Katie Zambrano has all the qualities of an empowered woman. She’s a hardworking student pursuing her Master’s in Social Work from Western Carolina University. She’s —-and passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. We’re thrilled to have her as part of our team at the YWCA.
What draws you to the field of social work the subject of women’s empowerment? In high school I participated in Lenoir Police Explorers program in Caldwell County. My advisor was a detective, and I shadowed him on a case involving children. Being on that case, I could tell that I wanted to be working on the wellbeing of the child and the family instead of the law enforcement side of the case. I decided then to pursue social work and knew that’s what I wanted to do with my career. I’m interested in women’s empowerment because it is essential to the advancement of women in society. I fell in love with the MotherLove program after researching ways to help my cousin when she became pregnant as a teen. My cousin didn’t have a lot of support, so I was drawn to the program because of the social and emotional support it offered girls like her. It was the MotherLove program that made me want to come to the YWCA; it was my first choice for my internship.
What do you anticipate doing after you complete your internship at the YWCA?
I will graduate with a Bachelor’s in Social Work in May, and I’ll begin the master’s program at Western Carolina this summer. I got accepted to the advanced standing program, so I can complete the program in one year. I’m excited to focus on clinical work, doing one-on-one therapy, and assessing mental health.
What inspires you most right now? My dad and siblings. I’m a first-generation college student, so I set the pace and example for my siblings. They inspire me every day to be a good role model for them. I have a four-year-old sister who calls me “Mami,” and I want her to see, as my aunt showed me at an early age, that you can do anything you really want to do if you set your mind to it. I see a lot of this message coming out of the YWCA’s programs as well.
Who was the most important woman in your life growing up (and why?) My aunt, Fidelina Velazquez. She took care of me, my siblings, and her biological kids. At one point she was taking care of ten kids at once ranging from eight-months-old to thirteen-years-old, all living together in her house. She always had food for us, made sure we got to the bus on time and found a way to make things work, keeping her positive attitude throughout it all. She used to say to us every morning, “You have one life and you have to appreciate it.”
What does a community that supports women’s empowerment look like to you? It would be a community where women’s voices are heard and where women have the same opportunities to succeed that men have. It would be a community where women believe in themselves and are confident in everything they do.