Husker Cooper Wright is jumping continents as a Cargill Global Scholar and study abroad aficionado.
Wright, a junior from Windsor, Colorado, is currently completing an internship with the United States Department of State at the United States Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay. Previously, Wright studied abroad in Granada, Spain, and Meknès, Morocco.
Recently, Wright was also chosen as a 2018 Cargill Global Scholar, one of only 10 chosen in the United States. The purpose of the Cargill Global Scholars Program is to build a global network of future leaders who will make contributions to advance business, agriculture and food security. Scholars are chosen from Brazil, China, India, Russia, Indonesia and the United States, and receive two years of financial support, leadership development training and one-on-one mentoring.
Wright, a global studies and political science major, shared with Nebraska Today a little bit about his experiences at Nebraska, future plans, and what advice he’d give to high school seniors looking to make the most of their college experience.
How are you showing your Nebraska grit overseas?
I am currently completing an internship in Montevideo, Uruguay, while also enrolled in online classes at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As part of my responsibilities, I assess trends regarding education, the relationships between China, the United States and Uruguay and other tasks. I also have the opportunity to travel with Ambassador Kelly Keiderling as she makes some visits to the northern parts of the country.
What attracted you to apply for the Cargill Global Scholars Program?
Before applying, I had limited knowledge about Cargill. My adviser in Global Studies, Emira Ibrahimpasic, encouraged me to apply as I had been continuously looking for more opportunities on an international scale. For someone who wants to work internationally, I thought I would benefit from the domestic and international mentorship component of the program. One of the features of an increasingly globalized world is the growth of multinational corporations such as Cargill, and I knew I would benefit from learning about one of the largest multinational corporations in the field of agriculture. I had extensive leadership training at the In-Country Seminar in June at Cargill Headquarters in Minneapolis. I am looking forward to the International Seminar, where I will have the opportunity to connect with more Cargill executives and the Global Scholars from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Russia.
How does the Cargill scholarship and its connected opportunities fit into your overall education and career goals?
The work that Cargill does has far-reaching global influences. For example, Cargill has sought to help lift women out of poverty through global partnerships such as the ONE campaign. Some of the issues that Cargill has chosen to focus on are issues that I would like to focus on in a career for the government. The Cargill program enables networking with high-level executives and similarly minded individuals from six countries, many of whom I could see myself working with some day.
What is your dream job and why? And how long have you been thinking about that as a career?
My dream job is to be a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State within Political Affairs. As a Foreign Service Officer, I would like to serve primarily the Latin American and Middle Eastern Regions, as well work for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism; and the Office of Global Food Security, among others. I have always been interested in politics, geography, culture, language, et cetera, but through my designated courses of study at Nebraska, I have been able to narrow it down to a specific career path.
What other experiences have you found most valuable at the university?
Some of the most valuable experiences during my time at Nebraska have been my study abroad experiences in Granada, Spain, and Meknès, Morocco, and now my internship here in Uruguay. I have also been able to take advantage of opportunities at the Nebraska Legislature, most notably my experience interning for Sen. Tony Vargas, an admirable representative for District 7. I have also found the Nebraska chapter of Model United Nations beneficial and had the opportunity to represent the university at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City last March.
What would you tell high school seniors right now about chasing their goals and dreams?
I would suggest high school seniors be open to different career and academic opportunities. The Cargill Program specifically has opened my eyes to working more with agricultural development and natural resources.
As a high school senior, I never thought I would consider a highly prestigious role working in our government, such as that of a Foreign Service Officer. Through seeking out resources on campus, this dream has become more realistic. I attribute most of my success thus far in my college career to two people – Emira Ibrahimpasic in the Global Studies Program and Laura Damuth from the Fellowships Office. Both individuals have continuously encouraged me to seek out opportunities and have aided in my efforts to do so. They care tremendously that the students they work with achieve exactly what they set out to do. I could not have had all of these amazing opportunities without them.