Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor John Zambo (’18) Committed to Life of Service


“Personally, being at Ave Maria has given me hope and encouragement for life,” reflects Wisconsin-native John Zambo. “It has always been a major gift to be here, and I try to share the hope and joy that being at Ave Maria has given me with everybody else.”

John departs from AMU on May 5th alongside his fellow members of the Graduating Class of 2018. On April 22nd, John was announced as one of the five finalists for the President’s Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior of Ave Maria University in recognition of academic accomplishments, involvement in the life of the University, service to others, and exemplification of AMU’s highest Catholic ideals.  

During his time at AMU, John was in the Honors Program, a Mother Teresa Scholar, and involved with the AEI on Campus Executive Council. In terms of his campus involvement, he was a member of the Fishers of Men faith household, the Investment Club, and Students for Life. Academically, he is a five-time Dean’s List recipient–an impressive number for someone who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury during his college career.

The summer after John’s freshman year at AMU, he was in a car accident that caused his traumatic brain injury from which doctors said he would not survive. After a miraculous recovery, John returned to school the Fall of the following year. “For a long time after I suffered my traumatic brain injury, I had the feeling that the only reason that God kept me alive was to give His love and His mercy to everyone that I encountered,” he shares. “I felt that I was alive to give my life, which is a huge gift, back to everyone around me as a gift. I felt like that’s why He let me come back to Ave. So that’s what I try to do every day,” he goes on. “And Ave Maria is a great environment for me to be able to practice that.”

After a miraculous recovery, John Zambo is committed to living a life of service.

John is eager to devote his life in service to others. He expresses how his time at Ave Maria University, especially his involvement with the Mother Teresa Project, helped him practice the life of service that he desires to live, but also how, professionally speaking, AMU has helped him discover a career that allows him to use his talents to serve. John elected to earn a bachelor’s degree in Managerial Economics and Strategic Analysis because he loves exercising the skills that go along with it: critical analysis, logical reasoning and deduction, and strategic planning. But also, a career in finance affords John the opportunity to help others use their money well, and by doing so, become better persons. “I would love to be a financial planner from a Catholic perspective,” he explains, “so I can build relationships with people and help them use their money well to meet their goals and grow to become better people.”

John received an internship with Macke Financial Advisory Group, an opportunity which he credits to the resources available at AMU. “Career Services has helped me with my resume, job hunting, and interviewing,” he says. In the future, he hopes to land a starting job in the field of finance, and eventually, to become a financial planner. Until then, he continues to work hard, trust in God’s will, and live a life of serving others. “We will see what happens,” John states, “but I am just trying to do my best every day and I will see where God has me end up.”

Congratulations to John on his outstanding achievements at AMU over the last four years, and for earning yet another honor by being named a President’s Award finalist. We wish him the best of luck as he prepares for graduation!