Name: Erykah Cooke
High School Attended: Kinston High School
Home County: Lenoir
College Attended: East Carolina University (2017-2021)
Major: Family and Community Services
County Now Living In: Lenoir
Employer: Intuit TurboTax Live
Title: Tax Prep Assistant
Years Working for Current Employer: 4 months
What does rural mean to you?
Rural is real. My rural community is able. I used to think rural meant country, but now I know it means strength.
What were some of your major accomplishments during college?
Some of my major accomplishments during college include finishing in four years, while having an infant, and becoming the President of ECU’s National Council on Family Relations.
What would you tell someone interested in applying for the Golden LEAF Scholarship about being a recipient?
It is the best reward I could have ever received in college and the funds definitely came in handy with expenses.
What helped you decide to live and work in a rural area?
It is literally all I know. I’m a walking testimony to what living in a rural area means. We have to work a little bit harder for the resources we need and want, which makes the resources more special.
What kind of leadership roles are you serving in currently?
I serve as a Young Adult Missionary and Youth Director at my home church.
What is your hope for rural North Carolina?
My hope for rural North Carolina is that it will grow bigger and better than the previous year and to never forget where we started as we continue to climb the ladder.
What did you learn during your experiences with the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program?
I learned that no matter what profession you choose to work in, you will have to know how to work with different personalities. Having people skills is the true key to success.
What internship experiences did you have?
I interned at an oral surgeon’s office as a lab technician and at a real estate agency as an administrative assistant.
Did your internship experiences help shape your decision to live and work in rural areas?
My internship experiences made me want to create and implement new ideas and programs that I know rural North Carolina needs but doesn’t have.
What else would you like to share?
I have a small business called EMC Solutions, which is a sole proprietorship. I have a contract with two clients currently and hope to expand to a few local businesses in the near future. I do a lot of back office work like sending/responding to emails, calling and speaking with managers to check the inventory of a store, customer service phone sales for a hospitality booking agency, coordinating employee engagement ideas, and scheduling. To handle the responsibilities of working full time, running my own business, and being a mother, I do it all solely based on time management. The same with people skills, time management is another major key to success.