Inspiring Stories - Winter 2014

Field of Dreams

By: Lauren Reihl '16

Emily Zbasnik ’16
Minerva, Ohio
Member of Marching Band, Concert Band,
College Republicans, Alpha Lambda Delta,
Gamma Beta Phi and Kappa Kappa Psi
B.A., Finance, University of Mount Union

They say that college is about trying new things and finding yourself. For Emily Zbasnik ’16, college has been a time to chase her dreams because she has always known who she is and what she loves.

Zbasnik has always wanted to work as a financial analyst in the oil and gas industry. Her father works in the industry as a geologist, which is what originally sparked her interest in the field. Then, in high school, she learned more about the industry through science fair projects.

“During my freshman year of high school, I worked on a project that dealt with the materials that absorb crude oil on open water,” Zbasnik said. “I advanced to the District Science Fair and then on to the State Science Fair. I expanded this project my junior year and attended the District Science Fair at Mount Union. After completing the science fair projects and researching the industry, it solidified my intentions to pursue a career in the oil and gas industry.”

Clearly, the experience helped Zbasnik decide not only what she wanted to learn, but where she wanted to learn it. After committing to Mount Union and setting foot on campus, she immediately got involved. Today, she’s not only working hard to get the job she has always dreamed of, but she is also living out music-related dreams.

During her college career, Zbasnik has been involved with multiple bands on campus. She played the French horn for the Marching Band and Concert Band. After a rigorous tryout process earlier this spring, she was selected as the assistant drum major for the University of Mount Union Purple Raider Marching Band.

For Zbasnik, music has always been a passion. She first fell in love with music at age five when her mother took her to see the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra perform “Peter and the Wolf” at Hudson Montessori School. During the performance, children were encouraged to move close to the stage and watch.

“As I watched the performance, one of the lead roles came out from behind the curtain with a French horn,” Zbasnik said. “As I gazed up and watched the man perform, I knew I wanted to one day play the French horn.”

Now, 15 years later, Zbasnik has achieved an honor that she never thought possible. Despite being head drum major at Minerva High School during her senior year, she never imagined that one day she would have the opportunity to direct the Purple Raiders on the field.

“My freshman year, I never would have dreamed that I would one day become a drum major at the collegiate level,” Zbasnik said. “The music program at Mount Union has truly taught me that hard work does pay off.”

Zbasnik and the rest of the Purple Raider Marching Band know that if they put in the work, the results will be well worth the hours of practice. During band camp in August, the marching band spends 12 or more hours each day rehearsing, memorizing music and learning drills. The students are dedicated and determined, two traits that are essential in trying to produce great pre-game and half-time shows.

 “At the conclusion of our pre-game and half-time shows, when the crowd claps and cheers, we realize that our hard work has truly paid off,” she said.

Zbasnik’s memorable experiences as a Mount Union band member include storming the field after the semi-final game her freshman year and appearing on ESPN during the Stagg Bowl. When she looks back on her college career, she also notes that one of her all-time favorite college memories is when she attended the Mitt Romney Rally in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio as a member of the College Republicans.

As a college student balancing classes, clubs, marching band and a personal life, Zbasnik has her family to thank for keeping her grounded and on track. In high school, after every game the band performed, she would turn around to salute the audience, and her family would be sitting on the 30-yard-line. Not much has changed since then. At every Mount Union game, when she looks to the 30-yard-line, her family is there supporting her.

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