Student Profile: Zander Atwood
It is characteristic of a liberal arts education to offer experience in a variety of fields. If a student seeks to satisfy their curiosity, Aquinas provides the opportunities to do just that, regardless of one’s academic major. This challenge to broaden one’s experience can be taken a step further through the Insignis program and AQ senior Zander Atwood ‘14, took advantage of these opportunities to gain a one-of-a-kind liberal arts education.
Aquinas drew Atwood for several reasons. Coming from a high school graduating class of sixty students, the small college atmosphere and student-to-professor ratio were a big encouragement. Among other reasons, the beauty of the campus and the uniqueness of the city of Grand Rapids appealed to him.
A business administration and sports management double major with a communication minor, Atwood has known since high school what career he wanted to pursue. His dream job is to be an agent for professional sports players, especially in baseball. Atwood would also like to pursue a law degree.
During the 2013-2014 academic year, as part of his Insignis requirements, Atwood completed his senior project. Involving extensive research and time, the project evaluated contracts in the NFL and MLB, especially concerning why teams are willing to pay big name players enormous salaries when there are cheaper, but just as talented, players available.
The senior project was more than relevant to Atwood’s career aspirations, but other opportunities through the Insignis program have given him a chance to explore different topics. Required to take one Insignis seminar class - designed each semester by Insignis students - Atwood has taken two. One seminar explored the mythology and theology of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; the other concerned the characteristics and mythology of superheroes in popular comics. These unusual topics allowed Atwood to expand his interests and learning experience.
The community service requirement of the Insignis Program pushed Atwood to become involved in the community in a more significant way. He expressed his appreciation, explaining that, “through Insignis, I’ve gotten to do a lot more opportunities in community service that I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere else.” He has served multiple times as a volunteer for ArtPrize, served as a leader for the Heartside Pride Cleansweep event and was a member of the Orientation Leader staff.
Atwood’s further involvement at Aquinas included membership on the bowling team, where he served as the player manager for the JV team and earned several awards including the NAIA All-Academic Team, NAIA Champions of Character Team, and Aquinas College's Men's Bowling Team Anchor Award. He was also a member of the Sport Management Club during his four years at AQ.
Atwood walked at Commencement in May, but won’t officially earn his degree until he completes an internship at Disney World that spans May to January. Atwood, who has unfailingly followed the path towards his dream, urges the same to other Aquinas students. “Don’t let anything else get in the way of what you want to become. If you push yourself hard enough and try to succeed as best as you possibly can, you will make it to where you want to be.”