Student Spotlight – Kimberly Cooper
 
When Kimberly Cooper graduates in a year from the University of Houston, she hopes to land a marketing job.

That would be a far cry from the chores and FFA activities she did growing up on a farm. It’s also completely different than the dental assistant work she did for a few years after graduating from high school.

Cooper is a public relations/communications major who is working as a student worker for UH Dining. As such, she helps market meal plans to students and staff, and can often be found representing UH Dining at various events across campus. It’s a job she has held since August.

“I stand out there by tables engaging with students about different meal options, different plans, ways to save money,” she said.

She also works as a student worker for Human Resources. This semester, she also will do a student manager internship for UH Dining, which is operated by ARAMARK.

Several years ago, before she enrolled at UH, she worked as a dental assistant.

“I loved it. And I still do. I still hold my certification, even though I am not actually doing it full-time right now,” Cooper said.

Eventually, she realized she wanted to pursue a different career. That’s when she applied for and was accepted into UH. But, she still does dental assistant work from time to time on the weekend through a company called Onsite Healthcare. The company provides dental care to troops and National Guardsmen who are about to be deployed overseas.

“The system is just so full that they don’t have enough facilities to get these guys checked out,” she said. “If they have a tooth that is fractured, in 12 months that might be a problem. They may get an abscess. So, we take care of that before they get deployed.”

This past April, Cooper and a group of people from a non-denominational missionary group called Serving Him Ministries went to Guatemala for a week. There, they did needed dental work for the residents, and also installed stoves and handed out food packs.

Cooper lives about four hours from her family’s home in Killeen, which is about 40 minutes away from the farm where she grew up in the tiny community of Zabcikville in Bell County.

“I still miss my mom and dad every now and then,” she said.

Although she enjoyed helping her dad with farm work and all the animals, including goats, sheep, cows and pigs, she realized that wasn’t her calling in life.

What’s her dream job? She wouldn’t mind doing some sort of marketing work in the dentistry field, or eventually landing a position with Apple.

Cooper said she appreciates the cultural diversity that UH has to offer, having attended a high school that had a student population that was overwhelmingly white.

“When you are in a big diverse campus like this, you are more appreciative of other cultures. And so for me, I think it will give me a better understanding of the world,” she said.