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Zach Amsler Awarded 2020-21 Academic Excellence in the Masters

Pictures of Zach Amsler (and his dog) with award title and Cherry Picker Boom Truck Shots byJustin Torner - Staff Photograph

Zach Amsler, who is due to graduate this May 2021, was chosen to receive an award for “Academic Excellence in the Masters Program” for 2021-21. This honor recognizes academic prowess, the variety and difficulty of courses taken along the way, as well as instructor feedback.

Zach was kind enough to reflect upon this award, his time at Iowa, his very path to Computer Science, as well as what comes next for him:

How did your High School and undergraduate studies lead you to the U. of Iowa as an MCS student and Barkmeier|Tice Scholarship recipient?

When I first started my undergraduate degree, I was not sure what I wanted to do. The head of the math department reached out to me and recommended that I take math and computer science courses. Him reaching out to me helped me discover my passion for math and computer science. I learned a lot from him and the other professors at Grand View. They taught me more than just math and computer science concepts, they also taught me just how interesting this field can be. I talked with my professors a lot while deciding what to do after I graduated, and I owe much of my success at Iowa to them and what they taught me.

How was your experience at Iowa -- including research, courses (as student &/or TA), and other outside-the-department endeavors?

I absolutely loved my time at Iowa. I was able to take courses in many different branches of computer science and they were able to challenge me in ways that my undergrad courses didn't. I met a lot of very smart and interesting people. Being a TA was very rewarding to me as I felt I was able to pass down some of the information I have learned and hopefully helped students have the same passion for the subject that I do. I am very grateful that I was able to play club volleyball during my time at Iowa, as it is something that I love to do, and I am glad I was able to keep competing at a high level.

What’s next for you post graduation?

I will start full time as a software engineer here in Iowa City at a company called College Raptor. My fiancée is in med school at Iowa so we are planning on staying in Iowa City until she finds out where her residency will be.

What advice do you have for our students?

Iowa has a ton of great resources and if you feel like you need any help at all, please make use of these. The professors and TAs are always looking to help students so go to their office hours as much as possible to make sure you understand the content completely. Also make friends with the people who are in your classes. It is a lot more helpful and fun to have a study group of people you know rather than trying to go at it yourself.