Staff Spotlight: Jason Cooper

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Staff Spotlight: Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper

About Jason Cooper:
I am a husband and father of three. I have worked in small organizations, large organizations and rapidly growing organizations. But one element that has been consistent along the way is my interest and love for communication and communications media.

Before the Internet was in everybody’s pocket, I was writing and creating newsletters and publicity pieces for my organization. I was splicing together video footage using a camcorder, a couple VCRs and an analog video mixer. It was a high school student in 1999 that first showed me the basics of building a website using HTML. I was in grad school at the time and went on to use what I learned to build websites for several professors using mostly Notepad and Internet Explorer. Over the next several years I continued to be involved in communications, learning to create and manipulate graphics as well as edit video. I took on more and more responsibilities with communications. Eventually, I was in a position where I was responsible for overseeing the communications for the whole organization.

While I love getting my hands dirty playing in Photoshop or shooting video on a DSLR or creating 3D animations in Motion, what intrigues me the most and grabs my attention today are the intangibles of communication – the overarching principles to consider, thinking through what your message communicates beyond the actual words or images themselves, the non-verbal side of communication, and how to keep up with changing technologies and user expectations, especially for smaller organizations with little or no professional communications staff.

What is your position at UNL?
I am the Communications and Media Coordinator for IANR Media. We provide web design, programming, video, mobile app development and media services to clients within IANR. We are also available to consult on communication and media strategies as well as media-related grant project concepts.

What drew you to UNL?
I was drawn to this position at UNL because working with communications media has been a significant part of my job responsibilities over the years, and I loved the idea of being able to work with and lead a team of communications professionals.

What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy working in an environment that encourages innovative concepts and ideas. Our team has the opportunity to work on a variety of projects that challenge our skills and abilities beyond what we might experience outside the university.

Aside from that, I enjoy being able to step out of my building and feel like I am walking through a park. When I need a break from “office work,” I love to make a quick loop through the arboretum and take a few minutes to enjoy the beauty of East Campus.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
It might be inaccurate to call it an achievement, as it is far from “accomplished," but the first thing that comes to mind is being a father. It is by far the thing in life that generates the most challenge and reward, all at the same time.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I taught myself to play guitar in college with a few pointers from a friend. I picked it up quickly and branched out from acoustic to electric and bass guitar as well. Music “clicked” for me in a way that it never had before, even though I was in band from fifth grade into high school. I enjoy getting my hands on other stringed instruments (mandolin, ukulele, etc.) and figuring out how to play them.

What is your life like outside of work?
I come home to a beautiful wife and three elementary age children every evening. We eat dinner together and talk about the day. Depending on the day, we do some chores, check over homework, watch a little TV, participate in church activities, read, make plans for the weekend, or just clean up and get ready for the next day. We enjoy getting away to visit family or going camping and fishing.

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