Zach Tecca

Zachary Tecca: A teaching scientist

Zachary Tecca, a Lordsburg, New Mexico resident, will be graduating on December 13 with a Bachelor of Sciences in Botany and Zoology degree. Tecca started in college pursuing a degree in Theater. During his high school years, Tecca would participate in the State Theater Competition in Farmington, New Mexico. Tecca dropped theater after working for a couple of months, and feeling it would not be the path for which he wanted to continue. After theater, Tecca decided to enroll at WNMU to study Zoology due to his passion of reptiles and amphibians. Science being a challenging field, with courses that throw at you complex information with complicated terms, Tecca accepted that challenge, and enjoys that professors and courses are constantly keeping him busy and up to something new. 


Q: Who was that person that always kept you no track? 

A: Three big ones: Dr. Norris, Dr. Jennings, and Dr. Camacho. Those three are very good at keeping up with you and constantly on you making sure you are doing OK. My mom, of course. I’m 26 years old and my mom still checks up on my grades, she has no control but she’s still there.


Q: Was there a moment where you hit “rock bottom”? How did you overcome it?

A: I had a particularly rough semester, back in 2017. I was taking Comparative Chordate, Evolution, Plant Taxonomy, and Dendrology all at once, which are all super heavy taxonomic courses. It was so difficult that I honestly thought of taking a semester off, which I never have done before. I dedicated myself to the department. There is a lot of support from the teachers, and also my wife supported me a lot.


Q: Will you continue studying after graduation? If so, where?

A: I am going to start a Masters of Arts in Teaching here at Western. When I first started my degree, I had no idea I wanted to be a teacher, I just wanted the title of scientist, and then I started “TAing” and I have been doing that for five years, but yeah it got me into teaching.


Q: How was your overall experience at WNMU?

A: I started school here in 2014, I started working for Western as soon as I got here. I am very proud for all the work I have done for Harlan Hall and Western in terms of animal demonstrations. I have gotten so much support from the entire campus in terms of getting awards for Outstanding Student Worker, Outstanding Service to the department, Outstanding Animal Caretaker, and Outstanding Tutor. I started tutoring in the spring semester of 2015. My wife and I would be part of the Center for Equality. We always tried to participate in homecoming and welcome week. I went to more events early on, once you start to get into the 400 level courses you start freaking out. Great Race was always pretty fun, I never got as involved but Great Race is a pretty cool time of the year. I was part of a Harlan Hall team called the Mad Scientists. I have made the best friends I have ever had here.


Q: Any tips for the new students who have just started their college career?

A:  Any student coming to Western, they have a gift, in the community, in the Gila, in the environment around them. This place is a paradise. The tips that I have is, get good sleep, I always tell people that when I tutor, it is like my mojo. If you can go to sleep at seven; wake up in the morning and study if you really have to. Immerse yourself in the environment around here, there are some amazing opportunities to see incredible things that people don’t really take. Immerse yourself in anything you do, head first, that is the only way to do it.

Zach and Friends
Zach and Friends

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Luis Chavez is from Douglas, Arizona. Chavez, is a Science Education major. Chavez loves to eat ceeal and play videogames. You can reach him at