But while I enjoyed all those classes,
my three majors and my minor are what
helped me become an independent busi-
nessman today.
None of this would have happened if
I hadn’t gotten terribly sick in fall 2010.
I had always been very health conscious,
into working out, eating properly, training
for triathlons, etc. I would have said I
was completely healthy until one day,
out of the blue, my whole digestive tract
basically stopped working the way it’s
supposed to. Without going into details,
I’ll just say that I was never far from a
bathroom, and I started losing all sorts of
weight because I couldn’t keep anything
in my system.
It turns out I had ulcerative colitis – a
genetic disease of the colon. Since none
of the medicines I was given seemed to be
helping, my doctor insisted I check into
Geisinger Medical Center so I could be
monitored more closely. Things con-
tinued to go downhill until, two weeks
after I had checked into the hospital, my
colon suddenly ruptured, and there I was
being rushed into life-saving emergency
surgery. I awoke with an ostomy, which
means I have a bag for
collecting bodily wastes,
just like around 700,000
other people in the U.S.
who’ve lost their colon
or bladder because of
cancer or a disease like
mine.
So what does all
this have to do with
a Lycoming College
education? While I
was in the hospital
recuperating after my
surgery, I was absolutely
obsessed by how I could possibly get
back to doing the sports and exercising
that I love. Nothing felt more important
to me, but I didn’t see how it was going
to be possible. I felt like my ostomy was
too vulnerable, that it would get bumped
and injured during some sporting activity
and I would end up back in the hospital.
What a depressing thought.
So I searched around on the Internet
to find some kind of protective device
that I could wear to make me feel more
comfortable. There were a couple of
things out there that I tried, but nothing
really worked, and I continued to feel like
I was going to have to give up the sports
that were so important to me. Unless
… well, unless I could create my own
product to resolve the issue.
And that’s exactly what I did. I
invented a guard to wear that would pro-
tect my ostomy in exactly the way I need-
ed. I tested it by wearing it as I slowly got
back into swimming and biking and run-
ning and tennis and all
the other activities that
I love. I knew how to
create a product like this
because of my back-
ground in engineering;
I could have designed
and tested my guard
even if I’d never gone
to Lycoming College.
But what I wouldn’t
have been able to do
without my degrees
from Lyco was to figure
out how to successfully
market my new product to other people. I
figured that if this guard was making my
life so much better, other people might
have a need for it too. I decided to see if I
could help them out.
It’s easy to see how my Lycoming
math and economics degrees helped
with some of the planning and logistics
of creating a new business. What might
not be as obvious is how my computer
science major and art minor were
absolutely fundamental to my success.
My classes in computer science and art
had taught me web programming and
graphic design, and the first thing I did to
create my business was develop a website
) that would allow
me to showcase my product. In my
graphic design class, we were actually
given an assignment where we had to
create pamphlets and letterhead and
business cards. I applied those skills
to creating materials such as a trifold
brochure that I sent to doctors and nurses,
introducing my product so they could
recommend it to patients. I also used the
photography and Photoshop techniques I
had learned to create a series of ads that
have appeared in medical magazines and
websites. All these skills allowed me to
attract a steady stream of customers to my
online store. In fact, the business grew so
quickly that I had to leave an engineering
job I had only recently taken in order to
be able to keep up with demand. And my
customers frequently let me know that the
guard is making their lives better. I’m very
happy to know that my invention is having
a positive effect on other people’s lives.
In the end, I couldn’t have built a
successful business without the skills
I achieved throughout my Lycoming
College career. The truth is that I had too
many outstanding classes with too many
excellent professors to acknowledge all
of them, but I’d particularly like to thank
Dr. Eileen Peluso in the computer science
program and Lynn Estomin in the art
department for teaching me the skills that
made it possible for me to succeed in this
business. You never know where a liberal
arts education from Lycoming College is
going to take you!
I couldn’t have
built a successful
business without
the skills I achieved
throughout my
Lycoming College
career.
Zurowski with his wife, Dr. Sandra Kingery, professor of Spanish
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