He’s an aspiring accountant with a flair for Latin dancing, a love of the outdoors, and an unbridled enthusiasm for possibility. Andrew Cook, with a double major in Economics and Business with an emphasis in Finance, is a senior looking to graduate in the Spring of 2017.
Andrew grew up in Ventura, California, a city between Santa Barbara and Malibu on the Southern California Coast. After attending City College in his home town, Andrew wanted a different environment for finishing out his degree.
“Ventura feels like a suburb of L.A.,” he said. “I have always been an outdoorsy person, and I wanted something a lot more rural. I chose HSU because I love the beauty and isolation of Humboldt County, as well as the slower pace of life.”
For Andrew, Economics provides “a foundation for viewing the world. When something doesn’t make sense you can look at it from an economics point of view and you get a new perspective.” He found like-minded people in the Economics department at HSU, which he describes as being a close-knit department where faculty members’ doors are always open.
One such faculty member is Dr. Beth Wilson. Andrew took her service learning class - Econ 470 (Sustainable Rural Economic Development) - during his second semester at HSU.
“Service Learning is by far the best class that I’ve ever taken,” he said. “Dr. Wilson challenges students to apply what we are learning both to our service learning assignment and to class discussions about real-world issues.”
One semester he worked with the Arcata Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). His project was to compile information on all the loans granted by AEDC over time. The information was then uploaded to a searchable map on their website showing the distribution of loans across six counties.
“This was a project we couldn’t have gotten to ourselves,” said Susan Seaman, Program Coordinator for AEDC. “And Andrew was a perfect fit. He was thorough, consistent, and a self-starter.”
A New Opportunity
This fall Andrew is one of six students participating in the first fall internship program for the School of Business. But he almost missed the deadline for applying.
“I just happened to hear about the internship on the day the applications were due,” he said.
His work this semester is with Resolution Care, a Humboldt-County-based business started in 2015.
“Resolution Care is going through a period of growth,” he said. “They started with less than five employees and are now at four or five times that amount.”
Andrew will be helping the organization on a project that touches on many aspects of business, including finance, human resources, management, operations, and marketing.
“I’ll be gathering information and organizing it in a way that will help them see where they are and where they have been,” he said. “It should help them assess their progress and compare it to the industry as a whole.”
He is still learning more details about the project, which he expects to work on it both on-site and remotely from ten to fifteen hours a week.
Advice for New Students
Based on his own experience, Andrew’s advice to new students is to get involved in school.
“There are many ways to get involved. For instance, you can join a club or Greek life, get to know your professors, or take a service learning class.” he said.
“I took service learning as a first step,” he explained. “I used to have a real fear of failure, and just didn’t get involved. But since taking my first service learning class that has changed. Since then I have been a student instructor, a grader, and President of the Business and Economics Club for three semesters.”
“I like working on things that impact community.” said Andrew, “I like to know what’s going on in the community and how I can contribute. Service learning has given me that chance. It’s also made theory more relevant, and there is an added bonus in what it does for your resume.”
The future looks bright
Andrew recently discovered that he could declare a second major (Business) by attending one additional semester (Spring, 2017).
“I hope to go to grad school to get a masters in accounting,” he said. “I’m studying for the GMAT and will be applying to start in the Fall of 2017.”
Already expecting a positive experience with his business internship, Andrew plans to apply for another internship in his final semester. He might even take a fifth service learning course.
“My experience at HSU has been life-changing,” he said. “If I can do this, anyone can.”