Those Who Can, Teach!
teach. Learn. Grow.
Zemen Marrugi was born in Baghdad, Iraq in the midst of the Iraq/Iran War. In hopes for a more promising future, her parents decided to leave Iraq and make their way to the U.S. After many years of travel and a treacherous journey, the Marrugi family was able to make their way to the U.S. in 1991.
As an ESL student, Zemen struggled in school. Her family’s humble beginnings and the language barrier made it challenging to excel academically, but Zemen’s perseverance gave her the will to achieve her academic goals, despite all the odds that were against her. In 2000, she became the first person in her family to graduate from high school as she received her diploma from Pershing High School in Detriot, Michigan. That same month, she made history again when she became the first person in her family to enroll in college, beginning her undergraduate career at Wayne State University.
Zemen's career in event management began while in college and expanded with logistical, financial and creative management. She consistently developed new design concepts for clients and worked to ensure that all of their needs were met appropriately. Her event planning experience is broad and includes both private and public sectors. In addition, Marrugi is very active in community service and has volunteered on several local boards, with a variety of events including several Hart Plaza festivals. Her attention to detail is legendary and she is frequently asked to lecture and give seminars on her work.
Zemen started her career in event management in 2001 at Wayne State University. As an undergraduate student, she was elected by the student body to serve as the Chair of Wayne State University’s Student Council’s Program Board. Her role as the Program Board Chair was recognized when WSU won two major awards from the NACA National Association for Campus Activities including the Excellence in Programming Award for a programming budget of over $75,000 and the Award for Best Marketing Design at the 2003 NACA Mid-West Regional Conference in Peoria, IL.
Zemen’s role with NACA continued as she served on Showcase Selection, Regional Leadership Team and the Board of Directors. Throughout her five year involvement with NACA, she presented countless workshops at regional and national conventions, along with published articles in the NACA Programming Magazine. When asked about her involvement with NACA, Zemen enthusiastically replied, “My role with NACA planted the foundation in me for being a great team player. The people I met during my career in Campus Activities and the experiences with working with so many different convention centers from all over the country made me love event management and understand and appreciate the power of a well organized program.”
Upon the completion of her role as the SCPB Chair, Zemen was offer a job as a Programming Assistant for the WSU Student Center Administration. She served on countless committees and project boards and partnered with a variety of different departments on campus. Zemen also served as the President of Wayne State University’s Student Alumni Association for four years.
Aside from her extracurricular activities, Zemen’s academic standing was always very important to her. As an Education major, she served as a contributing writer for the WSU student newspaper, the SouthEnd, was part of the Honor’s Program and was awarded the David Adamany Undergraduate Leadership Scholarship four years in a roll. She also received the ACUI Association of College Unions International Region 7 Colleen Hennessy Undergraduate Award for her work in Campus Activities with the Student Center Administration.
During her undergraduate career, Zemen served as a student representative on various national boards including NACA Board of Directors, Miss Wheelchair Michigan’s Board of Governors, Wayne State University Alumni Association and the Arab and Chaldean Festival.
In 2005, she co-founded Opal E Event Planning with business partner Jacqueline M. Northrop. Together, they formed a variety of different projects for the Metro-Detroit area.
In 2005, she, along with eleven other women from various backgrounds created the Alpha Beta Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Incorporated at Wayne State University. Teaching diversity and acceptance has always been a vital part of Zemen’s life mission. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Arab and Chaldean Festival in Detroit, MI and enjoys promoting the arts and cultural history of the Middle East every year in Hart Plaza Downtown Detroit. In 2006, she was recognized with the Ambassador of Peace Award from the Universal Peace Federation for her work with diversity and peace initiatives.
From 2009-2011, Zemen worked with Detroit Synergy Group as their Administrative Coordinator. Detroit Synergy’s is a grassroots non-profit organization that works to generate positive perceptions and opinions about Detroit by bringing together a diverse community and building upon the City's strengths and resources to realize a common vision for a greater Detroit. Zemen's work with Detroit Synergy Group was recognized by the Detroit City Council as she was awarded the Sprit of Detroit Award in 2011.
In 2010, Zemen began her career in broadcasting by hosting Weddings 101 with Zemen Marrugi on MEA Middle Eastern Television.
Zemen received her Master’s in Educational Leadership with a certification in Administration from Grand Valley State University in 2012.
In 2012, Zemen began her educational blog ‘Those Who Can, Teach,’ which has been visited by educators from over forty-five different countries. When asked about why she began writing her educational blog, Zemen replied, “I wanted the blog to serve as an outlet for educators to go to for creative teaching ideas, one where teachers from all over the world can access and receive information on how to improve their craft.”
Zemen is currently working on publishing a series of fictional children's books.
“Nothing is impossible with a strong will. If something is important enough to take a second of your time to think about, then it’s worth all of your power to make it come true. Dream big, invest in your dreams and you will persevere!" Zemen Marrugi