The junior has already traveled with Queens on mission trips to the Dominican Republic, and New Orleans, and...well, Waxhaw (just south of Charlotte) to intern at an organic farm. For Cook, each of these opportunities, near or far, provides ample opportunity to interact with others - and make an impression.
Cook's first academic advisor, Religion professor Diane Mowrey said of Cook, "The image of him running out into a crazy serious rain storm to play soccer on a water-soaked [Dominican] field with the village boys will be one of my favorite memories from the trip." The Chaplain also taught Cook's inaugural Core class, and still recalls his insightful comments. "He's always thinking about things and looking for connections."
Although his current advisor, Professor Greg Pillar, describes him already as "well traveled" with a "diverse set of experiences," Cook isn't done yet. He's going on the spring 2013 Guatemala mission trip, and to Micronesia this May for his JBIP trip.
It might appear that Cook just wants to get away from Queens, but in fact the Resident Assistant on campus is certain he made the right choice. "I knew teachers here would be more engaged, and I'd get a smaller classroom feel."
Currently he's excited to see the new classrooms in Rogers Hall, due to open in time for class this semester. His senior capstone project, focused on studying soil-plant interactions and nutrient dynamics in organic agriculture, is dependent on new equipment that he can work on with Dr. Pillar. More modern technology won't just boost his research abilities, but it will also help attract more students, and Cook suggests, it will "bring more excitement to campus about the science department."
His biggest smile, though, is saved for the greenhouse. It will give a guy who loves to be outdoors a sense of it even when he's inside working on class projects. "That's something the professors and students can discover together, rather than the same classroom feel."
The world will be Cook's classroom after graduation; he plans to apply for the Peace Corps. "I've had my mind set on it for a couple of years," said the native of Murphy, NC. "It's more of a calling than anything else."