Kooi is a senior journalism and international studies major from Tucson, Ariz. She graduated with a large class of 350 in an urban area, which made her transition to MU easier.
“Nothing makes me happier than feeling like I am working hard and giving back to my community,” Kooi said. “I love working with others and learning from them, and I feel like being involved in campus activities facilitates these experiences.”
Kooi began looking at MU because of the Missouri School of Journalism. Once she visited, she said she immediately fell in love and couldn’t wait to start her college career.
“I took a campus tour in late February of my senior year of high school and fell in love with the campus culture and community,” she said. “I felt like Mizzou had everything I ever wanted, and now three years later, I know for sure!”
Kooi comes from a small and supportive family. She said her parents push her to reach her personal goals. A large part of her success on campus comes from her internal drive, which was developed, in part, by her parents.
She is involved in the Missouri Students Association, was a MU Summer Welcome leader, campus tour guide, member of Kappa Delta, president of Omicron Delta Kappa, volunteer on Alternative Spring Break trips and served on a GAMMA Steering Committee. She does all of this despite her busy schedule as vice president of MSA. This past Homecoming, Kooi was honored as Top 10 Royalty representing her sorority, Kappa Delta.
“I am most proud of being selected for Homecoming Royalty,” she said. “I feel so blessed to be able to participate in such an amazing Mizzou tradition.”
Kooi’s leadership and involvement skills began in high school. She attended Sabino High School and was involved in cross-country, student government, musical theater and dance. Her family moved across town right before high school, though, so she didn’t know anyone when she started at Sabino. Getting involved in sports and musicals helped her to meet people right away.
“I enjoy being busy and working hard at everything I do,” she said. “I also value leadership experiences, and look forward to any opportunity I can to challenge myself and grow.”
Kooi has big things planned once she leaves Mizzou. She has always been interested in a career in foreign services. She plans to study abroad in Argentina the summer following graduation and then volunteer with the Peace Corps in Latin America to gain more international experience. Should she receive an offer as a Peace Corps volunteer, she would like to return to the U.S. pursue a master’s degree in international policy and law.
Kooi’s close friend, Natalie Rooney, views her sorority sister as role model.
“Helena is one of the hardest working women I know,” Rooney said. “She holds herself to an extremely high standard and always expects the best from herself. Helena has dropped everything she’s doing on multiple occasions to be there for a friend in need.”
Kooi is a loyal friend, and to acquaintances is someone that many students look up to. She manages with effortless passion, but is a humble leader who is willing to take on whatever challenges are ahead.
By Payton Ehrhardt
Corner Post Staff Writer