Student Spotlight: Courtney Cook

Milano Central features a bi-weekly “Spotlight” series, which provides a look into the work Milano students and alums are currently doing, and how their studies at Milano have influenced that work. The series also features faculty profiles that highlight the work and opinions of Milano faculty. Want to be part of the series? Shoot us an email at milanocommunications@newschool.edu.

1. Hi Courtney! Thanks for taking the time to share your work with the Milano community. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself: where you’re from, what you’re studying, and what brought you to the Nonprofit Management program. 

Well, I’m a Jersey girl, from a small town called Fanwood, IMG_8982 - CopyNew Jersey.  I attended the University of Maryland, College Park for English and Women’s Studies and now I’m at Milano studying Nonprofit Management with an interest in leadership and sustainability.  I came to the Management program because after I graduated I spent two years working for a large and well-known nonprofit organization and during that two years I experienced a roller coaster of epiphanies which led me to want to pursue a career in nonprofits further.  As many nonprofit students will agree, the experience that inspired me was not a positive one.  It was actually the negativity of the experience that led me to pursue this path.  I felt that there were crucial improvements that needed to be made by the organization and other nonprofits, in order to increase sustainability and employee satisfaction, I hoped that if I gained more insight into methods of sustainability and management, I could use them to improve other nonprofits in the future.

2. I see you work for the Kings Against Violence Initiative. Why don’t you tell us a little about the organization and what you do there?

Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI) was created for the purpose of empowering youth, helping cultivate their untapped potential, providing productive and safe alternatives to engaging in interpersonal violence within the community as a way to indirectly lowering the number of violent-related injuries seen in Brooklyn.  I volunteer as the Director of Communication and Administration, basically handling all of the social networking, blogging, media and paperwork.  I enjoy working with KAVI because if done right the organization has the power to change lives in a big way, by not only keeping youth off of the streets, but keeping them alive.

3. You also mentioned you have your own blog (way to keep busy!) Can you tell us about it? What made you want to start your own blog?

The purpose of One Step for Good People is to highlight the organizations and the dedicated people who have taken on the strenuous but often self-fulfilling tasks of helping others through non-profit work.  I’ve interviewed 11 nonprofit professionals thus far and featured other visionaries and grassroots organizations that are doing great work in their communities.  I started this blog mainly because I have an interest in what it takes to be successful in this field; what it takes to be a nonprofit professional, and what that means to different people.  In many cases I’ve discovered that the definitions for what a nonprofit professional is, intersect, but the interesting part is when interviewees use new and fresh descriptions for the work they do and what type of characteristics it takes to do that work.
4. How have your studies at Milano influenced your work with KAVI and on your personal blog? And the million-dollar question: where do you see yourself after graduation?

Milano has really introduced me to some great people.  I wouldn’t be working with KAVI now if I had not met the founder, Dr. Rob Gore, when he came to speak to my Making a Difference class.  The program has often made me consider more of what it takes to continue to work in the third sector and how to approach new project and propositions selflessly and selfishly simultaneously.

And the million dollar answer is I will cross that bridge when I come to it.  No, after graduation I would like to spend more time in the nonprofit field working in communication.  I would like to work with more women’s organizations and continue to work with youth as well.  In the future I would like to pursue my PhD in Women’s Studies and work in academia.
npo 0115. On a lighter note, we survived the holidays! What are you looking forward to most over the coming weeks?

I’m looking forward to resting up and getting my mind ready to take on a new semester and a new life.  This will (hopefully) be my last semester, so it will also be my last break, I’m going to enjoy being a student one last time!








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