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Zack Byam is a graduate student at West Virginia University, pursuing a master’s degree in community and mental health.
Originally from Washington, D.C., Zack Byam is a 24-year-old graduate student living in West Virginia. He attends West Virginia University, where he is majoring in community and mental health. Zack is on track to finish his program and earn his master’s degree in May of 2014. So far, he has been a stellar student and currently has a grade point average of 3.8 out of 4.0.
Along with excelling in the classroom, Zack has excelled in extracurricular activities. He is a member of Chi Sigma Iota, the counseling honor society. Zack also serves as historian for the West Virginia University chapter of the society.
West Virginia University is a public land grant university located in Morgantown. It has several other campuses located throughout the state, as well as extension services in every county in West Virginia. The school was founded as the Agricultural College of West Virginia in 1867, but was renamed West Virginia University in 1868 to better reflect the course offerings and commitment to higher education.
Today, the school is home to more than 300 student organizations, as well as nearly 30 Greek societies and 17 sports teams. The school's teams have taken home several national championship titles. West Virginia University was once a member of the Big East Conference but became a member of the Big 12 conference in 2012. Zack Byam is proud to be a student at West Virginia University and hopes to use his education to improve the lives of others.
Growing up in Washington, D.C., Zack Byam attended high school at the Edmund Burke School, a private college prep school. The school is located in the NW section of the city, on Connecticut Avenue. It was named for the philosopher Edmund Burke, who founded the school of thought of modern conservatism. The school was founded by Dick Roth and Jean Mooski in 1968.
While a high school student, Zack Byam was involved in a number of activities and received several honors. He received the Senior Award for Excellence in French. Byam was also a peer counselor during all four years of his high school career and a member of the Burke Leadership Team for three years. He was also the assistant editor for the high school's yearbook and the founder and co-president of the AIDS Awareness Club.
After graduating from high school, Zack Byam attended pursued a bachelor’s degree at Earlham College, in Indiana. The school is a liberal arts college that was founded by Quakers in 1847. Byam earned his bachelor’s in 2011. He majored in psychology and minored in education. He finished college with a GPA of 3.05 out of 4.0.
Earlham College was the second Quaker college in the United States. Haverford College, in Pennsylvania, was the first. It was also the second college in the country to be co-educational, or to admit both male and female students. Oberlin College, in Ohio, was the first co-ed school. The school originally opened as a high school, but added college-level classes in 1859. At first, only those who were members of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, were admitted to the school. In 1865, the school began to admit non-Quakers.
The school ranks twenty-ninth in the country in the number of students who go on to pursue graduate level degrees. Since it is a Quaker school, there is a strong emphasis on volunteer work and community service. Zack Byam fit right in as a student due to his commitment to helping others. While in college, he worked with Amnesty International, the Boys and Girls Club and several other volunteer organizations.
As a student, Zack was involved with Amnesty International. He organized student letter writing campaigns and served as the regional liaison from 2007 until 2010. Amnesty International is dedicated to putting an end to human rights abuses around the world. The organization was founded in London in 1961 by Peter Benenson.
Benenson had published an editorial in the Observer newspaper called "The Forgotten Prisoners." He had the idea for the editorial after reading the story of two students in Portugal who were imprisoned for speaking out against the government. In 1977, the organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work against torture. It received the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.
Boys and Girls Club
During his college years, Zack Byam had the opportunity to volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County, in Richmond, Indiana. The Boys and Girls Club is a nationwide organization that is made up of local chapters. It was founded in 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut, as the Boys Club. A group of Boys Clubs merged together in 1906 to form a national organization. In 1990, the name of the organization officially became the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
The organization's mission is to "promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence" through programs and services. As a volunteer with the organization, Zack worked with disadvantaged young people to help them fulfill their potential. The activities sponsored by the club included a number of sports programs.
The Boys and Girls Clubs is the official charity of Major League Baseball. The organization has been ranked as the number one youth organization in the country by "The Chronicle of Philanthropy." The journal ranked the organization number 12 out of all charitable organizations.
Teach South Africa
Zack also volunteered with the organization TEACH South Africa. He spent time in orphanages throughout the country during the summer between his junior and senior year in high school. As a volunteer, he worked with children who were affected by HIV/AIDS. He also helped created food gardens for families who were living with the AIDS virus.
Rachel's Women's Center
One volunteer opportunity that really opened Zack Byam's eyes was working at Rachel's Women's Center. The Center is located in Washington, D.C. and helps women who are homeless or were once homeless to become independent. It gives women shelter and a place to take a shower, wash their clothing and enjoy meals.
Zack Byam is also extremely committed to helping homeless and formerly homeless women to make a new life for themselves. He has worked extensively with Rachel’s Women’s Center, which is located in Washington, D.C. This invaluable support system for those who may lack shelter, support, or career prospects has saved countless lives and provided comfort and asylum for hundreds of downtrodden women and their children. The organization reaches out to women who are currently living on the street and encourages them to take advantage of the services available.
Zack Byam minored in education in college and has worked in a number of schools and after school programs. During college, he interned at Kingsbury Day School, where he worked with learning disabled children between the ages of six and eight. He taught them math and reading skills. As an intern, he also assisted with field trips.
After graduating from college, he worked at the afterschool program at the John Eaton Elementary School in Washington, D.C. In the afterschool program, he assisted students with their homework and supervised them. Before the afterschool program, he worked as a private tutor, working one-on-one with a mentally-disabled adult student on reading and listening comprehension. He also spent time working as a camp counselor and as a radio news reporter while in college.
Zack Byam plans to finish his graduate degree program in the spring of 2014. After earning his master’s degree in community and mental health, he hopes to be able to work with students at the high school and college level. It's very important to him to be able to help others improve their lives and to have an impact on the lives of others.
Volunteering with a number of organizations throughout the course of his academic career has allowed Zack to see where his skills are needed and has allowed him to see the extent to which people need help in the world. Although many of the groups he has worked with such as Amnesty International and TEACH South Africa are internationally focused, some are more close to home. The women assisted by Rachel's Women's Center are living in the same town Zack Byam grew up in. Many children who join the Boys and Girls Club go on to become well-known people in American culture, such as Denzel Washington.
In addition to helping people and to dedicating his career to public service, Zack is also committed to helping the planet. He understands that more effort is needed to preserve the Earth for future generations. In college, he worked with the Cope Environmental Center, a project dedicated to sustainability and protecting the planet. Byam realizes that a greater focus on the environment and ways to protect it is needed for the future. He encourages everyone to learn about ways to be more sustainable and to help the earth.
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