By Regina Smith
Carmen Zambrano ’82 was an international student from Peru, who had always longed to travel to America. “At 16 years old, I went to the American Embassy all by myself to request a student visa,” she says. The embassy denied her at first, but she persisted and received help from an uncle in America.
In spring 1980, Carmen enrolled in Professor William H. Anderson’s Systems Analysis and Design class, where she met Jeff Barr ’84. “After I met Jeff,” says Carmen, “I aced all my computer science classes.”
Jeff regularly asked Carmen if she needed any help. Apparently, Jeff was seeking a binary relationship early on (he wanted to be number one—or nothing). Carmen says he was a gentleman.
“We used to do homework together,” says Jeff, who had made a last-minute decision that spring to attend Montgomery College, instead of University of Maryland.
Four months after their first date, he proposed. They married after a two-year engagement, and continued their computer science studies together at American University.
Now married for nearly 30 years, Carmen and Jeff have five children—two boys and three girls. They all have visited Peru many times and speak Spanish fluently.
Jeff is a technology evangelist for Amazon Cloud Computing. He works from home one to two days per week, when he is not traveling. His public speaking engagements have included developer conferences in Europe, China, and Japan.
A Realtor for six years now, Carmen initially worked for an architectural firm for 10 years. She later became a stay-at-home mom and pursued a real estate license.
Although the Barrs have lived in Washington state for 14 years, their extended family still resides in Maryland (two nieces are currently enrolled at Montgomery College).
Recounting their MC memories, and courses like Assembly Language and IBM Mainframes, they also recall two stand-out professors: Katherine B. (Kitt) Simms and John M. (Jack) Lloyd.
The Barrs also continue to encourage others to attend Montgomery College.
“Montgomery College provides an awesome education,” says Jeff. Carmen agrees:“[It] is a great way to get started in life, and it is really affordable.”
Jeff Barr has recently written a book on cloud computing. It has been translated in Japanese and Italian, and may be forthcoming in Portuguese: Host Your Web Site in the Cloud: Amazon Web Services Made Easy: Amazon EC2 Made Easy
Surrounded by their five children, Carmen Zambrano ’82 and Jeff Barr ’84 enjoy life in Washington state. The pair met in Professor William Anderson’s Systems Analysis and Design class in 1980.