(OPINION) ‘Heart of the Pioneer’ adviser leaving journalism program

By Zoe Petersen and Citlali Vazquez-Perez

Oklahoma City Community College professor, department chair, and adviser to the Pioneer Markus Zindelo had been a journalist for 17 years and a professor and treasure of the OCCC community for over 20 years.

In the whirlwind that has been 2020 and 2021 so far, the care that Zindelo puts into his work has only meant that much more to those around him.

Recently, members of the Pioneer staff said they wanted to nominate Zindelo for some sort of recognition through the school, but did not hear back from his former dean or the president of Academic Affairs on how to proceed. 

With the semester coming to a quick end and no help from Arts, English and Humanities administration, the Pioneer staff decided to work together to honor Zindelo with an award they had custom made independently of the college. 

The award presented read “Honoring Markus Zindelo for unmatched dedication to his students – 2021 Pioneer Staff”. 

Editor-in-Chief and senior staff member of the Pioneer, Zoë Petersen said the staff wanted to show their gratitude for Zindelo.

“A couple of us are graduating this term and we wanted to do something to thank him for everything he has done for us while we still had the opportunity to do it as a team.” 

During his time at OCCC, both co-workers and students alike have much to say about what it has been like to work with him and been taught by him. 

“Mr. Zindelo typically rejects any idea that the things he does for us are in any way out of the ordinary, but the extra miles he has gone for his students are what has gotten us to the finish line,”  Petersen said.

“We are so grateful to have been lucky enough to have Mr. Z as a professor, adviser, advocate, and friend in our time at OCCC and the paper,” she continued.

Pioneer Sports Editor and senior staff member Joey Ross said Professor Zindelo has been a source of support for him.

“Professor Zindelo has meant a lot to me. I cannot thank him enough for not only giving me the opportunity to do what I love but believing in me when no one else would,” Ross said.

Students have praised Zindelo for the compassion he shows every student that walks into his classroom. 

“Working with Professor Z, I have always felt like he wants all of us students to succeed. He always makes time for every student’s needs and helps them to the best of his abilities,” said Kyle Batt, journalism.

“I think anyone who has the opportunity to be around him or take his classes should absolutely take it. He’s been one of the most understanding and helpful professors I’ve ever had,” he said. 

However, it is not only the student community that think highly of Professor Zindelo.

“It is an absolute joy working with Professor Zindelo!  The passion he has for teaching and his willingness to guide his students’ success as well as his colleagues success is honestly inspirational!  I am definitely honored to be his colleague and friend,” said Professor Mark Scott.

“He has provided stalwart support and freedom to create compelling courses.  I am fortunate — as are all of us at OCCC — to know and partner with Prof. Zindelo,” said Professor Lisa McCollough.

Thank you Professor Zindelo for everything you have done and continue to do for OCCC, the Pioneer, and your students.