Class of 2019
“I am a firm believer that the construction of compelling narrative is a key pillar to our society … and I felt the best place for me to learn how to do that was at Cazenovia.” 

Setting an example for her sisters by attending college affordably.

Holly Cooper ʼ19 selected Cazenovia College because of the small class sizes and the opportunity to be an important part of a close community. She discovered Caz on her own while researching colleges in high school and decided to visit. Cooper shares, “When I first arrived on campus, I immediately noticed the positive energy of the students and faculty … It made me excited to be here.” She returned for orientation and met many faculty and upperclassmen who would later become familiar faces in classes and clubs, including Vicky Sokolowski ʼ09, director of campus activities and advisor to the Campus Activities Board (CAB). Cooper says, “Vicky quickly became my favorite staff member on campus and throughout my time at Cazenovia helped me grow into the leader I am today.” 

Important to Cooper’s decision to attend Cazenovia College was being awarded the Founder’s Scholarship. She recalls, “Being awarded the scholarship had a major effect on my decision to come to Cazenovia, I had already really liked the school and the program but the financial aid I was awarded sealed the deal for me.” Cooper is the oldest of three and it is important to her to set a good example for her younger sisters. Going to college was an opportunity to model good behavior, however, the cost was worrisome to Cooper. The help she received was both welcome and important because it not only helped to secure her future with a minimal amount of debt, but it also allowed her younger sisters to see that it was possible to receive a college education without undue burden. She says, “So, in the grand scheme of things receiving my Founder’s Scholarship from Cazenovia made receiving a college education that much more achievable and gave me the ability to continue to set a good example for my younger sisters.”     

Contributing to Cooper’s qualifications for receiving a scholarship were high grades and AP classes. Also of value were her extracurriculars. By the time Cooper graduated from high school, she had played three varsity sports for four years (field hockey, indoor, and outdoor track), was a member of the musical cast for three, had held executive board positions for multiple clubs, and volunteered outside the classroom. She shares, “I think it was my ability to balance these extracurriculars and academics that led to my being awarded the scholarship.”

A passion for storytelling led to Cooper’s major in visual communications with a dual concentration in animation/illustration and graphic design. She declares, “I am a firm believer that the construction of compelling narrative is a key pillar to our society … and I felt the best place for me to learn how to do that was at Cazenovia.”  One of Cooper’s favorite courses was Animation, which challenged her to build visual connections between her target audience and the imagery she was creating. Particularly helpful to her college educational experience was Cooper’s advisor, Professor Laurie Selleck, who was always willing to answer her questions and offer guidance.

Cooper enjoyed many visual communications projects; however, her favorite was a semester-long senior project. She shares, “One of the really neat things about Caz’s visual communications program is that you can customize your learning, right down to your capstone. It is because of this style of learning that I was awarded the opportunity to showcase my passion for narrative by completing a pitch for an animated television series as my senior capstone, which in the end became the project I am most proud of.”
Another key element to Cooper’s Cazenovia College experience was interning with CAB, which helped her to build key leadership characteristics such as creative problem-solving and group collaboration. She has also been involved in many clubs including CAB and Spilled Ink, the College’s art and literary magazine. Cooper thoroughly enjoyed being a part of these clubs and served as a member of both executive boards. She was awarded the position of editor and chief of Spilled Ink her sophomore year and then was Live Music chair for CAB half of her junior year and then half of her senior year. Cooper reflects, “Being involved in these clubs greatly influenced my development as a leader and were key fixtures to my time as an undergraduate.”
After graduating in May, Cooper has planned to take a year off and work in her field before going to graduate school for a Master of Fine Arts. Ultimately, she would like to be a college professor. While her Cazenovia College experience has had a few bumps along the way, it led her to become an accomplished leader. Cooper’s advice to future students? “Become a champion for yourself and the things you are passionate about.”