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.