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My Manchester Story

Renae Walker-Zamora

by Brooklyn Schumm | Mar 07, 2023
Renae Walker-Zamora posing with an Austin, TX mural

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Renae Walker-Zamora (she/her/hers). I am a junior General Music and Educational Studies: Concentration in Counseling Major, and I am from Austin, Texas!

What are you involved in on campus?

I am currently a member of both choral organization groups - A Cappella Choir (Vice-president) and Chamber Singers. I have also been a part of Campus Interfaith Board for the past three years now, and I am also the music coordinator in the Chapel.

Other clubs: Theatre Society (Treasurer), Artists Anonymous (President & Historian), Manchester's Aspiring Educators (Activities Coordinator) and the National Association for Music Educators (Secretary).

Why did you choose Manchester University?

I found Manchester University through a high school college program called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). It was a program that allowed you to look for colleges and scholarships online every week.

I chose Manchester University because I wanted to be a part of a small/private university. In Texas, many colleges are usually public and big. I also wanted to pick a school that fitted well with my financial needs. Manchester University offered many grants and scholarships to me that I am forever grateful for. I will admit that I had a love-hate relationship with the idea of traveling all the time from Texas to Indiana, but I have enjoyed traveling so much and being in a new environment. Fun Fact, when I got here this was the very first time I saw SNOW! This was also my first time seeing black squirrels. (Very interesting!)

What is your favorite thing about Manchester?

What I love about Manchester is that there are many opportunities for you to be involved. There are so many clubs and organizations on campus, and I think it's great that people are even allowed to create their own clubs that fit them best. Everyone on campus is very welcoming, friendly and helpful. It's great feeling comfortable on campus when you are so far away from home.

What do you see yourself doing after Manchester?

I plan to continue my education in graduate school after Manchester. I want to become a music therapist! Right now, I am looking into two-year music therapy equivalent programs that allow you the qualifications to become board certified. After a few years, I may go back and get my master’s. I would love to work with patients in hospitals that fall under all treatments, kids with disabilities or addiction/rehab centers. I have also been looking into settings for the military - people who might suffer with PTSD or might be wounded. I have a big heart for helping people, and I found music therapy to be so fitting for me. Music is very healing for everyone! 

Who is your favorite professor you have had?

This is a tough question! I love the Music Department here and they have all been so supportive and helpful throughout my years at Manchester. They are all special to me in their own way. I love how they are all supportive academically but also on a personal level. They take the time to understand me and get to know me. They see me as someone special and not as a number. I think that is want makes this department so great is that it feels like having a second family here.

If I had to pick one professor though, it would definitely be Robert Lynn (Doc Rob). He never gives me problems simply because he is always in his own bubble and never really talks to me. He just smiles at me in the hallway and teaches me whatever I need to know. What a man!

What is your favorite class you have taken at Manchester?

Out of all my music classes it would have to be my private voice and piano lessons. I have also enjoyed taking basic conducting with Debra Lynn and Mason Kniola! I enjoyed these classes because it allowed to step out of my comfort zone and figure out what works best for me. It allowed me to figure my own styles as a musician and what makes me unique. If I had to pick a class outside my music courses, it would have to be my African American Literature class with Dr. Beate Gilliar or my Racial, Ethnic and Gender Inequality class with Dr. Alicia Dailey. 

What’s a Manchester bucket list item you’d like to check off?

I would like to help organize an event on campus with the Manchester Activities Council. Out of all the clubs I have been in, I been wanting to collaborate with MAC for quite a while since I have enjoyed all the activities they have put on at Manchester.

What advice would you give to an incoming Manchester student?

If you are struggling academically or mentally, get help! There is always someone there for you on campus. We have very supportive counselors on campus and people from the Bowen Center that come in to talk with you if you need it. There are also many wonderful professors on campus who are willing to listen. You are not alone, and you matter to the world!

Another thing is, make sure you are majoring in something that you want to do. Don't allow people to speak for you, if it something you love, then go for it. I have changed my major three times because it took me forever to figure out what I wanted, or I had people telling me what to do. Or I was holding myself back because I was worried for being judged or not being successful in the future right away. If you put in the work, think ahead and do your best, I promise you will be all right!

What is something someone wouldn't know just by looking at you?

I used to be a dancer when I was a kid, I had a huge interest in volleyball, and I was adopted when I was 13 years old.

What is your favorite Manchester memory?

My favorite memory would have to be singing at Carnegie Hall in New York with the A Cappella Choir. It was an experience I will never forget. I have also enjoyed being a part of the past two opera workshops with Debra Lynn. This was my first time being introduced to opera. and I have learned so much and made wonderful friends. 

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