PTK Student Spotlight: Laura Perez Zamarron

Chapter president majoring in Nursing

Laura Perez Zamarron, 29, is earning her Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nursing at Inver Hills Community College. Laura is on track to graduate from Inver Hills in spring 2024.

“My plan is to start working as a nurse right away after I graduate from Inver Hills,” Laura said, “and then finish my B.S.N. at Metro and after that apply to a CRNA [certified registered nurse anesthetist] school or to a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) program.”

Laura serves as president of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Omicron Beta at Inver Hills. She was recently inducted into PTK along with other officers as well as new members at a ceremony in early November 2022 in the Fine Arts Theatre on campus. Laura was a featured speaker at the event.

“What I love about PTK is that I get to meet people,” she said, “and I also get to participate in amazing events like Be the Match.”

Laura is a first-generation college student. She took fourth place in the college’s First-Generation Scholarship Contest last spring.

“One of the greatest rewards as a first-generation student is that I get to be the first one in the family to get a career and serve as a resource in the future for my children and younger siblings,” Laura said. “Being the oldest and the first one to go to college has been a challenge because of the frequent fear of failing and not wanting to let down those who look up to me.”

Laura added that one of her biggest challenges as a first-generation student was stepping out of her comfort zone to find the resources she needed to succeed in college.

“Another challenge was not having a mentor in my family to ease that process in the beginning of my college journey,” she said.

Laura and family at Phi Theta Induction Ceremony Fall 2022 gallery

Faculty and staff perspectives

Sadie Pendaz-Foster at PTK Induction Ceremony Fall 2022
“Laura stepped up to PTK leadership this year with the intention of advancing the agenda of Mental Health Awareness and making our campus a place where students are aware of the resources our counselors provide on campus. We look forward to her continued leadership in spring semester!”
Sadie Pendaz-Foster
Sociology Faculty
PTK Faculty Advisor
Inver Hills Community College

Kim Swinney at PTK Induction Ceremony Fall 2022
“PTK graduated all of its officers and active members in the previous academic year. Laura took on the position of president with a positive attitude and a desire to create change on campus and in the community.”
Kimberly Swinney
Director of Student Life
PTK Staff Advisor
Inver Hills Community College
Sadie and Kim

More about Laura…

Laura Perez Zamarron

Originally from the state of Coahuila in Mexico, Laura is a graduate of Harding Senior High School. Laura and her husband, Jonathan, have two children, Jonathan, 10, and Mayah, 5. The family dog is named Canelo.

Laura works part-time while going to college in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. She loves music and singing; she also loves hiking, running, and biking.

Laura and her family reside in St. Paul.

Laura family and life gallery

Laura Perez Zamarron Q & A

Laura Perez Zamarron
What advice would you give first-generation students about life in college?

There will be many barriers to accomplishing your dreams. When you feel like giving up, just remember you must go through each barrier to get to your goal. Keep going, take breaks, and keep going until you get there. Inver Hills has a lot of resources, USE them all because that will help you get through.

Why did you choose nursing as your college major?

I was inspired by public health nurses at vaccination clinics during COVID. I worked at a bank for seven-plus years, and one day decided I wanted something different than an office job.

I ended up getting a job at Dakota County Public Health in the year 2019. I hadn’t started thinking about going to college yet, but after witnessing the selflessness of these nurses and seeing how much they cared for the community woke up my desire for helping, too.

I volunteered a lot to work at these clinics because I loved how I felt after coming home. I felt like I was doing something good and decided to go for it.

What do you find most exciting about the career path you’ve chosen?

What excites me the most is that I get to help people in their most vulnerable state, and I get to use my knowledge to make them feel better and possibly save a life.

Three words that describe you as a first-generation college student:

What do you like best about attending Inver Hills?

I like the resources available to me—also all the professors I’ve had so far have been very supporting and caring.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

I think that my children have influenced my life the most because they are the reason why I want to do better. I live to be the best example possible for them.

Where do you hope to find yourself in 20 years?

I hope to find myself working as a CRNA in a hospital.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Laura Perez Zamarron 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Running
  2. Place you would most like to visit: The ocean
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Travel to Mexico
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Save for my kids college 2) Buy a house for my parents 3) Help undocumented students with scholarships for college
  5. Best book or movie you’ve read or seen lately: Since it’s almost Christmas, I watch all the Home Alone movies
  6. Time period (past or future) you would explore if you could time travel: Past to see my loved ones who are not here anymore
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in your life: I want to be a good example for my family and for all the future nurses
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Northern  cardinal
  9. Dream occupation: Famous singer
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Warren Buffett
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: How to play the guitar
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Fast and processed food
Learn more about Phi Theta Kappa at Inver Hills by contacting:

Kimberly Swinney
Director of Student Life
PTK Staff Advisor
Inver Hills Community College

Sadie Pendaz-Foster
Sociology Faculty
PTK Faculty Advisor
Inver Hills Community College

Learn more about Nursing at Inver Hills by contacting:

Inver Hills Community College
Virtual Visit

More about Phi Theta Kappa at Inver Hills…

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) is the honor society of two-year college students. Alpha Omicron Beta is the PTK chapter at Inver Hills Community College. Students who become members of Phi Theta Kappa are welcome to be as engaged as their schedules allow with chapter activities and events.

About the Phi Theta Kappa membership process

1) Qualify for Membership

Students who complete at least 12 college-level credits, earn a 3.5 semester GPA in at least one semester, and who maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 qualify for membership. If you are not sent an invitation to join, contact

2) Invitations Sent

Invitation emails and letters are sent to eligible students after the second week of fall and spring semester each year. The invitation will include instructions and your individual passcode you need to join.

3) Join Online

Members pay a one-time membership fee and join using your passcode. If this fee is preventing you from joining, instead apply for membership using our membership fee waiver application

4) Induction and Get Involved!

We host an induction ceremony each semester. You must sign up to be inducted. Find out more by joining one of our meetings or take a look at our event calendar.

Apply for a membership fee waiver

Join PTK!


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