Sophomore Jasmine Cooper Receives $75,000 Jesse L. Jackson Sr. Fellows Scholarship

Friday, September 04, 2015

Simon Nagata, Jasmine Cooper, Jesse Jackson

UNCW sophomore Jasmine Cooper’s drive to excel has earned her a $75,000 Jesse L. Jackson Sr. Fellows Scholarship as well as an internship and mentorship with Toyota.

Cooper is one of 10 engineering and business college students from across the country selected to receive the first-ever Jesse L. Jackson Sr. Fellows Scholarship, sponsored by Toyota and Rainbow PUSH Excel. She will also have the opportunity to work at one of Toyota’s facilities to gain valuable, real-world experience and be paired with a mentor from Toyota management to help guide her through the next three years of college. The company’s goal is to prepare students for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs. The 10 finalists’ studies range from business finance and marketing to chemical and mechanical engineering.

“I am honored to receive the Jesse L. Jackson Fellows Scholarship,” said Cooper, a Raleigh resident. “I am thankful for Toyota and Mr. Jackson for expressing their sincere care for minority students to excel in their education.”

Cooper is enrolled in the NC State Engineering 2+2 Transfer Program, which allows students to complete the first two years of an engineering degree at UNCW, then transfer to N.C. State University to complete their undergraduate engineering degree. She plans to major in industrial engineering.

“Industrial engineering challenges me to think, to be creative and efficient simultaneously,” she said. “As an aspiring law student, I do believe that this rigor and level of critical thinking will assist me in becoming a successful intellectual property lawyer.”

Scholarship recipients will receive $25,000 each year for a maximum three-year period. In order to receive the award each year, the students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 throughout the school year.

“Toyota is proud to recognize and invest in the outstanding academic achievements of these 10 scholars,” said Simon Nagata, chief administrative officer, Toyota North America. “The commitment to community service and personal excellence of these future leaders is truly inspiring, and we are excited to be a part of their journey.”

Twenty semi-finalists went through a rigorous selection process, which included onsite interviews with Rainbow PUSH Excel representatives and Toyota’s executive and management teams in northern Kentucky. Students received their awards at the annual Rainbow PUSH Back-to-School Rally in Chicago in August 2015.

“We are extremely proud of these students and are passionate about lifting any burden or obstacle that may prevent these distinguished students from reaching their highest potential,” said the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “Students who prove themselves capable and eager deserve every opportunity within reach to become all they set out to be in life. We thank Toyota for their generous support and for sharing in our vision to improve the academic lives of these students.”


Photo caption: Simon Nagata, Jasmine Cooper, Jesse L. Jackson the annual Rainbow PUSH Back-to-School Rally in Chicago in August 2015.