As the Class of 2022 prepares for Commencement, May 6–7, The College Today will highlight how some of our graduating seniors spent their time at CofC, and what the future holds.
Honors College student Zachary Kronsberg says his fascination with politics started at an early age. How early? The third grade. That’s when he decided to memorize the entire list of United States presidents. He won his fifth-grade speech contest on the topic of Theodore Roosevelt and in 2008 he dressed up as a voting booth. That’s right, a voting booth. As part of a Halloween costume, Kronsberg and his mother covered a box with blue paper, wrote the names Obama and McCain on it and attached a clipboard. He then wore the box and proceeded to ask people their presidential preference. “I had no idea that walking around and asking adults who they are going to vote for was not an appropriate thing to do,” Kronsberg recalls. “I just was a voting booth.” So, it should come as no surprise that Kronsberg is graduating this weekend from the College of Charleston with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minors in history and Jewish studies. Kronsberg is one of seven students to receive the John Lewis Gervais, Jr. Award. This award is presented to Honors College graduates with a 4.0 GPA. Growing up in Charleston, Kronsberg remembers his parents always discussing politics and world events around the dinner table. And he and his two brothers were encouraged to join in the conversation. Those nightly dinner conversations helped to shape his understanding of the world. As a student at Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, South Carolina, he won an award for his senior thesis paper, which explored the idea of transforming the Electoral College. After graduating from high school, Kronsberg attended Duke University for a year. He liked the university, but felt it just wasn’t the right fit for him. So, he decided to take another look at the College of Charleston and transferred to CofC as an Honors College student his sophomore year. Back in the Lowcountry, Kronsberg soon immersed himself in politics. He became involved with the College’s Student Government Association and was named president of the College’s South Carolina Politics Club. He volunteered to work on Joe Cunningham’s congressional campaign and Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. He took a job as an intern with the Charleston County Democratic Party and two years later climbed to the position of assistant to the chair. Kronsberg credits his professors for helping to expand his appreciation and love for politics. “My political science professors have blown me away,” he says. “I think I have had the most brilliant professors possible.” But Kronsberg admits that he has become “burned out” by the polarization and hyper-partisan rhetoric that seems to dominate current political discourse. He says it is becoming more and more difficult to have political conversations now and that bothers him. “I am someone who likes to have respectful conversations,” he says. “However, I think having conversations about politics is increasingly taboo in our world, and it leads to so many conflicts. Everything is becoming personal in today’s political environment.” Kronsberg has decided to take a break from politics and move his future in a different direction for now. This summer, he will head to Charlotte to participate in the Teach for America program in North Carolina. He will spend the next two years teaching math to middle school students. After his time teaching, he’s not exactly sure what he’ll do next. He says he may stick with teaching, he may attend graduate school or he may start applying to law school. No matter what path he takes, Kronsberg believes his time at the College has helped prepare him for anything.