Interview with Jacqueline Zamora, Fall 2021

Jacqueline Zamora
JacquelineZamora, photograph by Bianca Cabrera

Eddy Interview by Bianca Cabrera, BFA in Photography Major
with Jacqueline Zamora, Double Major in Digital Media Production & Spanish with a Minor in Communication Studies

What is your name and your pronouns?

My name is Jacqueline Zamora and my preferred pronouns are she, her, hers.

What is your age and major?

I’m 21 and I’m a double major in Digital Media Production  and Spanish, with a minor in Communication Studies.

Where are you from?

I’m from Harlem, New York.

What hobbies or activities are you interested in?

I like dancing, volleyball, and being creative. I like shopping, if that’s a hobby. I’m interested in anything that has to do with movies, online games, or social media.

Has campus made you feel welcomed as a woman or a Latina?

Yes, I actually feel comfortable here. I don’t feel judged for being a Latina. I do feel comfortable, however, I feel other college students may feel uncomfortable for the amount of Latinos that are at this school. There’s definitely a divide in study where you don’t really see Latinos and other races together. Mostly the minorities are one.

Campus makes me feel welcomed, but I also feel the need to be careful here. I do feel like I need some protection because there are a lot of men on campus who are not respectful of women. There’s always going to be people who don’t respect women, that’s just how society and the world works right now. Overall, New Paltz has made me feel welcome, but I don’t like the fact that there are sexual offenders around this area. I don’t like walking alone at night. I don’t feel safe, but I also do feel safe here in a way, it’s a complicated situation. I feel like there needs to be more security on campus during the night. Yes, we do have the number we can call if we need a ride, but there should be police officers walking around campus. We do not necessarily need to call them, but they should be there regardless.

How does the community here at New Paltz differ from home?

I’m from the city so it is very different. It’s very quiet here and can be boring sometimes. Everything is calm here and I definitely like my city more, because I’m not used to this type of environment. But, it is a nice escape from the city, just to try something different.

What personal journey brought you to your current role?

My family. Leaving home was a challenge for me, but it was something I wanted to pursue. I feel like I wouldn’t have grown as a person if I didn’t leave my house. My major is mostly filled with students who are non-Latinos, they’re mostly white. So, I feel like my role is to change that. I love my major and I want to inspire other Latinos, who have the same interests as me, to pursue it and believe in themselves. Even though the journey is long, we can eventually achieve our goals.

What issues or challenges are you confronted with?

Women are mostly frowned upon. Women are seen as being weak, not important, and not as smart as men. I think that society thinks we don’t have the same power as men do. I feel like some people on campus or in my major feel weirded out because they don’t usually see a Latina woman pursuing this kind of major, which is becoming a news reporter. Most news reporters are white and mostly speak English, not Spanish. I was fortunate enough to know two languages so I’m very happy about that. However, I do realize that if I was to apply for a job as a news reporter for CNN or New York One it would be really difficult just because I’m Latina and they mostly go after white people or English speaking people, even though I am an English speaker. But, they probably would think otherwise. Most people think that if you’re Latino/Latina you know how to speak mostly Spanish and have an accent, but that’s not true. A lot of people are born here, a lot of college students are from Spanish descent, whether it’s a Central or South American country. They think you have an accent or don’t know much, but you do.

What are your most important sources of success and change?

I think my biggest source of success would be my family and teachers. My family is very supportive. When I was younger, I went to a Catholic high school and it was full of minorities. I lived in a Spanish speaking neighborhood, so they really pushed us to apply to colleges. When I got accepted here, my school felt that my high school was the reason why I was here, because of the fact they believed in me and believed that I could get into the school I wanted. I like to take advantage of the opportunities in front of me, especially when it comes to employment or a scholarship. Honestly, I think it’s myself who pushes myself more. I feel like everything I do is because I know I can do it and I push myself to do it. The professors here are great, they push me to become a better person and more willing to overcome these challenges. I have a Spanish professor, who is also my advisor for my major and he is really awesome. We meet every two weeks to talk about how I’m doing in class, how I can do better, and be more organized.

What are some changes you would like to see and be a
part of?

I’m not sure actually. As a Latina, I would like to see more preaching about our community. I feel people don’t understand where we come from and what we go through to be here. We definitely need to tell people our stories. I would like to see a lot of changes in school, one being the food available on campus. There’s a good amount of people on campus and there’s not many places where we can go, especially since they’re closing early at eight. I feel like there’s not enough places to eat at and in a way, they’re leaving us starved. Also, having more events on campus, where everyone is brought together as one. We could have mini concerts or a sports event where anybody could come and play kickball and other sports. I feel like everybody is so focused on social media or their phones. We need to take a breather and just have fun outside. There’s things to do, other than watching movies. I would like to be a part of active events and give back to the community by having a food pantry on campus.

Who else needs to be pulled into the conversation?

The president of the school needs to be a part of this, because there’s a lot of changes that I want to see change on campus. I feel like he should be a part of this because there are a lot of things that need to be worked on. I feel like students complain a lot about access to food and also not being able to pay for a textbook. I noticed that people are also struggling with money so maybe the school can help us with that or maybe they can have professors that do not require expensive textbooks or allow us to have a textbook. I feel like most of the sources we need to get are within ourselves, we need to use our own money. It’s already a struggle because we’re already trying to study here and then people feel the need to work more. Another thing would be to have more jobs open on campus for others to apply. I noticed that people are looking for jobs and thankfully I have one in my own major department, but people are looking for other jobs as well.

Interview by Bianca Cabrera, BFA Photography Major 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *