By Damon Markiewicz

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Zach came to Springfield College to play baseball at the urging of his high school baseball coach, a Springfield College alum himself. He came in as a business major, but COVID and an unexpected knee surgery changed everything.

Zach recently graduated from Springfield College with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. He credits this change and his drive to succeed to two people, his mom, a speech therapist, and his advisor and Chair of the Department of Health Sciences, Debra Burnett. “Debbie is invested in the lives of her students,” added Zach. “I can’t think of many people who replicate the amount of care and time that she puts into her students.”

Once he made the change in his major, Zach consistently found himself with a GPA of 3.7 or higher. It was finding his community here that lifted him up and drove him to succeed. “A big part of Humanics is treating people equally,” added Zach. “For example, there is a level of superiority between a professor and a student, but you can still treat them more as an equal to make them feel like they matter.”

Zach hopes to do the same for others—especially those on the autism spectrum.

“I have a cousin with autism, and talking with him and being with him is an interesting perspective,” added Zach. “I’ve always enjoyed working with kids, and that is something I truly love to do each day.”

As he prepares to enter grad school, Zach reflects back on his four-years at Springfield College. “Honestly, the first year and a half was rough, and COVID was tough, but once I found my people, and switched my major, it all clicked,” added Zach.

Soon, many of his friends and professors will become colleagues, but one thing is for sure. “I want to stay connected with Springfield College,” added Zach. “I saw that in the people who went here before me. I have watched alumni invest in the lives of students, showing they care, and that makes me want to do the same. ”

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