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Earning his Wings

Senior expands his horizons through immersion in campus community 

When Zachary Allen, ’24, arrived at Bridgewater State University from Scranton, Pennsylvania, he had never set foot on campus. All he knew about the school he was about to attend was based on an online search that highlighted the school’s aviation flight program, an area he was interested in. 

“I showed up here in August of 2020, took a COVID test in the parking lot, then moved into my dorm. My parents dropped me off and left,” he said. College, he figured back then, was meant to be an easy-going time in a young person’s life. 

A lot has changed in four years.   

Today, Zach represents his peers as student trustee on the BSU board of trustees, a role he takes seriously.   

“As student trustee I’ve learned that every single thing the university does is for the benefit of the students,” he said. “I listen to everyone’s experiences, struggles, and praises and take that information to provide the board with the students’ perspective. I get to be the students’ voice.”  

How did he go from knowing very little about BSU to being fully immersed in the Bridgewater community? The answer to that question is easy, he got involved.   

“Being involved is important to me because it gives me the ability to go above and beyond what’s expected of me and what the normal degree path would entail,” Zach said. “Being involved helps me understand where other people come from.” 

While at BSU, the management major has been very involved in the university’s aviation program.   

A three-year member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, Zach was selected as Cadet of the Month twice and Cadet of the Semester once. He is also an instrument-rated private pilot, having logged more than 200 hours.   

After graduating from BSU next month, Zach will bring his experience to the United States Air Force, where he was recently awarded an active-duty pilot slot. He was selected to represent his chosen military branch at the highly competitive fighter-based Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training and will be training at Sheppard AFB in Texas.  

“Since I could remember, I’ve wanted to fly,” he said, that it was his grandparents taking him to airshows growing up that planted the seed.   

BSU’s aviation program has helped him prepare for the next leg of his journey.   

“The experience I gained, in an environment where I was held to a certain standard…BSU has really put me in a position that set me apart from my peers,” Zach said.   

When he wasn’t up in the sky, Zach was just as busy while on terra firma. 

During his undergraduate career, he also worked as a photographer for the BSU Marketing and Communications Division, was a member of the Student Government Association, and served as a student police cadet with the Bridgewater State University Police Department.   

Each experience exposed him to different people, programs, and opportunities across campus.   

“There are a lot of really great opportunities at Bridgewater that not many people may know about,” he said. “The opportunities and experiences have all helped me develop as a whole.”  

His biggest takeaway, however, is the importance of listening.  

“Listening, and understanding other people’s point-of-view, that’s how we all grow. A lot of people don’t understand the importance of listening,” he said.   

As he gets ready to spread his wings, Zach is ready to leave Bridgewater feeling more prepared than he was the first time he set foot on campus.    

“My biggest lesson learned from Bridgewater is strengthening my communication skills. I’ve become better at understanding people, how they work. I’ve also been able to help others learn about the resources and tools that are available for students to do great things and reach their own goals.”  

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