Alma Cooper: A Beacon of Inspiration

Alma Cooper, crowned Miss Michigan 2024, is breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes. As an active-duty Army officer, mathematician, and pageant princess, she embodies resilience, determination, and a commitment to service. Let’s delve into her remarkable story.

From Okemos to Miss Michigan

Alma Cooper hails from Okemos, Michigan, where she grew up with a strong sense of purpose. Her guiding credo—“Service comes in many forms, and my only limitations are the ones I accept”—propelled her journey. As an Afro-Latina woman from a predominantly white, rural Midwestern town, Alma defied expectations. She became the first active-duty Army officer to be chosen as Miss Michigan USA.

Uplifting Girls of Color

Alma sees the pageant stage as an opportunity to represent girls of color who often go unseen and unheard. Her win isn’t just about glitz and glamour; it’s about inspiring others to break free from limiting circumstances and perceptions. Alma’s degree in mathematics and pursuit of a master’s in statistics at Stanford University reflect her commitment to elevating underrepresented voices.

A Soulful Name

Alma’s name carries deep significance. “Alma” means “soul” in Spanish, connecting her to the essence of all the women who have impacted her life. Her full name—Alma Oralia Minerva Cooper—honors her grandmother, mother, and another grandmother who was a migrant worker from Texas. Alma embodies the strength and resilience of these women.

A Father’s Legacy

Stacey Cooper, Alma’s father, is a retired Major in the Army. His influence and support have shaped Alma’s path. Alma cherishes the memory of her father delivering the oath to her during her graduation from the United States Military Academy. His footsteps inspire her as she continues to break barriers and lead by example.

Motivating the Next Generation

Alma’s upcoming appearances in Michigan provide a unique opportunity for young people. She aims to motivate and guide them toward excellence. Her message resonates: “Aim high, serve others, and break free from limitations.” Alma’s journey—from pageants to military service—serves as a beacon of inspiration for all aspiring leaders.

Podcast Interview

For further insights into Alma’s experiences, listen to one of her recent podcast interviews: Being in the Arena with 2LT Alma Cooper.

Alma Cooper’s story reminds us that true leadership knows no bounds. She embodies courage, resilience, and the power of embracing one’s identity. Let’s celebrate Alma’s achievements and continue to uplift girls of color everywhere.