Alumna credits Tri-C for providing foundation for success
Have you ever hosted a Tweetup? Kathleen Zona has — and she credits her experience at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) for giving her the foundation to grow her technology skills and succeed across a wide range of careers.
She chose Tri-C for the same reasons as so many others: cost, location, flexibility and people.
“I could see the enthusiasm for helping students in the eyes of professors and the College staff,” she said. “Tri-C provides a great education. The faculty and staff are caring and enthusiastic about setting students on a path to success.”
Her own path started at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, where she put her business degree and training to work as a computer systems analyst. In 2012, she and her team coordinated the center’s first Tweetup, bringing together 100 participants — followers of NASA’s Twitter page and their guests — to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the late John Glenn’s first mission to orbit the Earth.
“Tri-C gave me the skills and confidence I needed to apply for positions of increasing responsibility throughout my career,” said Zona, who now serves as protocol officer at NASA Glenn. “Each position gave me on-the-job training that helped me prepare for my next role.”
As protocol officer, Zona provides advice and training on etiquette and protocol and coordinates events and appearances of the center’s top three managers. She and her colleagues recently found themselves dealing with the impact of the partial government shutdown. With the threat of another shutdown looming, Zona shared her advice for Tri-C students facing challenges.
“There are always options to obstacles,” she said. “Know when to ask others for help finding and exploring them. Strive to do things that are out of your comfort zone.”
Zona’s own confidence stems from continuing education classes, which have provided opportunities for her to explore new subjects and fields. One such class even led her to meet her now-husband.
“The first time he noticed me, I was bumping into others in the pool during my swim class,” she said.
One of Zona’s hobbies is rescuing animals, ranging from dogs to horses and even sheep and goats. She’s even hosted a goat yoga class on her farm, combining her interest in animal rescue with a passion for physical fitness. She also volunteers for her local humane society, helping with event planning and fundraising.
Today, Zona is equally as capable of working in a high-tech environment as she is anywhere else — and Tri-C helped her get there.
“When I graduated, I never dreamed I’d be doing what I do now!”