Keeana Cooper, Business Studies
When Keeana Cooper walks across the stage in Boardwalk Hall to receive her diploma, her two young daughters and fiancé will be cheering her on.
Cooper’s journey to finishing her degree in Business Studies with a concentration in Accounting has been complicated, including bouts of loneliness, homesickness and two pregnancies. However, the Camden native’s commitment to earning her college degree has never wavered.
Cooper started as an Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) student in 2016, living on campus. She had to work hard to make connections and friends and overcome her homesickness. Eventually, that led to her involvement with Sigma Gamma Rho sorority where she has made lasting friendships.
Cooper was also engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Denzel, and they welcomed their daughter Nilah during her sophomore year.
“I spent my first semester as a sophomore and my second trimester on Stockton’s campus, going to classes and then back to my dorm to study, do homework, and of course, rest.” Cooper said. “I ended up taking off from my second sophomore semester to give birth to my daughter. While it was a beautiful moment, I couldn’t help but to be worried and anxious about returning to school.”
Cooper returned but faced new challenges.
I had a lot of support and patience from all angles—my fiancé, family and my professors. Without their help I would not have been able to complete college.
“While my friends were joining sororities, partying and excelling in their academics, I spent my time working part-time. When I wasn’t working to support my family, I was studying and taking care of household duties,” she added.
Cooper persevered but faced additional challenges when having her second baby, Alani, at the start of her senior year.
“While juggling a then-3-year-old toddler, I was also juggling the pressures of the course load, a newborn baby and postpartum depression,” she recalled. “I had a lot of support and patience from all angles—my fiancé, family and my professors. Without their help I would not have been able to complete college.”
Cooper finished her coursework in December and was recently promoted to accounting administrator at her office.