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Friday, October 31, 2014

Top 5 most influential students: Zach Beattie

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Maneater File Photo

Senior Zach Beattie never stops.

His résumé is stacked high with impressive accomplishments that would have been sufficient in their own right. He made the Comedy Wars team his freshman year. He was a Summer Welcome leader going into his sophomore year. He co-founded the Mizzou Unity Coalition, an organization helping students with disabilities, during his sophomore year. He was a Summer Welcome student coordinator going into his junior year. He was elected vice president of the Missouri Students Association his junior year. He won the Mizzou Entrepreneurship Program at the end of his junior year, allowing him to create his own store, Quirks, his senior year. And he created an iPhone app called SafeTrek his senior year that landed him on “Good Morning America,” right in time for graduation.

With this endless list of achievements (we left some out), it would be hard to consider Beattie anything but a very determined student.

Beattie began right when he got to campus; after watching one of Comedy Wars’ performances early his freshman year, Beattie began the six-month audition process to become a member of the cult-classic comedy team. Every Wednesday night, for the next four years of his college career, Beattie could be found on stage, performing for a packed house.

“Comedy Wars was the one things that was 100-percent fun for me all the time,” he said. “Even when I was managing the team and doing things from an administrative side, it was always fun.”

Beattie was simultaneously working on another major project, too — something that would be a common theme throughout Beattie’s time at MU.

Still new to MU himself, Beattie applied to be a Summer Welcome leader and was one of eight freshmen that year who were selected to help orient incoming freshmen to MU.

When Beattie returned to campus his sophomore year, he took on one of his more impactful roles as the co-founder of the Mizzou Unity Coalition. The idea for the organization came during Beattie’s freshman year when he, Caleb Phillips and other students went on an Alternative Spring Break group to Charleston, S.C., to help people with disabilities. When they returned, they realized they could continue that work at MU, and in no time, they had events like “End the Word Week” and “Celebrate Abilities Week.”

Junior year, Beattie and Nick Droege overwhelmingly won the MSA presidential election with 84 percent of the total votes. In January, right after inauguration, Beattie began work on MSA’s $1.7-million budget, the revenue for which was soon cut by roughly $87,000.

“It was the first time that I felt like a real decision maker and that my decisions had real impact,” he said. “It was a huge lesson in decision making that I think made me a better person in the long run.”

But again, even outside the vice president’s office, Beattie was still working to make MU a better place. He and then-juniors Natalie Cheng, Kate Gallagher and Devin Kelsey created a consignment shop for student artists to sell their work. Quirks then brought in 12 interns to work the store and over 120 artists to sell their art.

“I think it went well,” Beattie said, considering the store brought in an estimated $16,000 to student artists. “That’s really neat that you’re able to say you helped give that money back to students who are trying to make it through college.”

Simultaneously, Beattie was also tackling campus safety with mobile app SafeTrek. Beattie was part of the three-person team that submitted the idea to the RJI Windows 8 App Development Contest in April 2013. The group won the contest and, by the end of Beattie’s senior year, the app had grown in popularity so much that on April 13, Beattie was on a flight to New York to talk about the app on “Good Morning America.”

The day after he landed back in Missouri, Beattie won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

“I felt like that week was really the pinnacle of my college career,” Beattie said. “I didn’t get a lot of homework done that week.”

Now, as Beattie is just weeks away from graduation, he is embarking on a bright future. He will be working for a startup e-commerce company in Phoenix while also having a hand in the future of SafeTrek.

But if we know one thing about Beattie, he’ll find even more things to do.

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