Cole Luker

Cole Luker

A Sophomore here at Indiana State University, Cole Luker is an elementary education major with a winning smile, humble heart, infectious laugh, and deep love for the little people he one day aspires to serve.

What brought you to State?

Well, I wasn’t going to come here originally. Both my parents are alumni of Indiana State, and they sort of trapped me into a surprise visit one day. I went along with it because I wanted to, well, kind of ‘appease’ my parents I guess. But then I got here and everything kind of felt right, sort of clicked into place.

Awesome, so your major is elementary education, tell me about that. How did you become interested and where do you hope it takes you?

I’ve always been surrounded by things similar to education, and really just surrounded by children in general. I did afterschool programs with my high school and one in my church. Vacation bible school, camp counseling for middle school kids, and last summer I worked at a camp for kids with autism, so in a way, I’ve always been on this track I guess.

As for where I hope it takes me, I’d love to be a fourth grade or middle school science teacher in a small town. That way I could make an impact, really change kids’ lives or just help them along somehow!

I can see the joy overflowing in your eyes on that one, tell me about that.

I always thought about teaching, but pushed it aside because of the classic reasons; won’t make enough, won’t love it, isn’t a guy’s job. The list I made for myself was all that stuff. But I came in undeclared and then swallowed my pride and went after it. Now I’m going into actual classrooms for the first time this semester. I have to get up at 7 a.m. but it’s something I love. State did that for me, exposed me to the classroom so early on that I know for a fact I’m in the right major.

What would you say is your favorite thing about ISU?

I think my favorite thing is that people here genuinely want you to succeed. The staff cares and wants to see you do well. Also definitely the range that the campus has, if you put yourself out there then you will find your people, but you have to make that jump. Eventually, you’ve got to take some of the acquaintances in your life and make them your real friends. State helps with that.

What are some things you’re involved in on campus?

I’m in Pike, that’s Pi Kappa Alpha, it’s a social fraternity. I’m also in CHILL, which is Colleagues Helping Implement Lifelong Learning. As well as the camp I worked at last summer with children with autism, I’ll be working there again this summer.

Awesome. Tell me a little about those organizations, what you like about them.

Well, I love Pike because it’s helped me come out of my shell and really find people that I could make my people while also helping me take some leadership roles. CHILL is super active in the community with service projects. We serve Terre Haute in a lot of different ways, especially with ‘For The Girl’, coat drives for them, professional development and more. The camp has taught me about patience and understanding the differences between people. It’s not always about what someone did, it’s more about why they did it. What’s the root cause and how can you help?

What’s your superpower?

Honestly, aside from being a guy in the education major, I’d have to say being there for people. Helping them grow, I’ll listen to you cry for a while, but I’ll also tell you how to fix it, or how to get better. No pity parties, only growth.

What is it like being among the few men in the education program?

Strange at first, I guess I got pretty used to it pretty quickly though. The teachers always learn my name the fastest so that’s a plus, honestly though, it’s weirder when there is another guy in the classroom with me than when there isn’t. I’m not used to it, so I guess after a while, it feels like any other major, just fewer guys.

Describe your time here at State in one word.

Definitely transformative – I used to be very reserved and shy, didn’t put myself out there. People pushed me out of my comfort zone and it’s made me grow so much.

Who would you call your role model?

My grandpa, an incredibly strong man, seeing him go through being diagnosed with dementia was hard. He started not being able to do some of the things he could before. But it doesn’t stop him, he still wants to do everything he is humanly able to do until he no longer can. I hope I inherit that from him, that will and determination to do it all until I can’t.

Do you have any advice for future Sycamores?

Definitely, first of all, apply for scholarships. There was so much I missed out on just because I didn’t know it existed! Put yourself out there, get involved in a bunch of stuff, and find your people, but you have to be involved to find them. Last, if you’re into education but are afraid of it because of the pay, or another major for a similar reason, do it. The money shouldn’t matter. Why do something where you make a bunch of money if you hate it? I guess what I’m saying is you shouldn’t ever have to work a day in your life, don’t waste your passion, do what you love.

Michael Smith is a Marketing major and Networks Scholar in the Scott College of Business, as well as a student writer in the University Marketing office.