WCU Alumni Spotlight: Zaccheaus C.

A first-generation college student and immigrant, Zaccheaus C. hopes to inspire West Coast University students and alumni to stay true to their goals — even if the road seems long.

“I grew up in the capital of Zambia, a beautiful place with a lot of poverty,” Zaccheaus said. “I don’t think my parents completed more than the seventh grade. The desire to be a healthcare professional and complete an education with my background has not been easy.”

As a child in Lusaka, Zambia, Zaccheaus lost both parents at an early age. His father died when Zaccheaus was 7; and at age 15, his mother died after spending two weeks in and out of the hospital.

At her bedside, Zaccheaus found himself frustrated with the lack of resources to help treat his mother and the lack of answers from the hospital workers. When they were notified, Zaccheaus said, he was to learn they hadn’t been included in the patient care plan.

Hopeless and overwhelmed, Zaccheaus said that’s when his desire to go into healthcare really started.

“I wanted to have that healthcare knowledge so I could help explain what was going on and understand what steps were needed to have someone recover from an illness or be able to pass peacefully,” Zaccheaus said.

Two years after his mother’s death, Zaccheaus left Zambia to tour the United States with a professional singing group. For the next three years, Zaccheaus said he spent time travelling, singing a cappella, and meeting new people — and healing.

After considering what he wanted to achieve in life, Zaccheaus recalled his painful personal experience and decided to enroll at West Coast University in Texas.

While researching where to study nursing, Zaccheaus said he found it difficult navigating through the policies and applications of some universities. One of the reasons he liked WCU, he said, was its straight-forward eligibility requirements and the clear path to graduation.

“How many people are out there like me that have the drive to become good healthcare providers, but because of their history they aren’t able to move forward?” he asked. “A lot of schools didn’t give me this opportunity and I’m so thankful WCU gave me the chance to accomplish my dreams.”

Eventually graduating magna cum laude in 2017, Zaccheaus passed the NCLEX on his first try and is working toward his online master’s degree in nursing with WCU. For the past three years, Zaccheaus has worked as a registered nurse in the nationally recognized Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Orange County, California.

Zaccheaus said he loves the family-centered approach “since it is the family who knows the patient best.” He remembers the poor care his mother received and how his family was excluded, he said, so he strives to provide a better holistic care approach to his patients and their families.

Besides growing professionally, in 2020, Zaccheaus and his wife became parents for the first time after nearly 10 years of marriage.

“My wife and I have traveled all over the world — we have had such a good foundation for our marriage,” Zaccheaus said. “It’s nice to start this new journey of parenting together.”

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.