This profile article was first posted in the May 2012 CUAA newsletter
Rebecca is a 2012 graduate who studied chemical engineering and was actively involved in the Student Council during her time spent at Cooper. In May, she received a Service to the School Award from the Cooper Union Alumni Association. Each year, these awards are presented to graduates who have demonstrated exemplary service and leadership to The Cooper Union during their time as students.
Working for my chemical engineering degree and balancing that with other student activities like being involved in Cooper’s Intervarsity christian fellowship group and student government was the most challenging thing about attending Cooper.
….. and what did you find most rewarding?
Exactly the same thing I found challenging! …and also getting to know the intimate community at Cooper. I have dear friends from the student body as well as faculty. The small, close-knit Cooper community enabled me to get to know people really well – who they were, and where they came from. Not only did I find friends who I could count on to work together technically, but also friends to enjoy life with and lean on during times of struggle.
What was your academic focus while you attended Cooper Union?
Was it difficult to make the time to volunteer in the community and at Cooper Union while you completed your studies? How did you prioritize?
At certain times, yes (i.e. during finals) but definitely worth it and I have no regrets. I put schoolwork first but stopped when I knew I needed a mental break and when I knew there were community needs.
Do you have any advice for incoming students at Cooper Union?
Don’t be arrogant about how much you know no matter what praises and accolades you received in high school. Be eager to learn and reach out for help! Don’t let schoolwork consume you; there’s much more to life than doing well in school.
What would you like the Alumni Association to know about your graduating class?
It was an honor and pleasure to experience Cooper with the class of 2012. We’re such a diverse group of individuals with various backgrounds and personalities but we were able to change, mature, and grow together over the past four years we were at Cooper. We embraced moving to the new building and took charge when necessary to boost student giving during the semester and through our class gift.
What are your next steps (professionally and personally) now that you’ve completed Cooper Union?
I’m going for my PhD in chemical engineering at Washington State University and am excited to find a community that I can learn from and love as I did at Cooper. Personally, I’m looking forward to spending time outdoors (where there’s green and mountains) with my boyfriend, Joe Baylon, EE’12!
If you had the chance, what would you say to Peter Cooper today?
“Thank you.” I would share with him what a difference his institution and vision for that has had such a great impact on my life.