Zeigler was raised in Birmingham by her mother, Myrtle. She graduated from Hayes High School, where she was mentored by librarian Alpha Robertson. She studied criminal justice at UAB with an eye toward a political career, and was elected vice president of the UAB Student Government Association.
When she decided to become a State Trooper, Zeigler wrote to Patrol Commander Jerry Shoemaker. He initially dismissed her application, but eventually relented after she continued "bugging" him. Another female candidate was admitted with the same 18-week training academy, but dropped out the first day. Zeigler showed unusual determination, and was assigned to active duty at the Selma Post in Dallas County in July 1979.
- "Patrolling Alabama's Highways: State's first woman trooper tackles klan, speeders, drunks" (December 1979) Ebony. Vol. 35, No. 12, pp. 55-60