Five Questions with Trinnette Cooper

Trinnette Cooper might be the busiest person you know – and she loves it.


Trinnette Cooper

Trinnette loves to visit the park on nice days. (Photo by OP Productions)

Name: Trinnette Cooper
Position: Coordinator for diversity programs and recruitment in the Office of Student Affairs
Years at Gillings: Three


What I do at Gillings (and why I love it): My primary goal is to recruit a diverse population of students to the Gillings School. To do this, I lead diversity programs – essentially pipeline programs – to introduce high school and undergraduate students to the field of public health. I also attend graduate school fairs and represent our School, I share great research opportunities with students and I coordinate our yearly exhibit for the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting.

I enjoy my job because it keeps me young! Of course, it means a lot to me to be able to impact future public health professionals, but I also love that I have so many opportunities to work directly with students. They keep me at my best – because they love to point out any mistakes I make – and I definitely dress a certain way and use certain buzzwords when I’m at events with them. I know that embracing a youthful mindset will resonate with the individuals I’m trying to support.


When I’m not at work I like to: spend time with my family, above all else! I am obsessed with my parents, I’m in love with my siblings and I super love my nephews. I’m just crazy about all of them, and luckily they’re not too far away. Outside of that, I’m a big reader. I live in Raleigh and commute to work on Triangle Transit, so I do a lot of reading on the bus. I like to shop, too – but it’s like a project. I set a budget limit and turn it into a quest for a real find. And I also love exploring local culture, from museums to plays and other events hosted by Carolina Performing Arts.


The cultural activity I’d most recommend is: every year when the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater comes to UNC. They always do a show at Carolina Performing Arts in February. Every time I see them I think, “Wow, if this is what they bring to work every day, I have to do better!” The level of professionalism and commitment they display is just amazing. But I’m also into discovering local playwrights through shows at small venues like Manbites Dog Theater in Durham. I attend a lot of church activities and love gospel music, too. I actually rang in 2016 at a New Year’s Eve concert with Fred Hammond, my favorite musical artist.


Something most people don’t know about me is: I try to live an especially purposeful life because when I was 18 months old, I was diagnosed with spinal meningitis. My mom still talks about it sometimes, how it was truly life or death, so now I am thankful for every day I’m alive. Because of that, too, I am a big birthday person! I always do it up with a trip or a spa day or a party. Anybody who knows me knows my birthday is a national holiday! #LibraLove


If I could have one super power, it would be: being in two places at once. I tend to take on a lot of things, plus I have a big extended community that keeps me busy. If I could clone myself, I would maximize not just my time but my impact. If I could physically be in two locations at once, I could just send Trinnette B off to whatever event Trinnette A wasn’t able to attend – it would be double trouble for sure!