“When you compare yourself to others, you lose your joy.”Zachary
For Zachary, this quote means that only when you stop comparing, can you be truly happy.
An alum of A&M-Commerce, Zachary knows how difficult the transition from high school student to university student can be. He enjoyed his time at A&M-Commerce where he now gives back the support and guidance he received. As the Assistant Director of Admissions, Zachary takes time to lead his team and show the importance of being the face of A&M-Commerce as they guide students through admissions and beginning university.
Family is a huge part of Zachary's life outside of work. Being the oldest of four and growing up in Dallas, he enjoys getting together for a BBQ or just spending time together sharing stories and embracing his heritage. Zachary's grandfather, immigrated from Kenya, has dual citizenship and is a wealth of knowledge. His spunky grandfather stays in touch with his family wherever they are through FaceTime. Zachary has learned so much from his elders and wants to pass this knowledge to the younger family members.
Art, especially modern art, and architecture are his other pastimes. Often, you will find Zachary and his wife going to an art museum, listening to music or simply enjoying the world around them.
A Conversation with Zachary Machani
What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?
There is a world outside of your neighborhood and the street you grew up on. A&M-Commerce is the medium to show you this world that awaits you.
If you want to be part of a family, to feel cared for, to have opportunities that connect you to your dreams, then A&M-Commerce is the school for you.
Is there a professor who influenced you during your time at A&M-Commerce?
Yes, Dr. Willie Edwards who is an amazing educator and leader. He was my advisor and inspired me to be the best version of myself. I met him through the Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., Zeta Tau chapter. He instilled in me the fact that you can conquer whatever goal or task at hand by being educated, prepared, and present.
What do you like most about being the Assistant Director of Admissions?
As part of Admissions, I am part of the team that is each student’s first experience at A&M-Commerce. I meet them in the very beginning when they are wide-eyed and not real sure they know what they want to do or what major they want to pursue. In fact, the most fruitful part of my job is being a part of this very important time for students where I see them grow from high school senior to A&M-Commerce senior.
How do you help students at A&M-Commerce?
Society puts a lot of pressure on young people to know exactly what they want to do at 17, 18, 19 years old, and that is not realistic. I know what it is like both as an A&M-Commerce student and one who changed majors three times during the four years before I graduated with my bachelor's degree in social work.
First thing I do is to let the students know that it is ok not to know what they want to do regarding a career. Once this expectation is removed, students are less anxious and can focus on planning their path.
Then, I guide them by asking them what they are interested in and what are they passionate about. Some of the questions I ask them are “What brings you joy? What is something you truly want to do.” As I work with them, I help them understand that I am not interested in what they are being told to do or what career they believe is wanted for them to pursue.
As we work through the process, I show them opportunities that come along with different majors that they are interested in. They are shown the possible career paths, the resources that will help them and on-campus organizations that will support them as they navigate their education and growth.
- B.S., Social Work, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2014
- Assistant Director Of Admissions, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2022-Present
- Assistant Director of Freshman Admissions, The University of Texas at Arlington, 2019-2022
- Admissions Counselor, The University of Texas at Arlington, 2018-2019
- Higher Education Advisor, Education is Freedom, 2016-2018
- Youth Leader, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 2014-2015
- Vice President, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, 2014
- Morris Recreation Governing Board, 2014
- Vice President, National Pan-Hellenic Council, 2013-2014
- Student Advisory Board, 2013-2014
- African American Male Mentorship Program, 2012-2013