October 12, 2007

Zachary Cleary ’10 Finds the Perfect Fit at Lafayette

International studies and engineering program is the ideal path for this versatile student

Zachary Cleary ’10 (South Glastonbury, Conn.) has no boundaries when it comes to his academic goals. He is currently pursuing a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an A.B. with majors in international studies and Russian and Eastern European studies. His rigorous degree combination is a rare occurrence. In the past few years, only two other students have graduated with a similar combination. The following is a personal account of how Lafayette was able to accommodate this multi-faceted student in pursuing all of his interests.

When it was time for me to go to college, I wanted to study mechanical engineering, but I didn’t want to abandon the French and Russian language studies I had begun in high school – comprised of seven years of French and six years of Russian.

Ironically, it was my friend who was looking at Lafayette’s website that told me about the College’s international studies and engineering program. She said it sounded like it was exactly what I was looking for, and that I should pursue it.

After meeting with several faculty members including professors Leonard Van Gulick and Rado Pribic, I decided that the dual major program would be perfect. Additionally, I found out that it would be possible for me to pursue three majors: a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an A.B. with majors in international studies and Russian & East European studies. It is possible to do this because the Russian and international studies majors mix so well, and because I was already so far ahead in my Russian studies.

I was particularly attracted to this option because although I find engineering to be very interesting, I ultimately want to get involved in business and earn an MBA. I believe the analytical thought process fostered by engineering is perfect for business minds, and I will also be capable of traveling to other countries and communicating.

Let me stress that it is not necessary to overload every semester to have three majors, but in order to finish in four years, I am trying to fit classes in over summers and overloading. I am currently studying physics, statics, medieval Russian history, Russian short story, international politics, and German.

The German class is to prepare me for my semester abroad this coming spring with Lafayette’s engineering department. I also plan to take an interim trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg in December 2008/January 2009.

In my spare time, I am a member of Lafayette’s ROTC program (Army Reserve Officers Training Corps) and plan to join the Easton Emergency Squad as a volunteer emergency medical technician.

So far, I have loved every moment of Lafayette, and my majors for that matter. I highly recommend this route to anyone who finds him or herself to be capable of more than just one dimension of education.

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