He studied computer-aided drafting and design at SUNY Delhi and later at SUNY Buffalo. But after working briefly in engineering and architecture, he realized he also wanted to teach.
He decided to combine the two, and now, he’s a technology teacher at Farragut Middle School in the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County.
Before working upstate, he worked in a New York City school, where he was tasked with creating a STEM program.
“I love the whole hands-on aspect. You don’t really get that a lot around some communities in New York City,” Cooper said. “I think every kid deserves that.”
Cooper, alongside his former roommate Joe Kim, a software engineer, decided to create a makerspace in Queens inside the Variety Boys and Girls Club. He said he sees it as his opportunity to do hands-on design work in his spare time.
In partnership with Variety, Cooper and Kim will also use the makerspace as a classroom where students can learn about topics like robotics. It’s another way he has combined his two passions.
“Schools can bring kids, parents can bring kids,” Cooper said. “It’s really important to me because I just love it. I can give back to where I live, and to places that might not have such access to tools and spaces.”
The next step is building up the space even more, adding new equipment, and inviting community members to work on projects. He hopes to generate more buzz about the makerspace.
“The community has been awesome,” he said. “Everyone I talked to loves the idea.”