Nicholas Cobb, a second-year computer science student, has won national recognition repeatedly for his work with a charitable organization he started at the age of 12. Most recently, he traveled to New York for recognition at the 2015 Nickelodeon HALO Awards.
From giving coats to the homeless, to awarding scholarships, to providing feeding assistance and mobilizing other youth to create change, Comfort and Joy, the organization Cobb started, helps needy Texans and will soon be expanding to other parts of the country.
In the last year, Cobb has won both The Root's Young Futurist Award and a Nickelodeon HALO Effect Award. In addition to maintaining his organization and keeping up with his studies, he's also a CNS Ambassador and a member of the College's Council for Diversity Engagement. Over the weekend, Nickelodeon flew Cobb and a guest to New York City to be part of the 2015 HALO Awards ceremony, which recognizes young people who have made a distinct impact through helping and leading others. The program will air on national television on Nov. 29, and Cobb talked with us before the trip.
You started a nonprofit that now provides a wide range of assistance to the needy. What's happened with that since you came to UT?
We are going national. We have our first national chapter starting in New York City this fall, to be followed by a chapter in Atlanta. The idea is for other kids all over the country to be able to give back, like I did.
How does your work in the community tie in with your studies?
Technology is an important part. I have to keep a website running, and I plan to provide other kids with technological advice as they run their own sections of Comfort and Joy.
What do you see for yourself in the future?
I do plan to continue Comfort and Joy. Also, I interned at Google last summer and was offered the software engineering internship to come again next summer. I'm interested in game development because I find it to be a good creative medium. You hear all these negative things about video games, but really there are positives, too. Games increase reaction time and can help with problem solving, reasoning, rationality. These are all things that we'll need in the future to solve the world's greatest problems. Games got me interested in STEM, and I figure they can get other children interested in STEM, too.
Where else have your interests taken you?
UT is awesome. I am a second-generation Longhorn. My father, Reginald Cobb, got his MBA at McCombs in 1994. I am having the time of my life. I got to go the Tapia Conference in Boston, which celebrates diversity in computer science. It brings together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, etc. You can meet people from the industry, get advice, and get your name out there. I was one of only a few freshmen to get to go.
Source: CNS News