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FRESH Encounters: Cooper Breus

Academy freshman Cooper Breus has a talent for building community wherever he goes. From orchestrating online get-togethers for his cohort to helping launch a new startup with older IYA students, Breus’ ability to make friends is just one asset in his unique toolkit.

What does being at the Academy mean to you?

Being at the Academy for me is fulfilling my goal of getting one of the best educations possible for the future ahead, as well as being part of a distinct cohort with people of extraordinary talents and capabilities that I never thought I’d actually be able to work with in my lifetime.

What is something about the way the world works that you’d like to disrupt?
I feel that even though our society has progressed rapidly through the past century (and especially rapidly in the last twenty years or so), we are still dominated by tradition in our lives that we did not create or choose. While many traditions have a positive impact on the world around us, such as holidays or special family recipes, we are still stuck in many of the business and workflow traditions that have been commonplace for centuries. I feel those traditions are holding us back as a society socially, economically, and technologically. I’d love to disrupt these traditions (especially in the business world with automation through programming and artificial intelligence) to help improve the quality of life for everyone and avoid all the unnecessary complications and frustrations with the way many things are run now and have been run for a long time with minimal changes.

What are three goals you have this year?
While Coronavirus has significantly altered exactly what I can accomplish during this year, the three main goals I’d like to pursue are to develop my own community of friends through the Academy (which has already been done even before we started, yay!), branch out of my specialties of music and marketing in the Academy classes (such as graphic design), and to enjoy my time as much as possible during the pandemic.

Who is the most impressive entrepreneur alive today? Why?
While it’s hard to pick just one, I’d like to highlight a somewhat obvious one: Elon Musk. Not only has Musk revolutionized the payment industry through PayPal, but he’s also been able to completely disrupt the automotive, space travel, underground travel, vacuum travel, and radio (yes that is correct with the Tesla radio services that are far more advanced than many streaming platforms today) industries with his innovative thinking and inventive systems towards building a product that will truly change the way you think about how a product can truly fit into your life and improve upon it.

What are some things you want to know about your future senior self?
I’d be curious about the steps I’ll take to persevere through this difficult situation we’re going through at the moment as well as all the crazy and fun experiences I’ll have through the Academy and USC. I’m definitely looking forward to that in the future!

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?
While my main focuses are in music and marketing, I’ve also always been very interested in the study of human behavior and mental illness. In fact, I worked for a crisis and support helpline for two years as a mentor, facilitator, and certified crisis counselor, dealing with calls ranging from LGBTQ and abuse issues to suicide calls. So if anyone is ever feeling down and needs someone to listen to them, I guess I’m the trained professional for the job!

What is one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
One of my dad’s favorite teachings is that while you should work smarter instead of working harder, combining the two to find the most efficient way to work and then add effort into it will make you unstoppable.

What is a recent project that you’ve worked on that you're really proud of?
Recently I started working for an IYA startup with members of Cohort 5 and 6 called Slingshot as a Sponsorship Manager for their upcoming Slingshot Summit. I’m really proud of how I was able to get them some high profile speakers that were very interested in the Summit and the startup’s future products. 


What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
I always keep a couple of sets of mints in my backpack, either to help make friends or make a good impression on people, as well as a tiny Bluetooth speaker just in case the vibe calls for it.

Favorite app, service, or website?
It's hard to pick just one but I've been especially intrigued by this new car auction website called Cars and Bids, launched by famed car Youtuber Doug Demuro. Demuro studied other car auction websites and tailored his product to be easier to use from both a service and UI/UX standpoint, as well as be cheaper to operate and use than the competition. So far he's seen a lot of success in getting market-correct prices for the cars on a website that only launched a few months ago, showing how his efforts to make a superior service have paid off.

If you could be best friends with a fictional character who would it be?
I think it would definitely be cool to be friends with James Bond, but I’m not sure if the experiences I'd have with him would be fun or just downright scary!