Zavala Named Staff of the Month May 2023

Published: June 29, 2023

Congratulations to College of Western Idaho (CWI) Enrollment Counselor, Maria Zavala, who was named the College’s Staff of the Month for May 2023.

Zavala works alongside CWI’s One Stop Representatives to help a student begin life at the College. She is an expert at helping students navigate through the admissions process, providing information about the different programs CWI offers and applying for financial aid. Zavala also often visits local high schools, Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center, Idaho State Correctional Institution, and community events and gives tours to share information about the College with prospective students.

Prior to CWI, Zavala worked the night shift at an assisted living facility. She credits her brother, Jesus, who is a former employee, for encouraging her to kick-start her CWI journey and come back to school to finish her Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts. Once she was at CWI, Zavala become a Presidential Ambassador and found out about an opening as a One Stop Representative at Nampa Campus Micron Education Center, her first position at the College she began a year ago.

Her favorite memories at CWI are being able to help students. Whether it is helping those apply for school and seeing the relief on their faces once everything is completed, to witnessing a student’s joy after letting them know their school expenses will be covered by scholarships.

Zavala also shares great memories of life with her coworkers at the College because of their encouragement and dependability.

“CWI is a great place to work because of my co-workers from the Admissions and Enrollment teams,” said Zavala. “One Stop has continued to be my rock in supporting me and motivating me to be my best. The Enrollment team has welcomed me with open arms and through storytelling we have all built a strong bond and deeper understanding of each other.”

Those who work alongside Zavala hold her in high regard because of her strong dedication, willingness to go above and beyond, and positive attitude toward her duties. Assistant Director of Admissions and Recruitment, Jamie Barajas-Zepeda, said Zavala has become one of the easiest employees he ever supervised in his 20 years of experience supervising employees.

“Maria is an individual who has lots of heart and is very passionate about any student’s education, family, and culture,” said Barajas-Zepeda. “Maria is one of those individuals who always has a winning attitude and embraces all challenges especially those which encourage collaboration amongst students, staff, and faculty.”

Zavala truly enjoys working at CWI and continuing to work alongside those who have a passion for helping others and changing lives.

“Because of CWI I was able to earn my degree, which many thought I wouldn't accomplish. I have been able to switch careers, doors have opened, and I have made genuine connections and have the best friends I could ever imagine,” Zavala said. “Ranging from department to department I know I can rely on them to lift me during the hard times and celebrate the good times. CWI has truly changed my life.”

Originally from Malta, Idaho, Zavala is the youngest of four children. Her parents immigrated from Mexico to the United States to give her and her siblings, “the American dream.”

Outside of the College, Zavala enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching television shows, and exploring Idaho’s beautiful scenery, like going to hot springs, camping, and hiking to waterfalls.

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