TJ, ASU Havasu graduate

Double major Anthony "TJ" Cook finds wide horizons at ASU at Lake Havasu City

By

Kimberley Rome

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

Anthony “TJ” Cook headed just a few hours down the interstate to attend college at ASU at Lake Havasu City, but he found that it opened up a whole new world.

“During my time at ASU, I was able to meet people from all over the world, and it surprised me how different their experiences were compared to my own,” said Cook, who hails from Victorville, California. “I loved talking to people about their hometowns, what languages they spoke and what they were passionate about. My experience at ASU changed my perspective about the world in general and made me realize that we are all part of a global community. 

In his four years at ASU at Lake Havasu City, Cook accomplished quite a lot, including double-majoring in political science and organizational leadership, receiving multiple Pitchfork Awards as part of various organizations, interning with the mayor and serving leadership positions for nearly every club on campus. He also worked as a resident assistant, where he created opportunities for students to connect with one another.

Cook shared more about his time at ASU.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in? 

Answer: I realized I wanted to study political science during the 2016 presidential election. At that time I was a senior in high school and had no real interest in politics. However, the election was dominating the news, my classrooms and my home life. As I became more invested in the election, I realized that I wanted to study the political process. 

I did not realize I wanted to study organizational leadership until I was in OGL 240, which was an Intro to Project Management course. During this course, we worked together as a class to sponsor an event for foster families. We learned the basics of project management and used what we learned to plan out our event. I found that I really enjoyed the project management process and decided to explore what else the organizational leadership degree program had.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because of its affordability and closeness to home. I was able to have the full college experience without having to worry too much about my finances.  However, I stayed with ASU because of the wonderful people I have met along the way.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Dr. (Cristen) Mann taught me the importance of being active within the ASU and Lake Havasu community. Through her classes and mentorship, I was able to be active in projects that helped both communities. Specifically, our Swing Into Spring and database project allowed me to take pride in helping others! 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: My advice is to try to be as active as you can on campus. Being active on campus helps you professionally, personally, and builds a sense of community with your fellow Sun Devils! 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends, or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus was the balcony of the student center at night. It was a very peaceful place to study for exams, or just for looking up at the stars. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After I graduate, I will be moving back to California to begin searching for a new adventure! 

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would like to use this money to expedite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines to underdeveloped countries. At the current rate of vaccine distribution, some countries would not be able to vaccinate their populations for several years. This funding and the cooperation of the global economy should improve the availability of vaccines for these countries.

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