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Zach Prystash Reflects on Kalamazoo College Experience

Photo of Zach Prystash playing baseball with a copy of a quote from the article.

After graduating from Kalamazoo College in June, Zach Prystash is starting his career as an associate surety underwriter with Liberty Mutual Surety in Troy, Michigan.

An economics major from Northville, Mich. (Northville High School), Zach made the most of his opportunities at K. He played baseball for the Hornets all four years, played summer collegiate ball in South Carolina and New York, completed three internships, and studied away in Washington D.C.

Zach worked as a product and marketing intern at Cammenga, a company that makes military-grade compasses. His second internship was at S&P Global in Washington, D.C., where he assisted lobbyists on Capitol Hill in the Government Affairs & Public Policy division. His third internship was as a financial analyst with Exponential ETFs in Detroit, assisting with daily trades, research, and marketing of the fund.

"Study away was by far the best and most rewarding experience I had during my time at K," Zach said. "I gained invaluable experience in a professional workplace on Capitol Hill with some amazing people. This experience was critical in expediting my growth as a young professional."

Zach gained additional investment experience while completing his SIP (Senior Individualized Project) under the guidance of his advisor, Dr. Hannah Epps. Zach analyzed ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and mutual funds before determining if the two investment products were substitutable with one another.

Zach also remains grateful to Professor Chuck Stull, recognized as his Most Valuable Professor this spring.

"Professor Stull genuinely cares about his students and the work they do," Zach said. "I can always count on him to have an open door and to offer helpful advice. Professor Stull is an avid supporter of K athletics and student-athletes, and I am grateful for his contributions to my development academically, intellectually, and professionally."

Zach credits Kalamazoo College for being influential in his development as an athlete and a young professional.

"K further developed my critical thinking and analysis skills, which have allowed me to excel on the field, in the classroom, and in the workplace," he said. "In addition, K has provided me with a vast network of alumni, faculty, and students. This network played a crucial role in landing internships and, ultimately, my first job post-graduation."

Zach made some amazing catches in the outfield during his career on the Kalamazoo College baseball team. He had career highs in hits (4) and RBIs (5) in a win over Hope in 2018, and was off to a strong start to the 2020 season, hitting .308 before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Life as a student-athlete is an extremely challenging yet rewarding experience," Zach said. "Whether it be shoulder surgery or a rough stretch of games, my time at K taught me to keep working hard, embrace the challenge, and never succumb to adversity. Whether it's a term paper or a crucial weekend game, you must embrace the challenge and face it head-on. Never take this experience for granted because once it's over, it's over. Enjoy what you do; give it your all and have no regrets."