Penny Zent has been an employee of Educational Broadcast Services at Texas A&M University (TAMU) for the past twenty-six years and currently serves as a station manager for KAMU-FM, an NPR/PRI/APM affiliate. Serving as the daily host of Mid-Day Classics, the Classics & Their Times and Brazos Arts on FM 90.9 keeps her busy; however, Zent believes giving back to her community is a priority and she does just that.
Zent is active in the arts community as well as with the United Way of the Brazos Valley. The United Way of the Brazos Valley is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization that brings people and resources together to build healthier communities throughout the Brazos Valley. Zent is an active United Way volunteer and served as the group’s past Board Chair. Under her leadership, the United Way set about its journey to be impact-driven. This was a change that many were not used to and less than comfortable with. However change is one of the only things that is a constant in this world, and Zent made a change.
During Zent’s term as Board Chair the organization purchased a new facility. This was something that was needed but to some it was only a dream. She dealt with months of difficult negotiations and very intricate business dealings, but Zent did not give up. She kept a positive attitude and the dream became a reality. The direction, guidance and visionary thinking Zent provided was exactly what the project needed to have a positive end result. Board members in the future will benefit many years from now because of the new path Zent chartered for the United Way.
In addition, Zent is a member of the Brazos Valley Chorale and the Brazos Valley Symphony. She has been principal flutist of the Symphony since 1984 and serves on the Board of Directors of the Brazos Valley Symphony Society. Zent has toured internationally with a flute choir and has been recognized many times for her abilities. She also supports both groups in other capacities whenever there is a need.
Zent serves on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Miracle Network Brazos Valley. She is Immediate-Past Chair of the United Way of Brazos Valley, and is the Vice-Chair and Treasurer of the National Friends of Public Broadcasting. Zent also volunteers by recruiting others. She works to garner community donations for various causes and is an integral part of the annual “Day of Caring.” Zent will cook hamburgers for the Youth Leadership Cabinet, fix eggnogs for holiday Board meetings and whatever else it tales to help her community.
Zent is a graduate of the Leadership Institute at TAMU and a member of the 2002 Class of Leadership Texas. Because of her dedication to the community, she has been honored as Brazos Valley Chorale Volunteer of the Year, a Woman of Distinction by the Bluebonnet Girl Scout Council, Trustee of the Year for the National Friends of Public Broadcasting and a Prenatal Clinic Honoree. Zent was also chosen as a Board Member of the Year for the United Way of the Brazos Valley and received both the Litter Watchdog Award and Media Signal Award from Keep Brazos Beautiful.