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Jereel CooperJereel Cooper ’18

Mechanical Engineering
Houston, TX

Meet Jereel Cooper. This mechanical engineering major and peer mentor in the PIVOT for Academic Success Program (PIVOT) wants to use his top-tier education to help make a difference in other people’s lives.

“UTSA opened my eyes to so many new opportunities and helped me see how much the world has to offer,” said Jereel Cooper.

Growing up in Houston, Cooper was a natural born athlete who enjoyed playing football and running track. But he faced academic challenges after being diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age.

“My greatest challenge in life ’til this day was when I was told that I would never be able to read,” he said. “In the fifth grade, when I finally learned how to read, I realized that I could truly accomplish anything.”

Cooper wants to make a difference in others’ lives just as his elementary school teachers, who helped him learn to read, made a difference in his. He came to UTSA to pursue his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.

He knew instantly that UTSA was the right place for him after his first campus visit.

“After viewing the campus, my mind was truly blown away by the beauty that UTSA embodies relative to San Antonio’s culture. It’s truly beautiful,” he said.

Cooper credits UTSA for helping him mature and develop a plan for his future.

“Coming in, I had no idea what to expect. I came in thinking that I knew who I really was and where I was headed,” he said. “UTSA opened my eyes to so many new opportunities and helped me see how much the world has to offer.”

Cooper takes great pride in his role in the PIVOT program. The outreach program was created to increase student engagement, retention and graduation at UTSA and the Alamo Colleges. As a peer mentor, he helps prepare and transition new UTSA students by helping them obtain academic and social support.

On track to graduate in 2018, Cooper has plans to start his own company to help other engineers and inventors, like himself, succeed.

“My goal is to research and develop new and innovative ways to help disabled individuals to live an easier life,” he said. “I want to ensure that regardless of how someone is born, they can still live life to their full potential without any limitations.”

More than anything, Cooper hopes to use his education to make the world a better place.

“The friendships and bonds that I have formed at UTSA with my peers, professors and co-workers have given me great hope in believing that my future outside of UTSA will be bright,” he said. “In life, you are faced with many challenges and regardless of what the circumstances are, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself how bad do you really want this, and make a conscious decision to either quit and give up or fight and press on.”

Story by Erika Bruno