#SincePruSpirit │ L.A. Dodgers analyst and Oscars prognosticator Ben Zauzmer, 2010
In 2010, we named Ben Zauzmer Pennsylvania’s top high school volunteer for his work supporting a camp for kids with disabilities. He graduated high school the next year, then went on to Harvard to study applied math.
He’s found some pretty interesting ways to put his degree to use.
Now 26, Ben is a baseball analyst for the Los Angeles Dodgers, using data and statistics to help the team build their roster and win games. Job perks, he said, include sneaking into the stands for a few innings at big moments, and never missing a pitch during playoffs.
There was an extra perk this year -- working for a World Series team.
“For the World Series, the Dodgers flew all of the employees out to Boston to watch Games 1 and 2 at Fenway Park,” Ben said. “Even though we lost both games, it was still an incredible experience to witness our team play the biggest games of the season in that timeless ballpark. But no rest for the weary: Upon returning to LA, we were treated to a full 18 innings of baseball in Game 3, capped by a walk-off home run after midnight which was easily the greatest moment of the season.”
And that’s just his day job. The Dresher, Pa. native also makes Oscar and Tony award predictions using a statistical model he created, a side project he’s been doing since 2012. (This year, he correctly called 20 out of 21 Academy Award winners.) Ben’s analysis and prediction bylines have appeared in outlets including The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter; he also tweets predictions and trivia at @BensOscarMath.
Ben won his Spirit of Community Award for a fundraiser that grew from his bar mitzvah project, producing and selling a CD of popular Jewish songs to benefit a summer camp for kids with disabilities. He said the experience served him well. “On one level, that project taught a younger me an enormous amount of practical skills: how to write a professional email, how to speak in public, how to track sales in Excel, and so on,” he said. “But on a broader level, I took home lessons about the value of using those skills to help others, and enormous inspiration from my fellow Prudential honorees.”
His advice to young volunteers, on how service today can support their future endeavors: “It's easy as a middle- or high-school student to focus on what to do, with classes, extracurriculars, and other resume-fillers demanding so much time and energy. In the midst of all that, it's not as easy to focus on why to do the things you're doing. Community service helps you take a step back, think of others, and apply your skills to a good cause. Then, as you go forward in life, you will automatically make decisions that benefit others and not just yourself.”
For more updates on past Spirit of Community honorees, visit our alumni page.