Quad Citizen: Jennifer Zamora

Quad Citizen: Jennifer Zamora

Transition Coach, Wedding Planner, Eastern Iowa Community College - Muscatine Graduate

Quad Citizen Profile

She's planning on graduating from the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in social work, but Jennifer Zamora makes it clear she wouldn't be where she is without the education she received at Muscatine Community College (MCC).

Her parents came to Iowa from Southern California in the late 90s, initially living in Marion, Iowa, as their son in the military was engaged to someone there.  The family eventually moved to Muscatine because the Spanish church they had been attending was located there.

Zamora knows a thing or two about getting back up when life knocks you down. The same summer she enrolled at MCC, one brother committed suicide and her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Zamora has five brothers and one sister. As her family faced tremendous heartache and loss, Zamora dropped out of college to help raise her younger brother and nephew. After a few years, she returned to MCC and hopes by completing college she is an example for all her family.

“I'm kind of like a mother to them,” she said, even though age-wise, she's somewhere in the middle of all her siblings. She says she really enjoyed Muscatine Community College. As a work-study student, she was a translator and worked at the McAvoy Center. But it was the people and pursuing her education that made the biggest impact.

“I feel like everyone knows each other here,” she said and “college made me feel like part of my community. I never really thought about being engaged in my community until I started attending here (MCC).”

She said the staff and professors at MCC helped her a lot. “They supported me the whole way through.”

Zamora now volunteers at MCC and plans on volunteering to help coach basketball for the YMCA in Muscatine too. “I wouldn't have done that if I hadn't attended college.”

She's also a volunteer with AmeriCorps. Zamora helps local high school students get ready for college, assisting them with FAFSA forms, college decision day, and event planning. “I really enjoy my job as a transition coach.” Zamora thinks the sense of accomplishment she gets from volunteering with AmeriCorps is “fantastic” and the job is “so interesting.”

Zamora uses her event planning skills as a freelance wedding planner as well, and has been doing that for a couple of years. She said she even makes some additional income from those efforts.

She is very proud of her schooling and thinks it's important to get involved and pursue higher education. “My parents made an effort to come to the United States...so they sacrificed a lot...and a lot of people can relate to that...so it's important for us to make our parent's dream come true,” she said, getting emotional as she talked about her family and how they have supported her.

Zamora is looking forward to getting a position in her field when she graduates with her bachelor’s degree in 2020. “I would like to become a social worker either at a hospital or a high school. I really enjoy people and making a difference.”

“I feel like this is the perfect career for me.”

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