AlumUpdate MAR 2015 – Avril Cooper & Penn State

AlumUpdate MAR 2015 – Avril Cooper & Penn State

by admin

Ever since Tri-County alumna Avril Cooper was a child she found inspiration in both the large and small moments of life.  Now a 3rd year, pre-med Biology major at Penn State University attending the prestigious Schreyer Honors College, Avril, at the age of 12, was deeply moved by her grandmother’s quick, unexpected death due to a brain aneurysm. “I figured if I could help anyone with any type of illness, I would really want to do that,” says Avril.
Her interest in becoming a physician was further ignited while participating in the Health Care Connections Program through her high school, Mary Help of Christians Academy.  Her assignment was to shadow doctors and nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson.   She discovered how inspiring it was to interact with patients. “I found joy helping people any way I could…even if it was something as small as just giving out water to patients,” says Avril.
 
Dr. Tom Haring, Avril’s high school guidance counselor, noticed her determination and leadership. “It was the way she carried herself,” says Dr. Haring. “She was the perfect role model – mature, modest, and hardworking.  She took the toughest classes we offered, all while doing volunteer work.”  Avril excelled academically and was accepted into the National Honor Society. She was one of a few chosen to study for a summer at Harvard a year before she graduated high school with a 3.7 GPA.
Avril worked hard to maintain high grades at Penn State. But there were some tough times when her mother, Ernestine, unexpectedly lost her job. “She’s my inspiration,” said Avril. “She never complains. She came to the U.S. at 18 knowing no one, worked her way through college and built a career. During that year before she found a new job, she just told me everything was going to be okay.”  And it was. Avril is on track to graduate this summer 2016.
Avril continues to find inspiration. After participating in an 8-week summer research project, she was invited to make a presentation at an annual symposium.  Soon after being accepted into an American
Physiological Society fellowship program, she was asked to present her research to an APS meeting.  As a Career Development Leader at Schreyer Honors College she mentors younger students and helps plan informational events about medical school.  Working through the multicultural resource center, she guides freshmen interested in studying medicine.  “I think her kindness and caring will make her a wonderful physician,” says Dr. Haring.
Avril remains enormously grateful to Tri-County donors.  “It would have been much harder if we had not found Tri-County. Thank you a whole lot because during high school it was hard financially and I am so grateful for the financial help.”

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