Cooper grew up in Okemos, MI, just miles away from where he would graduate from Michigan State University with degrees in Fisheries & Wildlife and Professional Writing in 2016. He intends to utilize skills based in science and communication to influence values, beliefs and behaviors people have regarding the natural world. It is his passion to build a relationship between people and nature grounded in understanding and stewardship.
During his education, he worked to increase waste diversion rates on campus by working as an Outreach Coordinator at the Michigan State University Recycling Center. He spent his time speaking with students and staff about opportunities to lessen their impact on the waste stream while also coordinating social media outreach and evaluating waste reduction program success. Furthermore, Cooper spent time as a graduate assistant with Eastern Box Turtle population research in Southwest Michigan and also traveled to South Africa to study National Parks and Nature Reserves in the context of conservation and sustainability.
After graduation, Cooper accepted an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) position through the United Way of Northwest Michigan where he will be working on site at the Grand Traverse Conservation District. He will be working to build on the growing success of education programs and curriculum while increasing the Conservation District’s capacity to involve community members to formulate environmental education programs that benefit all nature lovers, as well as those that aren’t yet aware they are nature lovers.
During personal time, Cooper loves to hike, kayak, downhill ski, experience new places, meet new people, and laugh.