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Photo by matt d'annunzio

Zachary Garriss ’15


Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

Who I was when I got to Reed: A 29-year-old game developer without any academic background, and overwhelmingly grateful that Reed decided to take a chance on him. 

How Reed changed me: Before coming here, I was quick to answer a question. Now I examine the framework first, and am prone to rejecting a question I don’t like in favor of a better one rather than let a question guide my thinking out of the gate.

Favorite class: Intro to Dance with Prof. Carla Mann [dance 1995–] is brilliant, dancing awkwardly is therapeutic, and you earn an art credit and two PE credits simultaneously. 

Influential professor: Prof. Pancho Savery [English 1995-] taught me to consider conference—and all my work at Reed—through the lens of what I can contribute, and not according to what I get from the experience.

Influential work of art: Someone scrawled, “Art lives and Art dies” on the wall by mail services. I think about it constantly.

A concept that blew my mind: Humanity in itself is a series of ecosystems wherein ideas live, fight, breed, and die.

Outside the Classroom: I ran a Dungeons and Dragons group for three years. Some of my best memories here involved dice and a hand-drawn map. House adviser. Tutored writing, humanities, and Latin. 

Financial aid: I wouldn’t have been able to come here if the financial aid package at Reed was not so incredibly generous.

Thesis: Acerrimus

What it’s about: I interpret Nisus from book 9 of Virgil’s Aeneid through three creative adaptations: a film screenplay of the episode, a poetic journal written from the Nisus’ perspective, and a theatrical dialogue between Nisus and Hades shortly after the events of the episode.

What it’s really about: Virgilian fanfiction.

What’s next: I'm working as a freelance writer, researcher, and game developer in Los Angeles.