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Zoe’s steady individuality

By Allayne Thomas

Surprising, but true: North Carolina summer months have much in common with Zoe Pharo.

They are both in transition, but not in a hurry; both are warm to approach, but with moderate periods.

But Pharo breaks the trend by embracing new ideas, while maintaining her individuality.

Uncommonly, Pharo enjoys playing ping-pong, one way the 17-year-old teen likes to connect with her father after a long day at work.

However, she does not stop at the mini game of table tennis. Pharo’s favorite activity is tennis because it is a strategic game where you can learn and change every time you play.

It matches her, an only child who described herself as clever and aware. If you need someone to crack a clever little comment to break out a smile, she is there.

Pharo said she gets this awareness and kindness for others from her parents. With a mother who is a psychologist and a father who is a therapist, she is more attuned to others than the average teen. She is the type to involve others in the discussion or to encourage others to express themselves first rather than ignore those around her.

Most of all, her parents, particularly her father, have had a hand in developing her open mindset to shape her future and not let it shape her. Among her classmates, Pharo notices how many waste their time on things they do not appreciate simply to pad their college applications

“I wouldn’t want to do something just because it’ll help me get higher up the totem pole,” a mindset she said she would have developed no matter what.

Her father, whose path was anything but typical, is a role model to her. His meandering path led him from college student to a dropout living in caves in Spain to a career as a therapist, completely the opposite of Pharo’s mother, who graduated from Duke.

However, both have come together to raise the genuine Pharo, showing “that you can really follow what you want” in life, go against the grain (like her father) and be accomplished.

She will take this same quiet, yet strong nature to the fields of both medicine and journalism. Pharo aims to pair her two loves in the future, with an aim to bring more accessibility and connection between the science field and the public through her reporting.

“I think that would be really cool so that English doesn’t get separated from science.”

In her observations she laments that science can be closed off. “I would hate to think that collaboration stops at some point. Or you don’t have any communication between different fields.”

With strong direction toward two different disciplines, Pharo hopes to combine them, all the while keeping a steady individuality. Her spirit is summed up in her own words: “Sometimes you have to really go with what you care about.”