Student Spotlight

Zachary Hersey Law Enforcement and Administration Senior

Kayla Trail

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Although senior Zachary Hershey has been all around the world, he  chose to settle down in Macomb, Illinois, to attend Western Illinois University for its law enforcement and justice administration (LEJA) program.

 The LEJA program is described on Western’s page as “the largest criminal justice program in the state of Illinois,” as well as ranking “among the top programs in the United States.”

 “Its law enforcement program is one of the better ones,”
Hershey said. “It is something that has always interested me. It goes hand in hand with the military.”

 Hershey followed after both of his uncles, his aunt and both maternal and paternal grandparents on enlisting in the military in October of 2012, saying, “It is pretty much a family job, my whole family has done it.”

 He jokes that his parents “were the smart ones” by not joining the military; however, while not serving for their country, his parents are making their mark on the world in their own way.

 “My parents are both very successful,” Hershey said. “But they didn’t start out that way. Both of them worked their way up from the bottom and worked long hours and very  hard to get where they both are today.”

 Hershey’s father owns two architecture firms and does designing for them as well as designing part of their family home in Ohio, and still is “hands on (and) goes out and does a lot of jobsites and designs.”

 Hershey’s mother is the Vice President Consumer and Marketplace Insights at Nestle S.A.

 “Between my mom being a (vice president) for a major company and my dad owning two architecture firms, they are both very well off,” Hershey said. “When I was looking for schools, money wasn’t a big worry for me; I knew I would have to pay. I chose WIU not because of its price, but for its LEJA program. If I was truly worried about money, I would have just accepted one of the schools that offered me a baseball scholarship. Although, now I don’t even have to worry about paying for college due to the fact that military is paying.”

 Growing up in Libertyville, Illinois, his family has made a couple of moves, including one that involved them moving
to Ohio for his mother’s job.

 “This was the first move because of my mother’s work,” Hershey said. “But it was the third time we have moved. The first two houses were in Mundelein, Illinois, the third house was in Libertyville, Illinois, and that is where I lived for the majority of my life. Then three years ago, we moved to Chagrin Falls, Ohio.”

 Hershey prefers living in Ohio over Illinois, despite the 10-hour drive, due to the state of Ohio being in a better situation    state government-wise than Illinois.

 Hershey and his family take family vacations annually and have visited Asia, Europe and exotic parts of North America.

 “We have zip-lined in Costa Rica, whitewater rafting in Colorado, rock climbing in Moab, Utah and snorkeling and scuba diving in Hawaii, Hershey said. ”We have been to Japan for a wedding, Germany and Netherlands to visit family friends and Ireland to visit my brother for his study abroad.”

 Hershey’s 21-year-old brother,  Jacob, is getting a degree in mechanical engineering in Dayton, Ohio.

 While in Colorado, Hershey said that he and his little brother were whitewater rafting with their parents when his father went overboard.

 “Me and Jacob were in the front,” Hershey said. “We were going over six-foot waterfalls and the water was like 40 degrees. It was my dad’s birthday and he fell out. Me and my brother pointed and laughed while my mother pulled him in.”

 He said that he and his family are very close and that even though everybody is preoccupied, when they are not working they all try to spend as much time together as they can.

 After college, Hershey plans to make his family proud, but wants to work hard at life like his parents before him and make a name for himself.

 Hershey has had his eye on a heavy rock climbing community around Moab, Utah for after he graduates.

 “I do not want to work for either of my parents,” Hershey said. “Not because I think it would be terrible or anything, but because I want to become successful on my own, just like they did. After college, I am looking to get search and rescue certified and have a career that revolves around rescuing rock climbers who got lost, stuck or trapped and make sure they get home safely.”