Khandi Stewart-Cooper has a giant heart, a jam-packed schedule, and an ambitious vision. Her motivation: creating opportunities for youth to excel in science and technology.
At age 36, she is a new principal at Carolina Adventist Academy in Whiteville, N.C. She serves as assistant director of Adventist Robotics for the North American Division and the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and is the Science Fair coordinator for her South Atlantic Conference school district. She owns her own business, Stewart Robotics, LLC, aimed at helping schools, churches, and organizations develop high-quality robotics and S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education programs.
Stewart-Cooper was first drawn to science and medicine 21 years ago when her father was diagnosed with and eventually succumbed to lung cancer. After seeing the exceptional care he received, she was inspired to begin volunteering in health care. When she graduated from Poinciana High School, she set her sights on AdventHealth University (AHU). Stewart-Cooper, who attended AHU through a Bright Futures scholarship, became the first generation in her family to graduate from college.
“I needed a lot of support, being a first-generation college student,” said Stewart-Cooper, who earned her bachelor’s degree in health sciences in 2009. “Sometimes it was just knowing something simple, like how to study, little nuances like that. For some of my colleagues, that was second nature because their parents and grandparents had gone through that and could pass that on.”
Stewart-Cooper fell in love with science at AHU and began her teaching career following graduation, earning a master’s degree in education, and currently studying for a doctoral degree in educational leadership, both from Concordia University.
She recently committed to contributing $25,000 to be used toward student scholarships at AHU. Stewart-Cooper is the youngest donor to establish and endow a scholarship fund at AHU.
“When you have, you need to give back because there is such a need,” said Stewart-Cooper. “So many want to have an education but cannot afford it. I want others to have that joy they are missing in their lives. This is for the other Khandi Coopers out there.”
AdventHealth University | December 2023