Raised in Salt Lake City, Zander Granath has a passion for athletics and public service. He has been an active leader on- and off-campus, from Admission Office fellow and DEB liaison to Peer Health Exchange leader and Dodgers Foundation intern.
Zander Granath has always been into playing sports, whether soccer, swimming or skiing. He was even captain of his high school swim team. But he wasn’t necessarily set on being a student-athlete at Occidental.
“When I walked on to the [men’s swim] team as a first year I was thinking, ‘maybe one year,’ ” he admits. “I was just keeping an open mind.”
But he ended up loving his teammates, the team culture and the novelty of swimming outside in the wintertime. His weight training coaches helped him get fit and he developed quickly, becoming a distance freestyle specialist. Now a senior and the team captain, Zander holds two school records as a member of the 800 and 200 free relay.
“It’s really cool to be part of the athletics family, and I’m definitely a better student when I swim. When you’re waking up that early, you have a lot going on so you’re moving all day. I definitely don’t think I’d be as involved at Oxy if I wasn’t an athlete.”
A sociology major, Zander still remembers the class he sat in on during his high school visit to Occidental: “Masculinities,” taught by Professor Richard Mora. The discipline was completely new to him and he was fascinated.
“It just spoke to me,” Zander says. “You’re looking at social aspects of economics, gender, and politics, so in a way everything is part of sociology.”
When he enrolled in a sociology class as a first-year, Professor Mora actually remembered him. It didn’t take long for Zander to declare a major with an emphasis on gender studies—with Professor Mora as his adviser.
Zander has evolved a research question he initiated in his sophomore “Sociological Inquiry” class into his senior comps project. Investigating queer and hyper- masculinity in online spaces, he recently interviewed more than 20 queer men in Los Angeles to learn about the significance of these spaces for them.
“I’m pretty proud of my comps,” he says. “I’ve worked on this project for three years and got funding from student government and the Undergraduate Research Center. It was amazing to learn qualitative and interviewing skills, go through the institutional review board process and apply for funding.”