Zackery Leist, a senior triple majoring in ag business, economics, and international agriculture, and minoring in agronomy, is one of seven outstanding seniors at Iowa State who was selected to receive the 2021 Wallace E. Barron All-University Senior Award from the ISU Alumni Association Awards Review and Selection Committee.
Zack said, "Winning the Wallace E. Barron award is an extreme honor and I am very grateful and humbled to be chosen as one of this year's recipients. I like to be involved in as much as I can to network with others and make the most of my college experience, so to me winning this award signifies that I've made the most out of my adventure here at Iowa State University."
When one considers his 3.85 GPA and his triple major, it would be easy to think that Zack is solely focused on his academics. But talk to anyone who knows him well and you’ll find out there’s so much more to him than his grades.
In addition to taking an active role in his fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, Zack has held leadership roles in several clubs, including the Ag Business Club and the Iowa Corn Grower’s Club, and was active in CALS Ambassadors, Senior Class Council, the Cultural Ambassador Program, and the Alpha Zeta Honors fraternity.
CALS alum Andrew Lauver has witnessed, “Zackery’s ability to lead by example, coach, and motivate others through public events hosted on campus. He has an innate ability to relate to others through his polite and humble approach to each individual and group conversation.”
In his time at Iowa State, Zack has traveled internationally to Brazil, Paris, London, Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia for study abroad and the EF Cultural Education Program, but has still found time to volunteer with Meals on Wheels, Highway Cleanup, the Senior Life Project, and AGR Philanthropy, among others. He has spoken to agricultural business orientation classes, as well as at the ISU Balance Conference and at the 2020 ISU Commencement.
Zack’s performance during his initial summer internship impressed those at Syngenta so much that they changed his position the second year to allow him more of the governmental affairs experience that he wanted.
Zack’s biggest contribution to Iowa State and his proudest moment was being chosen as the Board of Regents student member in 2019. Out of nearly 72,000 students, Zack was honored to be appointed to serve as a full voting member on the Board by Governor Kim Reynolds. In his role as vice chair of the Campus and Student Affairs Committee, Zack helps provide oversight and policy recommendations from a student perspective. Serving as a Regent is an extremely challenging and time-consuming position, especially while being a full-time student.
"Zack is an energetic young leader who has set ambitious academic goals for himself. Though he has a lot of energy and passion, he is also methodical and works through possibilities while seeking input before making a final decision,” said his advisor, Amy Brandau.
"I am extremely grateful for everyone I've gotten to interact with in the last four years; especially those who've made it such a memorable experience. The lessons and experiences that I had here at Iowa State University have ultimately shaped the person that I am today. Wherever I end up and whatever I am doing, I am confident my next adventure will be a good one because of everything I've taken away from Iowa State University," said Zack.
With his final spring semester at Iowa State in mind, Zack considered graduate school, but has decided to take a position with Syngenta following graduation in May 2021.
The Barron Award is named for Wallace E. “Red” Barron, Iowa State University Class of 1928, who served as director of alumni affairs on this campus from 1937 until 1968. With his drive and diverse academic training, leadership and work experience, Zack embodies the spirit of the Barron Award. The Department of Economics congratulates him on this prestigious honor.