The new director of student life knows quite a bit about pursuing dreams.
Ever since Director Sean Cooke attended Pierce College Puyallup and served as the student body president, he knew what he wanted to be. And now he has returned to where his love for student leadership first began.
“I am really excited to come home to where this dream started,” Cooke said. “I had a conversation about it with Mari Kruger (former director of student support services and student life) in the very office I’m in now.”
Before coming to Pierce College as a student, Cooke served in the U.S. Army. He returned a different man after he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It has affected every part of my life since then,” Cooke said.
Serving overseas broadened his world view and made him really consider what he wanted to do with his life.
Once he completed his service in the Army, he wasn’t done serving others. He became a student leader at the Puyallup campus in 2006 and was motivated by Student Programs.
“You hope to find inspiration as a student,” Cooke said. “That moment came to me as a student leader.”
Cooke enjoyed helping other students and decided to make it his career. So once he earned his associates degree at Pierce, he attended the University of Washington Tacoma and majored in interdisciplinary arts and sciences with focus in ethnic, gender and labor studies.
He currently is working on his master’s degree in student affairs administration through Western Washington University. Before returning to Pierce College, he worked at Clover Park Technical College as the student engagement coordinator for four years.
Cooke has many ideas for the Puyallup campus, but first he wants to get reacquainted with the system and program. Despite this, he still has many goals in mind, including expanding clubs.
“I want to see clubs grow,” Cooke said. “I think we can have a lot more clubs. Clubs are an amazing opportunity for students to do amazing things, and they are even funded by Student Programs.”
He also wants Pierce College students to start using their voices and become more active in legislature activity.
“We are dramatically affected by the Legislature,” he said. “We need to get students active and have a big presence in Olympia.”
His biggest goal is to improve one of Pierce College’s stronger areas.
“This leadership program has a reputation for being good,” Cooke said. “I want to build upon that legacy and help expand the team’s possibilities. There’s no actual scoring system, but I want us to have the best student leadership program in the state.”
Cooke has a number of interests, including camping, fishing, hunting, preparing for a zombie apocalypse, motorcycles and spending time with his family.
His wife Jennifer is the district student success manager at the Fort Steilacoom campus. The couple has a 1-year-old daughter, Autumn Katherine.
“This is exactly what I want to do, where I want to do it,” Cooke said. “If I affect students’ lives in a positive way and they in turn also influence others in a positive way, then I know I’ve done my job.”
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