ArmyEdSpace Spotlight

Jasmin N. Zamorano, Director of Programs, Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Jasmin N. Zamorano
Washington, DC
Director of Programs, Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Jasmin N. Zamorano is a native of Bolivia and moved to the United States when she was a teenager. Her interest in science drove her to pursue an Associate of Science degree from Northern Virginia Community College, followed by a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and then a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.

During her academic career, Ms. Zamorano assisted in faculty research in neurodegenerative diseases, the molecular mechanisms of the control of the cell cycle and carcinogenesis, and human variation in relation to human behavior and its disorders.

Soon after graduation, she started working at the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF), managing its series of Army LOFT STEM Leadership Symposia. She has moved to working on other HHF initiatives and is currently the Director of Programs for the organization.

Ms. Zamorano has a passion for inspiring Latino youth to pursue higher education, specifically in fields related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). She is also an adventure seeker, an avid traveler, and enjoys learning about other cultures and traditions.

Q: How did you become involved with the Army?
I have always had an interest in the STEM fields. Graduating with degrees in biology and psychology, I always felt that Latinos were underrepresented in these fields. Once I started working at HHF, the already-established Army & Latinos on the Fast Track (LOFT) STEM Leadership Symposium seemed like a natural fit for me. I started managing the Army-LOFT program and began developing the relationship with our friends in the Army. The program has grown in every way possible in the past couple of years, also helping to grow our relationship with the Army.

Q: What were you surprised to learn about the Army through your involvement?
I was surprised to learn that, contrary to what I thought before, women do not have a hard time achieving success in the military. I learned that most of the jobs in the military are open to women, and that the numbers of enlisted women have increased more than the numbers of other groups. I was also surprised to learn that most of the jobs in the military are non-combat occupations, and that there is a need for a variety of professionals in these various fields, ranging from doctors, to nurses, to engineers to many types of scientists.

Q: How has your partnership with the Army made a difference to your organization?
Our partnership with the Army has allowed us to strengthen and grow our network in many markets. By partnering with the Army to provide LOFT events for teachers and students in different parts of the country, we have been able to more broadly showcase our other programs. For example, we have students that attended the Army-LOFT events that have applied to and received grants through our scholarship program. In addition to broadening our direct impact in these regions, the partnership has also allowed us to connect with STEM professionals across the country, increasing the reach of our network.

Q: What has been your most interesting or memorable experience or interaction with the U.S. Army?
One of my most memorable experiences was seeing Colonel Rich Morales at several Army-LOFT events. He was extraordinary at interacting with each student that approached him with questions. Mainly, I thought his honest interest in encouraging the students to pursue higher education was great. It was amazing to see such an important person taking his time to sincerely leave a mark on the students, while being personable and charismatic. I definitely think that showing that face of the military, and not the stereotypical strict aspect, is vital in engaging younger students.

Q: Why do you feel military service should be considered a viable post-secondary option?
Besides the educational monetary benefits provided by the Army to college students, the military provides real-life and hands-on leadership training, education and practice, which cannot be easily acquired just by attending college. In addition, students are able to get a college education in most fields with the assistance of the Army, and it allows graduates to be better prepared for non-military, civilian jobs. Although most people look into joining the Army to help pay for school, there is a lot more that comes with Army service.

Q: Why do you feel it is important to support the Army as a leader in your community?
It is important to support the Army because it is often an unexplored resource that provides career options for many people. It is a great seeder of leaders and allows its members to demonstrate and sharpen their leadership skills while simultaneously giving back to their country and communities.

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