Bay Area Student Overcomes Broken Family Scars To Graduate, Enter Workforce

Students Rising Above with Sherry Hu

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — First impressions can often tell a lot about a person. In Jessamine Zamora’s case however, the first impression she made on her soon-to-be supervisor told only half her story.

Jessamine really wanted a summer internship at Transwestern, a commercial real estate firm in San Francisco. Right off the bat, her mentor Chloé Day called Jessamine “extremely polished, very well spoken, honest, and you can just tell that she’s very genuine.”

Day said she didn’t originally know what she could expect of Jessamine, along with the two other Students Rising Above summer interns. But today she speaks of not only of the three women, but also the Students Rising Above program very highly.

“They have that attitude and willingness and drive. That’s why they don’t take a single moment for granted. It’s not a risk going with a program like SRA. In fact, it’s an insurance policy.”

Jessamine made this clear when asked about her experience thus far at Transwestern. “I’m making the most out of it,” she said. “I think it’s up to me to see how much I want to learn and ask, take advantage of all the people here and pick their brain.”

Jessamine already understands that she needs to make the most of any situation in order to grow and learn, on the job as well as in her personal life because when she was a little girl, she had no choice.

Her dad was the best, she told us, but it didn’t last long. When she was only six years old, her father became violent and eventually went to prison. He left Jessamine, her mother, and her three brothers with the mortgage, car payments, and emotional wounds.

Though 15 years have passed since then, “It’s never healing,” said Jessamine. “I think that’s what makes me appreciate what I have and take advantage of everything as much as I can because you’re never promised another chance.”

To this day, Jessamine credits her mom for instilling messages of perseverance within her and pushing her to go to school and make something of herself.

And that’s exactly what she did. This past year, Jessamine graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a psychology major, is married, and has a young son, her joy and motivation in life.

“I want to give him everything that I couldn’t have when I was young, it sounds so cliché, but when you don’t know what I’ve been through … ” she said. “That’s the reason that I’m so focused on him.”

Not long after our interview, life took yet another turn for Jessamine, in a good way! Her internship at Transwestern is now a full-time job.

She smiled as she told us, “The pieces are fitting in.”


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