective on science after working in industry first. Then along came CAPS/APEX and the rest is history. APEX is such a great opportunity for the students of Waukee and the community/business partners. For the 2019-20 school year, I have the pleasure of teaching both the “Health Sciences & Medicine” course along with “Medical & Bioscience Research” which will be based at the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center (WILC) but will also take place at business partners in the area that have medical, research and lab project needs.

I have a husband, Steve who works for Hewlett Packard Enterprise and two sons, Drew (8th grade at Prairieview School) and Zach (6th grade at Waukee Middle School). I enjoy reading, movies, and running (when I can).
Brooklyn Bridge Summer 2018
Zach and Drew Statue of Liberty Summer 2018
Zach and Drew NYC Lower Manhattan Skyline Summer 2018

Please let me know if you have any questions about APEX, my background or science in general! I love to help students plan their high school schedules to match interest and college planning.

Have a great school year! —Holly Showalter, Ph.D.

●2018 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher of the Year (Iowa Governor’s STEM Council), South Central Division.
●2017 Women of Innovation Finalist for STEM Champion (Technology Association of Iowa).
●Led the APEX Waukee High School team to win the Iowa Wild/DMU STEM Night Competition ($1000 award to program), April 2015.
●Praxis II-Chemistry Content Exam Recognition of Excellence (Top 15%), November, 2011.
●Frederick Khachik (University of Maryland), Yufa Liu (Kemin Health), and Holly Showalter (Kemin Health). 2005 Collaboration Success Award from the Council for Chemical Research.
●Kemin Chairman’s Retreat award trip to Phuket, Thailand 2003.
●Kemin President’s Award for Outstanding Peer-Reviewed Publication (Hosny & Johnson, 2002).

1. Hosny, M., Johnson, H. A., Ueltschy, A. K., Rosazza, J.P.N. Oxidation, Reduction, and Methylation of Carnosic Acid by Nocardia. J. Nat. Prod., 65: 1266-1269, 2002.
2. Johnson, H. A., Oberlies, N.H., Alali, F.Q., and McLaughlin, J.L. Thwarting Resistance: Annonaceous Acetogenins as New Pesticidal and Antitumor Agents, In: Cutler, S.J. and Cutler, H.G. (eds.), Biologically Active Natural Products: Pharmaceuticals, pp. 173-183, CRC Press, New York, NY, 2000.
3. Johnson, H. A., Gordon, J., and McLaughlin, J. L. Monthly Variations in the Biological Activity of Asimina triloba. In: Janick, J. (ed.), Progress in New Crops, Proceedings of the Third National Symposium, pp. 609-613, ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA., 1996.
4. Alfonso, D., Johnson, H. A., Colman-Saizarbitoria, T., Presley, C. P., McCabe, G. P., McLaughlin, J. L. SARs of Annonaceous acetogenins in rat liver mitochondria. Natural Toxins, 4: 181-188, 1996.
5. Johnson, H. A., Rogers, L. L., Alkire, M. L., McLaughlin, J. L., McCloud, T. G. Bioactive monoterpenes from Monarda fistulosa L. (Lamiaceae), Nat. Prod. Lett., 11: 241-250, 1998.
6. Gu, Z.-M., Zhou, D., Lewis, N. J., Wu, J., Johnson, H. A., McLaughlin, J. L., Gordon, J. Quantitative evaluation of Annonaceous acetogenins in monthly samples of paw paw (Asimina triloba) twigs by liquid chromatography/ electrospray ionization/ tandem mass spectrometry, Phytochem. Anal., 10: 32-38, 1999.

1. Khackik, F., Liu, Y., Showalter, H. “Process for the preparation of β- and α-cyptoxanthin”, U.S. Patent #8,097,762, issued Jan. 17, 2012.
2. Showalter, H., DeFreitas, Z, and Mortensen, L (DMU Professor). “Method of Improving Cardiovascular Health”, U.S. Patent #8,021,698, issued Sept. 20, 2011.

Dr. Showalter measuring blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR rats) at Des Moines University in 2007. This experiment led to the Showalter U.S. patent #8,021,698. This patent is owned by Kemin Industries.

3. Krumhar, K. and Johnson, H. “Composition for Promoting Healthy Bone Structure”, U.S. Patent #7,029,703, issued April 18, 2006.
4. Johnson, H. A., Ueltschy, A. K., Newman, J., Newman, A., Kremenak, J, DeFreitas, Z., Ausich, R. “Solutions of Carotenoids for Use in Foods and Personal Care Products”, U.S. Patent # 6,844,020, issued Jan. 18, 2005.
5. Krumhar, K. and Johnson, H. “Composition for Promoting Healthy Bone Structure”, U.S. Patent # 6,447,809, issued Sept. 10, 2002.