Remembering Dr. Cooper

Students and faculty celebrate professor’s compassion

DaQuan Samuel, Staff Writer

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A memorial service was held Sunday in Ramsey Theatre celebrating the life of former Wayne State College Criminal Justice Professor, Dr. Andria Cooper, described by coworkers as an influential and passionate member of WSC’s family.

Cooper passed away after a battle with ovarian cancer. At the funeral service individuals spoke, told stories and talked about how Cooper influenced their lives.

“I remember when she came for her interview and this not so tall curly red-haired woman walked in and we got along immediately because our sense of humors were so similar,” said Jason Karsky, Criminal Justice Department Head. “Our department is really small—we’re pretty close to each other—it hits pretty hard when we lose someone because we’re like a family.”

Cooper spent time as a defense attorney and a prosecutor before becoming a New Mexico state judge. She also sat on a governor’s domestic violence fatality review board. Soon after, she joined the staff of Wayne State becoming a Criminal Justice professor with her extensive knowledge of criminal law.

During her time at Wayne State Cooper was the adviser of Delta Upsilon, a chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association which participates in regional and national competitions on criminal justice knowledge, agility, firearms and crime scene competitions.

She also created mock crime scenes and trials for her classes. This allowed students to present cases at trial, testify as witnesses, listen to the case as jurors or assume other criminal justice roles in the courtroom, which gave students a chance to gain real life experience in criminal procedure.

Cooper also served on the civil service commission for the city as well as coaching the swim team in Wayne during the summer. Emmalee Scheibe, WSC senior, helped Cooper coach the kids on the swim team and talked about the point and sticker system, where she would reward the kids on their progress by awarding points and stickers to kids for their success.

“She was really dedicated to coaching and helping the kids, she really cared for them,” said Scheibe. “It was fun to watch her get excited about seeing the kids grow and develop.”

Before her passing, Cooper was the main factor in the building process of Wayne State’s Criminal Justice Crime Scene Investigation Facility. This project will allow students to experience a mock crime scene, perform tasks to determine the cause of death in the scene and take the steps to solve the crime.

“I think the biggest thing I’ll remember is the impact she had on students—her past experience and her passion were so helpful,” said Karsky. “She’s been missed this whole year and she will be missed forever now.”

Students who knew Dr. Cooper are encouraged to submit written memories or inspirational thoughts about her. These stories can pertain to how she may have influenced a student’s life, or something as simple as a funny story. These will be shared with the family of Dr. Cooper.

Students may submit stories or personal condolences to Dr. Karsky at [email protected]

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