Educating kids and empowering others to improve their lives, especially for the sake of their families, has always been a passion for Arnez Cooper. She is responsible for the case management of 36 families through site visits, developing and overseeing parenting groups, providing ongoing support planning, and helping with everyday needs such as housing and food. Before being promoted to this position, Cooper worked as a preschool teacher at a social services agency. She loved her job since she started more than 25 years ago, and knew that helping the disadvantaged was her calling.
However, Cooper felt that she had gone as far as she could in her field without a college degree. She wanted to continue to be challenged and to progress financially, so she decided to enroll at Kaplan University where she graduated suma cum laude. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could earn a degree, and to be a good role model for my son and my preschoolers’ parents,” Cooper said. “If I could do it, I knew I could be an inspiration to others.”
After graduating, Cooper felt she had earned the credibility necessary to bridge the gap between education and human services in her social services career and was promoted.* Through her commitment and hard work, she earned her associate’s degree in early childhood education and then went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in human services. Cooper was also inducted into two honor societies: Golden Key International Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Cooper recalls why she chose Kaplan University and her experience here. Before starting her studies again, she had to find the right partner in a university. She remembered her failed attempts taking classes at community colleges. The traditional schools just didn’t fit her busy work schedule and she also felt like she didn’t fit in. She was one of the oldest students, and her classmates didn’t have the knowledge or experience she gained from working in the field. Cooper felt that her classmates didn’t share her motivation to work hard and earn good grades.
After doing extensive research, Cooper decided that an online university would be her best option. She needed the flexibility so she could work full time and care for her family. “Kaplan University’s curriculum really stood out,” Cooper said. “The classes seemed really interesting, and were taught by professors working in the field. That was a big deal to me. I also seemed to have a lot in common with the students. It was a family that I wanted to be part of.”
When Cooper decided to attend Kaplan University, she was determined to get her degree this time. “I wasn’t there just to take classes. I had a goal, and everyone at Kaplan was there to make sure that I fulfilled that goal. They were a fantastic support network. They were my cheerleaders and coaches, with me all the way, picking me up when I was down, and rooting for my success.”
“Also, the professors were very friendly and always seemed to be available. They helped me whenever I had a problem, and always went above and beyond, asking if I needed anything else.”
In addition to building relationships with her professors, Cooper spent a lot of time using the Kaplan Online Library. “I could obtain assistance with writing papers in the Library. It’s really extensive and offers numerous places to do research. The other colleges didn’t have anything like it.”
As a result, Cooper graduated with honors and earned a promotion from preschool teacher to a social worker focused on helping parents with young children.