South Charlotte

She's an ambassador, mother

The Observer is honoring 10 high school students today who have been selected Seniors of the Year. Each will receive a $1,000 scholarship. The students come from a larger field of students nominated by guidance counselors across the region. Savjeet Brar, Tanner Fadero and Kyla Risko are featured here because their schools are in the region served by South Charlotte News. A complete list can be found in today's Charlotte Observer.

Shavon Cooper is part of a small, select group of graduate students chosen to aid in student recruitment efforts for Pfeiffer University's Charlotte campus on Park Road.

These students, known as Graduate Ambassadors, submit an application and complete an interview to participate. Members commit to attending at least three admissions events each semester to talk with prospective students about graduate school.

Volunteering to be a Graduate Ambassador "gets me more involved with the school I'm attending" Cooper said.

She likes the program and the opportunities to network that it brings.

"I think it's a good thing; I think it's a way of giving back to the university," she said.

Cooper, 32, is a native Charlottean pursuing dual master's degrees in business administration and health administration. She says her previous experience at the university as an adult undergraduate at Pfeiffer's Charlotte branch, coupled with the school's reputation, convinced her to enroll in graduate studies there a few years later.

Being a dedicated student, a parent of four children and a full-time employee means Cooper works to find a good balance.

"As a parent, you learn how to multitask," she said. "And that's become one of my strong suits."

She is an energy, engineering and health care executive recruiter for William H. Meanor & Associates and also does marketing for a youth basketball club.

Many students in graduate school at Pfeiffer work while taking classes, says Cooper, but those who don't might elect daytime classes.

Cooper attends her Pfeiffer graduate courses in the evenings and online.

"I like the convenience of it," she said. "My life is really busy."

In addition to taking classes year-round and serving the university as a Graduate Ambassador, Cooper belongs to the American College of Healthcare Executives and Phi Beta Lambda, an education association for students preparing for business careers. She also is a graduate assistant for business faculty.

A health practicum Cooper secured as a graduate student involved assisting at a nonprofit, free clinic for uninsured and underinsured individuals. She says she was brought in to ensure organizational processes closed out smoothly at a time when funding was coming to an end. Her efforts with the clinic's director enabled patients to make the transition to another health care provider with a sliding fee scale based on income and ability to pay.

Cooper expects to have both components of her graduate degree program (she'll finish health first, then business) completed in 2013.