When you attend an event at Columbia College, there is a high probability that junior Zoe Davis either will be in attendance or she played a critical role in its execution behind the scenes. Through groups like student leadership programs and student organizations, individuals like Davis have the ability to positively impact the college’s student body in a variety of ways.


As Davis concludes her third year at the college’s main campus in Columbia, Missouri, she has been the recipient of countless awards and recognitions. A standout student in the classroom, evidenced by her Dean’s List accolades in each semester at the college thus far, Davis quickly earned the respect of faculty and staff.


Zoe Davis received the Emerging Leader Award at the 2022 Columbia College Night of Recognition. Photo by Columbia College Photographer & Graphic Designer Abigail Wade.

Her academic excellence and active role at the college resulted in a major award at the 2022 Night of Recognition, a yearly event hosted by the Division of Student Affairs to honor students, faculty and staff who exceptionally impact the college. Davis brought home the hardware for the “Emerging Leader Award,” as she continued to make extraordinary strides throughout the college community even as an underclassman.


Arguably Davis’ top accomplishment at the college began during her sophomore year and continued throughout the recent 2022-23 school year as a junior. Under the guidance of Associate Professors of Physical & Biological Sciences Dr. Tara Martin and Dr. Kent Strodtman, Davis worked tirelessly to revitalize the Columbia College Science & Pre-Health Professions Club. The dedication ultimately paid off, as the organization was reborn and she was later named club president.


“Zoe is a very driven student and is determined to make things happen,” Dr. Martin says. “Alongside her fellow Science Club members, they worked with campus facilities to see what could be accomplished. Zoe took the lead and organized students inside and outside the club to help maintain the new garden. You can tell she is the type of person who is laser-focused on achieving her goals.”


Beginning in Summer 2022, Davis and fellow Science Club members launched a brand-new garden on campus. Currently consisting of tomato and pepper plants, the student-led initiative helps support the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.


“This was my biggest goal as president of the Science & Pre-Health Professions Club and the college did everything in its power to support me,” Davis says. “We started with one 22-by-14 foot plot of land, but have already tilled four additional large plots to expand our garden’s capabilities.


“We have had support not only from Science Club members, but all students at the college. Countless individuals have dedicated endless hours to this project and I am incredibly grateful for their support. Between interactive events and expanding our garden-specific positions, there were so many advancements with this project in 2022-23 and I am so excited to watch it continue to grow!”


Columbia College Science Club members pose in front of their brand-new garden on main campus. (L-R): Kenzie Rutledge, Kristen Kelly, Zoe Davis, Hana Farrington and Gigi Jackson. Photo by Columbia College Photographer & Graphic Designer Abigail Wade.


While additional lifetime memories surely await as a senior in 2023-24, Davis has already pinpointed the Science Club garden’s success as something she’ll never forget.


“Making the local news for our garden was a great memory,” Davis says. “The club’s officers met at the garden after a long day of classes, thinking we were doing one interview for a local newspaper. However, when we arrived, we were surprised to see additional news journalists and TV cameras! It was so fun to read the final news stories, as well as see ourselves on the nightly news. It was very rewarding to get recognized for our hard work on this project!”