KOKOMO, Ind. — Jacob Cook begins his final semester of college in August, with a job offer in hand.
Cook, who is majoring in marketing and management at Indiana University Kokomo, received the offer while competing at the Enactus United States Exposition in St. Louis.
“Realistically, this is an opportunity I would not have had access to without IU Kokomo’s Enactus chapter,” said Cook. “I’ve worked so hard. I’m a full-time father, my wife works midnights, and I go to school full time and work 45 to 50 hours a week. To see that hard work pay off, it’s an absolute blessing for my family.”
The team qualified for national competition at the Chicago regional, with community service projects combating student hunger, preparing victims of domestic violence to enter the workforce, promoting healthy living, and teaching financial skills to elementary students.
Chapter President Jennifer Martin described the national conference as “the Super Bowl for business students,” with not only the project competition, but also a job fair featuring hundreds of employers from around the country.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to interact and network with these employers, for current job or internship possibilities, and for future opportunities,” noting that she gained an internship opportunity by attending in 2015. That internship allowed the Monticello resident, who will soon relocate to Fort Wayne, to experience first-hand what she wants to do after graduating in May.
“I found my calling and passion within Enactus,” she said. “I didn’t expect myself to get so involved on campus, but I’m so grateful I walked into that classroom two years ago.”
As a nontraditional student, she was impressed by the energy and excitement her younger peers display.
“Far more than any awards being handed out, it’s a matter of seeing what’s coming in the future,” she said. “It’s seeing what leadership looks like in the next 10, 15, 20 years.”
Cook, a Sharpsville resident, said while the team did not earn any awards at nationals, they come home with renewed energy to serve their community.
“It ultimately leads me to see that I can shape my own world. Instead of waiting for someone else to take action, I can take action and make change,” he said. “We saw some incredible projects. It’s inspirational seeing other students across the country coming together to make positive changes through entrepreneurship.”
He is excited about his job offer, which gives his family the chance to move to Orlando, Florida.
“The company want to hire me full time as a project manager, making a good salary,” he said. “Without Enactus, none of this would be possible. I would not have made this connection.”
Enactus, which is both a class and club, focuses on using entrepreneurial skills to create projects to address not only needs on campus, but also in the community.
The top four projects that allowed them to advance to nationals were their work with the food pantry on campus: The Cougar Cupboard, their partnerships with the Family Service Association of Howard County’s domestic violence shelter and the Cole Fitness Center, and also their work with the Galveston Elementary school sixth graders.
Adam Smith, Enactus faculty co-sponsor, is pleased with the team’s results and efforts.
“These students inspire me to do better,” he said. “They do such good things for their community, and are very passionate about their campus.”
Story written by Emilie Hubbard. Emilie is an intern in the Office of Media & Marketing.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.