TU senior making his mark in Maryland politics

By Kyle Hobstetter on Friday, April 22

Garrett Zahner ’22 named deputy director of Maryland Republican Party in March

TU student Garrett Zahner
Garrett Zahner, who holds two high-ranking positions in the Maryland Republican Party, is getting ready to graduate from TU with a dual degree in political science and economics. (Alex Wright/Towson University) 

Since he was a child, Garrett Zahner ’22 wanted to get into politics. But he doesn’t want to become a politician. He would prefer to be called a statesman.

“I hate using the word politician because it’s become such a grimy word,” Zahner laughs. “I’ve always wanted to give my life to public service and represent people. I want to fight for them.”

He will graduate this spring with a dual bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. But the Essex, Maryland, native is already heavily involved in Maryland politics, holding two positions in the state’s Republican Party.

He is the chairman of the Standing Committee on Bylaws, serving the state party chairman of the Republican State Central Committee. Zahner is responsible for oversight of the Constitution and bylaws of his party.

Last month, he was named deputy director of the Maryland Republican Party. He oversees campaign coordination, implementation of political and digital strategies, assistance of county central committees, field operations and event planning.

Zahner is the perfect example of how Towson University prepares students to be effective, ethical leaders and engaged citizens.

“At this young age, being able to realize [my goals] and really get involved, it’s humbling,” Zahner says. “I couldn’t tell you the number of times I get giddy when older legislators and party leaders call me asking for my opinions.”

While he admits receiving respect has been great, he knows he wouldn’t be where he’s at without his professors. Some of his favorite memories are of working with them.

This includes political science professor Alison McCartney. During his time at TU, Zahner not only served as McCartney’s teaching assistant, he also participated in the Towson University–Baltimore County Public Schools Model United Nations, which McCartney cofounded.

“Some of my best friends here at TU have been my professors,” Zahner says. “Getting to know your professors is something that’s so important to any successful college career. I've found that if you spend time with them and show interest in what you're learning, they will show the respect back tenfold.”

Garrett Zahner inside Stephens Hall
Zahner has been part of numerous organizations at TU, including the Undergraduate Research Club, The Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute and the TU Student Foundation. (Alex Wright/Towson University) 

Zahner says another of his favorite things about TU is how easy it is to get involved. He’s lost count of how many student organizations he’s been part of, but he guesses that it’s around 30.

This includes being president of the fraternity Alpha Chi Rho, Phi Xi Chi Chapter, of which he is a founding father. He’s also part of the Towson College Republicans, the Undergraduate Research Club and the TU Student Foundation, and has helped with the Towson University Outstanding Young Women's Program led by Dr. Nancy Grasmick. 

Zahner has also spent the past year as a student representative on the RISE Campaign Committee, Towson University's historic $100 million comprehensive fundraising campaign

He is also an Honors College student and just finished his thesis. In “The Democratic Dilemma: The Royal Prerogative in the United Kingdom,” Zahner looked at how the British government could be a hyper-developed democracy but still have a monarch with power.

Over the past year, Zahner presented his thesis at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference and the National Undergraduate Research Conference. “Having all these experiences to pursue my own research on things I’m interested in has been phenomenal,” he says.

As he comes to the end of his journey at Towson University, Zahner has his sights set on law school. He’s hoping to stay in Maryland because he loves it. “I have always been a Maryland patriot,” he says, showing off a Maryland flag mask he’s worn throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

But no matter where he ends up, Zahner feels his time at TU has prepared him for whatever comes next.

“Getting to know so many great people and make so many great friends here at TU and getting to have so many experiences where I traveled and presented my research, it’s been phenomenal,” Zahner says.

“And now I'm one of the highest-ranking leaders in the state Republican Party. It's crazy to me all this has happened, and it has really been because I came to Towson University.”