SUNY Fredonia will once again welcome alumni Jakera Cooper Willis (psychology, ’15), an entrepreneur who won national competitions for her food products, and Jordan Willis (visual arts and new media, ’14), a storyboard reviewer with Marvel Studios, for a four-day residency from Wednesday to Saturday from April 20 to 23.
Their project “From Superfoods to Superheroes: Creating Content to Inspire and Amaze!” The residency is organized and sponsored in collaboration by [email protected] with Fredonia Technology Incubator, Cross-Cultural Center, Keeper of the Dream Scholarship and Leadership Program, Visiting Artist Program, and Visual Arts and new media.
The events presented are free and open to the public.
“I have always enjoyed working with students. I look forward to answering all of their questions and giving back to the communities that shaped me,” Willis commented on the importance of returning to SUNY Fredonia.
“No one and no planning can prepare you for life after college,” Cooper Willis added. “I’m excited to return to Fredonia to share my experiences, successes and failures to affirm that you can be successful at doing things you absolutely love to do.”
Founder of Jakera and Company, Cooper Willis works with entrepreneurs, influencers and brands to close the food gap in underrepresented communities. She is a 2021 winner of Visa’s She’s Next award and a member of the second Target Forward Founders cohort. The program, according to the Target Forward Founders website, is “an accelerator program to equip historically underfunded founders to become the next wave of generational wealth-building businesses.”
Cooper Willis has worked in human resources with Endeavour, Google, Fullscreen Media and Amazon. She is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications for Elizabeth House, an organization providing shelter and services to homeless pregnant women and their children.
Mr. Willis is currently a storyboard reviewer at Marvel Studios, where he is working on X-Men ’97 (2023). Since moving to California, Mr. Willis has worked for DreamWorks Animation and on an upcoming Sonic Prime show by Wildbrain Studios. He strengthened his network and his skills through courses at the Animation Guild and the Concept Design Academy. He enjoys giving back to the communities that shaped him and wants to inspire students to pursue their dreams.
When asked what they hope students will get out of their residency, both Cooper Willis and Mr. Willis stated the goal of inspiring students to pursue their passions.
“I hope students understand the power of writing and are encouraged to achieve whatever they want to do through a little self-discovery, community, and the belief that anything is possible.” -Jakera Cooper Willis
Cooper Willis said: “I hope students understand the power of writing and are encouraged that whatever they want to do can be achieved through a little self-discovery, community and belief. that anything is possible.” Mr. Willis added: “I would like to make sure that students know that as long as you are a good person and as long as you work hard to achieve your goals, anything is possible.
On Wednesday, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Cooper Willis and Mr. Willis will host a moderated panel discussion, “Superfoods and Superheroes: A Conversation with Jakera and Jordan.” This event will feature acai bowls based on availability and will take place in Williams Center Room S204.
Cooper Willis shared the important role Fredonia played in his success, explaining that “Fredonia was a place where I was able to explore, be curious and find community…I discovered what I loved and didn’t did not like. I was able to learn by participating in many different programs and student groups, which gave me experience that I would use every day in my professional life.
Friday, 12-1 p.m., Cooper Willis will be the featured guest at a Founders Luncheon at Fredonia Technology Incubator, 214 Central Ave., Dunkirk. His pitch is “Building a Brand, Presenting a Vision with Target Forward Founders Cohort 2 Member Jakera & Company.” The academic community, local economic development community, and food-related start-ups are encouraged to attend.
There will also be a meet and greet with the two guests on Friday from 4-5 p.m., in the Cross-Cultural Lounge in Williams Center room S226B.
For more details and to see the full list of events at this residency, visit online.
On the importance of writing to his career trajectory, Cooper Willis said, “Writing has not only allowed me to advance my career in unique and exciting ways, it has also opened doors to opportunities. amazing in life and business.”
[email protected] is an alumni writers-in-residence series featuring established and emerging writers, content creators and editors, and publishers across a range of professional and creative genres. The series seeks to connect Fredonia alumni, students, faculty, and community members while bringing attention to the diverse ways writing and the humanities make a difference in the world.
For more information about [email protected], visit online.
[email protected] is sponsored by the Carnahan Jackson Fund for the Humanities of the Fredonia College Foundation, Faculty Student Association, Fredonia Alumni Association, Fredonia College Foundation, Fredonia Honors Program, Fredonia Technology Incubator, Keeper of the Dream Scholarship and Leadership Program, Intercultural Centre, Visiting Artists Program and Department of Visual Arts and New Media.
The series is made possible through a partnership with Admissions, Alumni Affairs, Career Development Office, Department of Communication, Department of English, Fredonia College Foundation, Fredonia Honors Program and School of Business. The residency is made possible through a partnership with the Fredonia Technology Incubator, Intercultural Center, Keeper of the Dream Scholarship and Leadership Program, Black Student Union, Brother 2 Brother, the Visiting Artist Program, and the Department of Visual Arts and New Media.