Senior Spotlight: Zachary Fernandez 

By Tristan E. M. Leach

In his cranberry-red tour guide T-shirt, Zachary Fernandez flashes his signature smile as his tour group gathers. Fernandez’s energetic and strong voice catches the attention of anyone in his presence, an attribute that he has learned to use to his advantage. Now, the senior marketing major is preparing to take his skills into a world of entrepreneurship. 

Before finding a home at Rider, Fernandez wasn’t sure what he was looking for when it came to higher education. 

“I always say Rider found me. I saw that [Rider] had a business school and I could be a finance major or a marketing major or a supply chain major, and that was attractive to me,” said Fernandez. 

Though the business school became the sticking point for Fernandez, he still wasn’t set on the idea. For Fernandez, it was about finding a major that would allow him to interact and work with people. A self-described “people person,” Fernandez was looking for something that would allow him the opportunity to be up-close and personal with others. 

“By the time I was applying to colleges, I was actually applying as a potential development psychology major. I thought I wanted to go into psychology and become a child psychologist. And at other schools I applied to the business program,” said Fernandez. 

As schools began to send him acceptances, Fernandez settled on going into business, but he wasn’t sure which major he wanted to pursue. Fernandez knew he had multiple options and skills at his disposal, so it was just a matter of picking which ones to harness. 

During his first semester at Rider, Fernandez majored in business administration, but he decided he would prefer to double major in marketing and finance. 

Since making that choice, he hasn’t looked back. Fernandez explained his reasoning for the double major as being able to understand both sides of the same coin. If he knew how the financials of a company worked then he could also understand their reason for marketing in certain ways. He would also learn how to market himself and his multiple business ideas. 

Zachary Fernandez (far left) poses with fellow staff of Ziegler-Moore. Photo courtesy of Zachary Fernandez.

So far, he has created, planned and presented his ideas. Fernandez is looking to create a vending machine that is essentially a one-stop shop for a person’s grocery needs. His sophomore year, Fernandez pitched an idea at Rider’s Concept Competition: a three-tiered vending machine that utilizes mapping technology to show other vending machines in the area and what products they have. Fernandez called this the “Convenience Corner.”

Another idea that he is particularly excited about is a healthier protein-filled ketchup. Fernandez noticed the everyday use of ketchup and the love for the condiment. However, when taking a look at the ingredients used by condiment companies, Fernandez was mortified. 

“It’s an entirely organic ketchup; so there’s none of that garbage that you’ll see in other brands. Those have high fructose corn syrup and some ketchups use coloring to get [ketchup] to be a deeper red,” said Fernandez, “[Mine] would be a cleaner ketchup, where I use natural ingredients to have protein in each serving.” 

His passion for helping others and creating a better quality of life has led Fernandez down a path of leadership while at Rider. A second-year community assistant, tour guide, vice president of professional activities for Delta Sigma Pi and a member of two on-campus clubs, Fernandez is nothing short of being involved at Rider.

For Fernandez, each role has been pivotal to his growth as a person and leader. One person who can attest to Fernandez’s skills is Lauren Turnbull, a junior finance major. Turnbull has worked with Fernandez on the executive board of DSP and as a fellow CA for the 2022-23 school year. 

Turnbull said, “He’s great, all of his residents speak very highly of him. He genuinely cares about the students and his residents, which makes him a great CA. I’d say he’s one of the best on campus.”

When he isn’t putting in his time on duty, Fernandez can be seen giving tours or helping out a fellow brother of DSP. His choice to put in the work no matter what has made Fernandez a stand out member in the Rider community. 

As graduation approaches, Fernandez looks to start his full-time job at J.P. Morgan, where he will be an internal audit analyst. Fernandez also hopes to get his real estate license to gain more experience in another aspect of the business world. 

Until graduation in just a few weeks, Fernandez is enjoying every minute at Rider. He credits each experience and person he has crossed paths with as the reason for his success. 

Fernandez said, “I just want to thank the entire Norm Brodsky College of Business as well as the Rider community. I have been fortunate enough, lucky enough to find a second home here and a large part of that is thanks to the people.”

Senior Spotlight is a series created by The Rider News to celebrate upstanding seniors on Rider campus prior to their graduation. 

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