The Lakeland Mirror

Journey to the Koehler: Nathaniel Cooper

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Journey to the Koehler: Nathaniel Cooper

Gabrielle Boss, Staff Reporter

Former student government president Nathaniel Cooper is one of four students in the running for 2018’s Koehler Award, the most prestigious award given at the annual Honors Banquet.

Cooper is originally from Gbarnga, Liberia. He was born during the Liberian Civil War, which meant that his family moved around a great deal. When the war ended in 2003, he and his family settled in town with about 40,000. His mother is a hardworking single mother who runs a small business.

“She always made sure my siblings and I had food to eat, clothes to wear, and money to go to school,” said Cooper.

As a child, he spent a lot of time playing. As he got older, he began to take on more responsibilities through helping his mother with her business. He was involved in his school’s leadership and community organization, played a variety of sports, served in different leadership positions, and joined the local YMCA. He held many leadership roles including director of his high school press club and chairman of his country’s Children’s Assembly, allowing him to represent the children of his country at the national level.

As Cooper began learning about Lakeland University, he became interested in the family-like environment, financial support and leadership opportunities. While enrolled at Lakeland University, Cooper double majored in computer science and business administration. He was a busy student, serving as the President of Lakeland’s Student Government Association (SGA), the Public Relations Officer for the Global Student Association (GSA) and a resident assistant for two and a half years. He was also a member of the Spiritual Life Council and the men’s soccer team.

Cooper said his favorite moments at Lakeland were “spending time with friends and performing at International Night.”

One of the major differences between he and his fellow contenders is that Cooper has graduated from Lakeland University. Now that he has left Lakeland, he is working full-time as an IT desktop technician with Graphics Systems Corporation in Germantown, Wis. He has also started a company called Dashiki Nations with two other students from Lakeland University.

After graduation, Cooper plans to continue working full-time while building his company on the side. He also wants to earn a master’s degree in the next two to three years. He has major aspirations for the future, wishing to become the CEO of his own technology company.

As for personal goals, he states that he wants “to keep learning and giving back to my communities as well as lead a humble, free-spirited and minimalist life.”

Cooper would like to thank everyone for all the support he receives from Lakeland University, his friends and family.

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6 Responses to “Journey to the Koehler: Nathaniel Cooper”

  1. Gayflor Beyan Garvelee Jr on April 9th, 2018 4:48 pm

    He has been a personal friend of my in community service during his days in Gbarnga,Bong County while in High school.
    I see as motivation to his generation and strongly believe he do more as he is being given the opportunity to morning.

  2. Leroy Beldeh on April 9th, 2018 5:18 pm

    Nat is a great mind. He is one of our highly respected Liberia alumni for the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program,a U.S Department of State sponsor student exchange program for high school students.

    From the day I recruited Nat from high school for the exchange program,I knew he had great potentials .Congratulations Nat!

  3. Ann Weeden on April 9th, 2018 8:14 pm

    I was honored to meet Nathaniel when he was an AFS YES student at Christian High School in Sheboygan. He emitted his humility and honesty to the highest degree. Always putting others first. He truly has earned all that he done. So proud to know him.

  4. Abel Massaley on April 9th, 2018 9:28 pm

    Our world today needs men. Men who are honest and humble; who will be a hope to those almost giving up. Nathaniel is a very humble and kind young man. My last time interacting with him at the US Embassy in Liberia few months ago was quite educative. Brother I also admire the spirit of creativity that is in you. Keep pushing, remember Liberia is depending on you, moreover God has called you for a purpose.

  5. Abel R. Okai on April 10th, 2018 9:29 am

    I have known Cooper, for a little over 3 years now in Gbarnga, Bong County.

    Cooper is a hard working fellow, loves making new friends, caring for the ordinary people, committed to meeting deliverables when appropriates, and a lot more.

    Cooper, in my mind, deserves such an award especially where he has gotten a first degree which I believe serves as a tool to be in a greater position to acclaim such.

    His works, commitment and passion, looking for the good and applying efforts toward his successes and others, have been overrated by far since knowing Cooper.

    With such a great experience knowing Cooper, he’s going to bring pride and dignity to this noble institution looking at him already an alumni.

    Thanks for accepting my views, and hope it puts him in a greater path.

  6. Nelson P. Kolliesuah on April 10th, 2018 9:43 am


    Natt is a resourceful and spirited person with worth of experiences in Community services and Leadership. It is not new to me because he had always exercised restraint and full participation in all he did. He was never too quick to judge.

    Natt is a complete mirror of change whose track records are worth welcoming.


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