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Zachary Mayberry

2825

Bold Points

2x

Nominee

3x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hello, my name is Zachary, and I’m a happily married father of two beautiful boys and an educator of 6+ years who is currently living abroad in Japan while teaching at a local university. I’ve always been passionate about teaching, and I always thought that it would be the career that I would work until retirement, that is until I was diagnosed with (SLE) Lupus this past year and told to quit for my health by my doctors. The idea of ending my teaching career pains me, but for the sake of my health and family, after consulting with family, mentors, and most importantly God, I decided to pursue my second passion after teaching, which is in computers. To pursue this goal, I ended my Ph.D. studies at my previous university and enrolled in the B.S.: Computer Networks and Cybersecurity program at the University of Maryland. Those who know me, know that I’m not one to run away from hard work, and in order to make my dreams come true and to change careers, I’ve picked up a second job on the side so that I can fund my degree while also supporting my family at the same time. God-willing, I’m hoping to have my degree within the next 2-3 years when I return to the United States from Japan. I’ll do whatever I have to do to in order achieve my goal, but any support toward my cause would be eternally appreciated.

Education

University of Maryland Global Campus

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications

University of Maryland-College Park

Master's degree program
2015 - 2016
  • Majors:
    • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Minors:
    • Education, Other

University of Hawaii at Hilo

Bachelor's degree program
2011 - 2013
  • Majors:
    • Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other

Montgomery College

Associate's degree program
2007 - 2010
  • Majors:
    • Education, Other

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Computer Networking

    • Dream career goals:

      Digital Forensics Investigator

    • English Instructor

      Interac
      2014 – 20151 year
    • ESOL Teacher

      Sherwood High School
      2015 – 20194 years
    • Social Studies Teacher

      Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science Public Charter School
      2019 – 20201 year
    • 1st Grade Teacher

      Linden Hall Elementary School
      2020 – 20211 year
    • Lecturer

      Kyushu Sangyo University
      2021 – Present3 years

    Sports

    Football

    Intramural
    2004 – 20073 years

    Weightlifting

    Club
    2007 – Present17 years

    Research

    • Teaching English or French as a Second or Foreign Language

      Kyushu Sangyo University — Researcher
      2021 – Present
    • Teaching English or French as a Second or Foreign Language

      University of Maryland at College Park — Graduate Student
      2015 – 2016

    Arts

    • Redland Baptist Church

      Music
      2007 – 2015

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Montgomery County Recreation Department — Assistant Director
      2002 – 2015

    Future Interests

    Volunteering

    Jillian Ellis Pathway Scholarship
    Resilience is persevering despite the odds, and it’s something I’ve dealt with from the first day I stepped foot in a public-school classroom. Ever since I entered school, I’ve constantly had various individuals and teacher figures tell me what I couldn’t do, and that I should just settle for less rather than exert myself to overcome my individual weaknesses. Throughout my K-12 school life, I was often told that I was bad at math and many teachers gave up on me, but I refused to give up on myself, and through resilience, I was able to improve and pass all my required classes for graduation. When I was a senior in high school, I talked with my counselors about how I wanted to attend the University of Hawaii, but rather than support me and give me advice, they told me that I should think on a smaller scale and considering aiming for sports since I was “gifted” physically and athletically. In response to this, I stopped seeing my counselors, did my own research, and was accepted to the University of Hawaii as I had desired. Upon being accepted to the university, I was then faced with the reality that I couldn’t afford to go to school without financial aid. Typically, this isn’t a problem when your family has economic hardship, but my family, for my sake, worked extremely hard to earn money to live in an area with access to a well-established public school, but as far as the government was concerned, my parents' tax bracket was in the middle class, so there were no options available to us financially; despite the fact that my parents struggled to make ends meet each month. Despite this fact, however, I chose not to burden my parents any more than necessary, and I worked hard to save money for my school, and whatever I couldn’t afford, I used private loans to supplement. As a first-generation college student, I did my best to get through college on my own, and despite the difficulties, I graduated with a master’s degree in education 8 years later. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments and resilience, and the fact that I didn’t give up despite the odds against me, however, I am once again at a new crossroads in my life after being diagnosed with Lupus. With my diagnosis, I’ve been told that I should change careers, which has brought me back to step 1, as I prepare to start a new educational journey working towards a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. Unlike in the past, I am no longer bound by my parents’ salary, however, I now have a family of my own, and I cannot afford to pay for my college directly from my paycheck alone. Despite this fact, however, I refuse to give up, and I am committed to remaining resilient toward my goals, even if it means working an extra job if I must. As a teacher, I often worked in underrepresented schools, and I noticed how many students were quick to give up on their dreams before they even started. With my degree, I plan to give pep talks showing students that with effort and resilience, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished. I also plan to give voluntary seminars at local public schools on internet safety, since children are the most likely to be preyed upon by online criminals. I hope to use my life as an example to inspire future generations. If my story can help just one student, I feel as though my struggles will have truly been worth it.
    Susy Ruiz Superhero Scholarship
    When I was in high school, I was a student who loved to mess around in class. I was never serious, and I made it my mission to be disruptive in order to get a laugh out of my peers. I was relatively bright, so I didn’t get bad grades, but I also never truly applied myself which meant I also didn’t receive the highest grades in class either. As a result of my behavior, most teachers had given up on trying to instruct me; most teachers, except for one, my 10th grade social studies teacher, Mr. Hobson. Mr. Hobson was an unconventional teacher compared to most. Rather than acting high and mighty, he brought himself to the level of his students. He never tried to sound dignified, and in fact, would often curse and joke with his students in class. The sight of this teacher always touched a nerve with me for some reason, and I constantly tried to derail his class and bring chaos to his lessons. However, despite my efforts, Mr. Hobson was always able to go along with my jokes and provocations, and he would in fact high jack my jokes and use them to his advantage to further the class discussions. To me this teacher was an anomaly, and in all honesty, an eyesore. The reason that I was acting out was because I wanted people to pay attention to me to cover up my insecurities, yet this teacher redirected my efforts and took all the focus off me and onto himself and his lesson despite my best efforts. To me, this was like a denial of my existence, and eventually I got fed up with attending his class and started skipping it each day. Since P.E. class was the one class I truly loved in school, Mr. Hobson took advantage of that fact to show up during the timeslot I would normally have that class, waiting for me in the weight room. When I walked in to see Mr. Hobson sitting on a bench waiting for me, I realized what was happening and I tried to leave, but Mr. Hobson cut me off by asking me “Why are you so embarrassed of being bi-racial”? Somehow, he had figured out the root of all my insecurities. I retorted with various profanities, and again tried to leave, but he replied to me not with anger, but with these words, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could prove all of the racists wrong by making something of yourself instead of living up to their expectations”? These words stopped me in my tracks. I’d never thought of things in that manner before. Mr. Hobson then took the time to explain his own difficulties growing up Jewish in America during a time of anti-semitism, and he encouraged me to work hard not for the sake of doing well in school, but rather to show everyone else they were wrong. He took the opportunity to try and understand me for me, rather than just as a student. This eventually led me to put more effort into my studies and I looked forward to his class each day. He helped me throughout the remaining years of my high school days and wrote me recommendation letters to get into college to pursue my dream, which was to become a teacher who understood my students like him. Now, I am enrolled in school again due to medical circumstances, by the lessons that Mr. Hobson imprinted upon me still stick with me to this day.
    Mental Health Movement x Picmonic Scholarship
    Growing up, I was always told the famous line that most men hear growing from their fathers “Man up, real men don’t cry”. This was something that I was told on a constant basis, and since it was something that all my friends were also told, I truly believed that this was a fact, which led me to suppress my emotions. Fast-forward 30 years to 2019 when the Covid outbreak started, and I was forced to move to another country to avoid homelessness. When I moved, I had to give up everything including the friends, family, and possessions I had, and start over again in a foreign country where I was all alone aside from my wife and 2 children. At this time, I hadn’t realized it, but I had fallen into a deep state of depression because of the dramatic life change. I felt like a cup that was on the verge of overflowing, but whenever I wanted to cry and rely on others, I was reminded of the quote my father always told me, “Real men don’t cry”. Taking this to heart, I turned to alcohol to try and relieve myself of my pain, but this only led me toward alcoholism which almost destroyed myself and my family. What saved me from this time of crisis was my brother who was a recovering alcoholic. When I was struggling, he provided me with a shoulder to cry on, and although I was resistant at first to accept his support due to trying to being a “real man”, ultimately, I gave in and was released from my self-made prison of mental abuse and repression. I know that my case isn’t one that is unique, and because of that, I make it my mission to offer support and mental care to my fellow man whenever I can tell that they are struggling. The negligence of mental health for men is one of the modern tragedies of this generation, and I hope that I can help dispel the myths of being a “real man” one man at a time.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    A quote that means a lot to me actually comes from a television show that I used to watch with my father as a child which is called “Gurren Lagann”. The show itself wasn't anything surprisingly deep, but rather a fun tv show with people fighting in giant robots. However, one day when I was watching this show with my father, the characters began discussing whether they were making the right decisions or not, and one of the main characters stated in response, “Don't be distracted by the what-if's, should-haves, and if-only's. The one thing you choose for yourself - that is the truth of your universe”. This quote is one that I’ve carried with me even to this day. The reason that this quote had such an impact on me is because when the character in this show said this phrase, my father suddenly began discussing with me about how in life there are times when people will try and trick you with words, or put you down in order to try and manipulate you in your times of weakness and that I should never give in to those types of provocations. My father was a man who was always busy, always working to support my family, so there weren’t very many opportunities for me to spend time with him, so when he started having this discussion with me, it stuck with me since it was such a rare occasion. When my parents first got married they were looked down upon by the community around them because they were an interracial couple, however, my parents chose to ignore this because what was important to them wasn’t the reality of others, but rather their own personal reality between the two of them. My parents both came from relatively poor families, and they had to work hard to make ends meet each month, but they never complained, and they never regretted the choices they made despite the vocalizations of critics. As a result of perseverance and never giving in to what others told them, my parents were able to make it out of poverty and are now well off despite the odds against them. To this day they still remind me to follow my heart and what I think is right, and whenever I’m at a crossroads about what to do for the future, the quote that I heard on that fateful day rings faithfully in my mind. It doesn’t matter in regard to what could have happened if I made a different choice, but rather committing to the decision that I believe in and seeing it through to the end, despite the protests of those around me. The show I watched with my father itself may now be insignificant, but the message combined with the memory of that discussion with my father leads this quote to inspire and guide me whenever I feel uncertain about my decisions for the future and what I should do.
    Education Matters Scholarship
    There are many challenges that I’ve experienced in life, but one of the biggest challenges of adversity that I’ve had to overcome would have to be giving up everything I’ve ever had, to move with my wife and children to another country because of Covid-19. When Covid-19 first started spreading in the United States, I was a social studies/ESOL teacher in Hawaii teaching underprivileged students. I loved Hawaii, and I loved teaching; I was well established, and I had no intention of quitting anytime soon, that is until I was faced with the decision of homelessness. Due to Covid-19, tourism in Hawaii came to a halt, and since tourism is the state’s major source of income, the state had to make pay cuts across the board, including the pay of teachers. This left me with the reality of taking a pay cut and being unable to afford paying my rent or moving to my wife’s home country of Japan with my family and starting over all over again from zero until Covid-19 settles down. Ultimately, I made the choice to move to Japan, leaving everything behind, for the sake of my family. Once I moved to Japan, I had to swallow my pride and live with my in-laws until I was able to properly stand on my feet again. Living in a new country, I had to re-learn all the new social norms and expectations, and I had to learn to accept the fact that unlike in the United States, I would always be viewed as a second-class citizen since I wasn’t Japanese. When I was finally able to secure a new job, I was assigned to teach at an elementary school as an assistant to another teacher, even though I had a teaching license in my home country. It was a humiliating experience at first, but I had to learn to tolerate it for the sake of supporting my family. Eventually, I was able to come to terms with my new environment, and by staying focused despite the adversity of the situation, my work ethic was recognized by my superiors at work, and I was moved up from teaching at the elementary school, to teaching at the university within the organization. The entire experience was very humbling for me. Had I chosen to give up when I was feeling discouraged, I never would have made it to the position I reached. Through this experience, what I learned was that rather than feeling sorry for myself, the best way to be successful was to swallow my pride and persevere without giving up, despite what others may think about me. What matters isn’t what society thinks about you or what society thinks you can do, but rather what you, yourself think about yourself, and what you, yourself know that you can do. As a result of my adversity, I was able to grow as an individual and experience many new things that I otherwise wouldn’t have experienced had I stayed in Hawaii. Throughout this experience, I developed a new love of technology since I was expected to utilize it in my job daily, and as a result, I decided to enroll in a computer networking and security undergraduates program focusing on digital forensics. With this degree, I hope to one day work for the FBI as a digital forensics investigator to help catch criminals who prey upon children. With the help of your scholarship, I will do my best to make my dreams come true, and protect those who innocently fall victim to predators through ignorance. Thank you for your time.
    Chris Jackson Computer Science Education Scholarship
    Before I started my journey toward computer science, I was initially a proud teacher of ESOL in a local high school. You might be wondering how I came to make such a drastic change in career choices, and the reason comes down to my love of my students. When I was an ESOL teacher, I had a brilliant student who had come to this country as a freshman with zero English ability, yet by their senior year they were not only fluent, but they had received a full-ride scholarship to a local university. Unfortunately, this student fell victim to an online predator, and they ended up getting involved with child trafficking and ultimately killed in another country before they could even graduate. Despite all this taking place on the internet, however, there wasn’t a clear trail that led to the online predator, and ultimately, they were able to get away unscathed. As a result of this tragedy, I decided that despite my love of teaching, I wanted to be able to protect my students even more-so, especially in this digital age, which is what led me to pursue a degree in computer science with a focus on digital forensics and cyber security. Once I receive my degree, my goal is to work for the FBI as a digital forensics investigator to help catch predators like the one who preyed upon my past student. Another goal that I have upon receiving this degree, is to volunteer and give informational lectures about internet safety at local high schools. For me, money is not my motivating factor, but rather, the contribution that I can make in helping the upcoming youth of the next generation. If I can prevent a tragedy like the one I experienced, from happening again, I feel as though I will have done some justice by my past student who was ruthlessly killed for no reason. The reason that I believe that I am the best candidate for receiving this scholarship is because I’m not motivated by money, yet the limiting factor preventing me from fully pursuing my degree happens to be money. I am a first-generation college student who came from an impoverished family, and so to get my first degree in teaching I had to borrow money from the federal government. As a returning undergraduate student, however, I do not have that option any longer. Currently, I’m working 3 jobs to fund my degree, however, I am a happily married father of 2, and due to my workload, I’m unable to spend very much time with my family. With your scholarship, not only would I put my degree to good use to help catch criminals, but I would also use the extra time that I’m not having to work, to spend time with my children and focus on my family as well. I promise that if I’m chosen for this scholarship, that I will do my best to bring honor to the memory of Chris Jackson.
    Pandemic's Box Scholarship
    Hello, my name is Zachary Mayberry, and I can tell you that this pandemic has been incredibly challenging in various ways. When the pandemic started I was a teacher living in Hawaii, and as the pandemic started to get worse I had to face the reality of having to leave everything behind and move abroad temporarily or risk potential homelessness for my family and me, as a result of mass pay-cuts across the state. Ultimately I ended up choosing to move abroad with my family to live with my wife’s family in Japan, which led me to a dark place mentally as I struggled to find purpose in my daily life after losing everything I’d worked for in the states. However, once I opened my eyes to the various different opportunities around me I was able to gain a new perspective on life and discover new career opportunities I’d never considered before. This led me to find a new passion in technology and as a result, I’ve enrolled in a new program of study in computer networking and security. If the pandemic never happened I never would have discovered this new passion, so oddly, I feel grateful for new opportunities.
    Darryl Davis "Follow Your Heart" Scholarship
    Hello, my name is Zachary Mayberry, and I am an adult learner returning to undergraduate school to get a bachelor’s degree in computer networks and security. I am an educator of 6+ years, and the reason that I am returning to school is that I was recently diagnosed with (SLE) Lupus and told by my doctors that it was a wise decision to quit my profession for the sake of my health. I’d always thought that teaching would be the God-given calling that I would work until retirement, but as I’ve learned over the years, my personal plan sometimes greatly differs from the plan that God has in my life. The reason I decided to pursue this avenue of study is that aside from teaching, I’ve always been passionate about computers and technology. More specifically, however, the reason I am choosing to focus on computer networks and security is that I’m hoping to specialize in digital forensics. The reason that I want to pursue studies in digital forensics is that in this current day and age one of the largest platforms that crime takes place on is on the internet, and unfortunately, there is a major lack of digital forensics specialists to pursue the criminals who engage in these illicit activities. The reason that I’m motivated to try and become one of these specialists myself is because in the past, I had a student whom I’d worked with for 4 years who fell prey to human trafficking because of reckless internet use. Unfortunately, the criminal who solicited my student still hasn’t been found to this day, unlike my student who was found months later murdered in another country south of the border. For this reason, I’m very passionate about this new direction in my studies because I want to do my best to ensure that an event like what happened with my student never happens again. Aside from my career and aspirations, I am also a happily married father of two beautiful boys. I am a pastor’s son and was raised up in the church. Following the teachings of Christ in John 15:12, I’ve always done my best to love and assist my fellow brother, and I’ve volunteered and worked with exceptional children for the past 15+ years since 2002. Throughout my youth, I was always a worship leader in the church, and that hasn’t changed into adulthood, even now, I am temporarily living in Japan, and I work to translate English worship songs into Japanese only a weekly basis so that we can have a bilingual worship service each week. If I’m selected to receive this scholarship, I intend to give all the glory to Christ, and I intend on using the knowledge I will acquire through my studies to protect as many vulnerable individuals as possible. I also intend on assisting law authorities in tracking down those who would harm innocents. Lastly, I’d also like to use my newfound knowledge to help bolster church websites, which are generally unprotected without the help of a specialist which tends to be quite expensive. I thank you for taking the time to read my essay, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be able to apply for this scholarship as well. If I’m selected for this scholarship, I can assure you that your donation will be put to good use, and the kindness will be returned in kind to all those I am able to help.