Wilkes County native Michael “Mike” Cooper was selected as one of this year’s 60 presidential leadership researchers on Monday.
Cooper is the only North Carolina in the program’s sixth annual class. He is the son of Mike and Margaret Cooper of North Wilkesboro.
The program is designed to be a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders who collaborate and work to make a difference by discovering leadership through the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Each class of Presidential Leadership Scholars is selected after an application and review process.
They are selected based on leadership growth potential and personal leadership projects aimed at improving civic engagement or social good by addressing an issue or need in their community.
For six weeks, they will visit each participating presidential center to learn from past presidents, former key administration officials, business and civic leaders, and leading academics.
They will study and practice various leadership approaches and exchange ideas to help strengthen their impact in their communities.
The program started in Washington, DC. Tuesday.
The latest class joins a network of 298 alumni known to apply lessons learned through the program to make a difference in various situations, a press release said.
Examples include providing employment and mentoring to veterans, helping young people on trial to improve their professional skills and gain a positive self-image, empowering clinicians to speak with patients about the safe storage of firearms and the deployment of necessary resources in the aftermath of natural disasters.
The press release states that since the program began in 2015, academics have consistently reported growth in leadership skills, responsibilities, and opportunities for impact.
About 90% of researchers said their sense of confidence or purpose as a leader had changed and 96% said they had been exposed to and appreciated a greater variety of perspectives.
Cooper is a graduate of Wilkes Central High School, Appalachian State University, and UNC-Charotte Law School.
He was a lawyer at the McElwee law firm in North Wilkesboro before moving to Raleigh to work in state government in 2018. He was most recently public information manager in the Environmental Quality Department of the North Carolina.