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Zach Stanphill
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Zach Stanphill

Graduation year: 2018

Majors: History, Chinese

Activities: Varsity football, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Augie Acres, rugby, Chinese Table and the unexpected honor of being a Zeta (Zeta Phi Kappa sorority)! Surprisingly, one of my favorite experiences has been refereeing basketball (from intramural basketball my sophomore year to varsity high school basketball in Iowa and Illinois).

Post-grad plans: Take a gap year and apply to law schools for the 2019 academic year

Why Augustana?

I fell in love with the campus and connected with coaches and faculty during my visits. Additionally, the opportunity to travel abroad with the help of Augie Choice influenced my decision.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

Not at all! I never thought I’d study history or Chinese, referee basketball and play rugby, or travel through multiple Asian countries and even do research alone in Hong Kong.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I could not have had such a great experience without many faculty and staff helping me. Thanks to my professors and advisors Dr. Brian Leech, Hua-Mei Chang and Dr. Jen-Mei Ma for encouraging me to do whatever I wanted. Thank you to Dr. Bob Tallitsch for taking me personally under his wing on the East Asia trip—what a train ride! And finally, thanks to Don Umland for his tremendous investment of time and effort in helping me pursue a vocation in officiating. 

Peak experience?

My favorite memories come from my time in East Asia. Exploring ancient Japanese temples, falling down Mt. Fuji, stumbling through the streets of Tokyo, climbing waterfalls in Hong Kong, pushing through thousands of Chinese to see the Terracotta Soldiers, and finally relaxing on the sands of Hawaii all encompass the pinnacle of my experience here at Augie. 

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I went on the East Asia trip.

What will you miss the most?

I’ll miss my friends, La Ranch runs, and even my professors and boss. 

Advice for the Class of 2022?

Create passion and find meaning in what you study, commit to a sport or club, and party with people who love you—make a family.

“Zach Stanphill continues to be unafraid to follow his passions and to step outside of what’s comfortable. These characteristics will certainly help him to continue his success beyond college. His initiative in pursuing an independent trip to Hong Kong led to a successful Senior Inquiry project. With that project completed, instead of sitting back and relaxing during the spring of his senior year, Zach jumped into two independent studies on topics that he wanted to better understand. His dogged pursuit of knowledge will certainly serve him well after Augustana.”

– Dr. Brian Leech, assistant professor, history