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COCA Spotlight: Miss FAMU helps get Riley House rocking

By: Amanda Sieradzki, COCA | November 26, 2018

Imani Cooper shares what is in her heart. It’s where she reaches to find the right words to connect with an audience, whether she is speaking from a stage or writing out motivational texts.

The latter initiative has been one of her staplesas Miss FAMU — she composes messages with quotes, poetry, or bits of wisdom to share with the student body. During the week of elections she emphasized the importance of exercising voting rights and using your voice.

“It depends on how I’m feeling or what I’m feeling students need to be filled with that week,” says Cooper. “I consider myself a spiritual person and want to ensure that the heart of our institution is centered around having faith. Being in college is tough and stressful, and it’s so easy to give up and not graduate or continue on with your career. That weekly motivation and push can make a difference in someone’s life.”

This year, Cooper is proud to represent the John Gilmore Riley Center/Museum for African American History and Culture as Mistress of Ceremonies for their upcoming Holiday Rock-a-Thon.

The annual rocking chair competition raises funds to support the Riley House’s operations and upkeep. The museum is one of the oldest cultural pillars in the community, and provides programming that preserves and celebrates African American history.

“It’s important for our community to stay plugged in and continue to uplift the Riley House,” says Cooper, who has attended the event in previous years. “The Riley House is significant not only to African Americans, but to everyone, and the museum commemorates that significance.”

This won’t be Cooper’s first time at the helm of a podium. Her road to public speaking has been paved with numerous leadership roles. As an underclassman she served as orientation leader and learned how to communicate extemporaneously with incoming students and parents alike.

Cooper will graduate in May with a degree in biological systems engineering and aspires to work in environmental or agricultural based industries after pursuing her MBA. Though she was familiar with taking on responsibilities associated with student leadership, she was nervous to apply for the prestigious title of Miss FAMU.

“I’ve been able to touch a lot of students’ lives and boost our student morale,” says Cooper,who was overjoyed when

she received the honor. “We serve as student ambassadors and will speak on behalf of the president and the student body. It’s a large responsibility being the face of the entire university and representing FAMU.”

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