Trinity University mourns the death of student Zachary David Young ’22, who died on August 17 at the age of 22. From Austin, Texas, Young was described by his family as “bright, confident, stubborn, handsome, thoughtful, intelligent, ambitious, honest, resilient, determined, and humorous” Star Wars nerd who loved Xbox and cars and cooked amazing wood-fired pizzas.
Young graduated with honors from Dripping Springs High School, where he played football and baseball. He attended Trinity on an academic scholarship to study neuroscience, with plans to attend medical school and become a neurosurgeon.
Young had been a member of the lab of psychology professor Kah-Chung Leong, Ph.D., since late 2019. He worked on two projects in Leong’s lab: The first investigated the effects of oxytocin (a neuropeptide) on fear memories, and the second, which Young helped conceptualize, investigated the ability of oxytocin to reduce stress-induced alcohol-seeking behavior.
“Zach became a leader in the lab early on, a role he naturally fit into,” Leong says. In addition to his critical role in the research, Leong continues, Young also trained and mentored new students, organized projects, and dealt with the day-to-day lab necessities. He received a 2020 Murchison Summer Research Fellowship and was the co-author of a review paper published in the International Journal of Medical Science.
“Zach took great care and pride in his scientific pursuits,” Leong says. “He was a leader and a mentor for many student researchers. He was highly ambitious and incredibly productive.
“Zach was a model student in every class he took,” Leong continues. “Always one of the first to arrive, he came prepared to learn and participate. He maintained a high level of enthusiasm and energy every single class period. He genuinely had a passion for learning, and this was reflected in his academic success.
As a person, Zach was determined, hard-working, and disciplined. He would overcome challenges with perseverance and resilience. He was warm, friendly, and caring. He had a genuine personality and cared deeply about the well-being of others around him.”
Zach is survived by his parents, David Doyle and Jennifer Read Young, his brother, Joshua Read Young, and his fiancé, Elaina Catherine Erickson.
Trinity community members are invited to attend a service of remembrance on Friday, Sept. 10, at 4 p.m. on campus at Parker Chapel.
A loss such as this can have a profound effect on the entire Trinity community, and particularly so as we start a new academic year. If needed, you can find support in your grief from Chaplain Alex Serna-Wallender and the staff of Counseling Services.