Alumni Profiles: Where are they now?


Zipline catches up with alumni of the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound: Cooper Davidson and Emma Kieran Schaefer.

Cooper Davidson

Cooper Davidson

In 2018 Cooper took a huge leap of faith, leaving college to pursue his passion of photography and cinematography. While working at the 100 Elk Outdoor Center and accepting freelance work in his spare time, he built a small but unique portfolio, learning how to market himself and others through online media. 

A short six months later Cooper accepted a full-time position at a quickly budding creative marketing agency in New York City called Social Chain, as the creative manager, where he was blessed to travel the world with the CEO, scaling his, and the company’s, digital brand with rapid success. Amassing millions of views and creating digital pieces for a handful of name-brand clients, Cooper’s portfolio grew exponentially, opening his creative vision up to other industries and clientele.

In 2019 he accepted the opportunity to accompany multi-platinum singer/songwriter Andy Grammer on his “Naive” tour, capturing and documenting his new album and shows across the United States. After three months on the tour bus, Cooper says he “quickly fell in love with Andy’s community, where a spiritual foundation and a higher purpose were placed at the forefront of everything we did, much like the camp environment that I had come to know and love.”

Cooper (middle) with Andy Grammer (left) on the set of a music video

In another massive leap of faith, Cooper uprooted his life, moved to Los Angeles and stepped into the role of creative director for Andy Grammer, Small Giant Management & Records, and then later formed Giant Soul Productions. Cooper has spent the last couple of years directing and producing music videos, creating single and album artwork, streaming live performances, overseeing creative and wardrobe for public appearances, developing a new series to be aired on live broadcasting networks, and most recently creative directing leg one of The Art of Joy Tour. 

Cooper spent 14 summers at the A/U Ranches that he says “wholesomely prepared me for my early adult years.” He adds, “I am immensely grateful for the corral program and its staff, through which I and so many other kids found a purpose, passion and a home away from home. The three years spent as a polocrosse counselor will be forever ingrained in my mind. I learned more about myself, my spirituality, and how to metaphysically support others in those summers than ever before. I am so humbled to be a part of the A/U Ranches community as the world so desperately needs what it has to offer. Camp helped me realize my place in the world, and fostered friendships and a relationship with God that I will cherish forever.”


Emma Kieran Schaefer

Emma Kieran Schaefer

When Emma thinks back to the summers she spent at the A/U Ranches as a camper (2009-2011), the memories of being in such a palpable atmosphere of divine Love are still so vivid. 

She recalls the pack-horse trip when she sang the same Taylor Swift song at the top of her lungs (much to her counselor’s dismay) all the way down the steep trail on horseback, trusting that God would lead her horse and the rest of the group safely down the mountain. 

The day she peaked her first fourteener in Mountaineers and looked out over the panorama of the surrounding mountains, with a new-found certainty that only God could have created such beauty, will forever remain one of her favorite memories. 

Moments like these were so frequent then — stepping outside of her comfort zone, requiring her to rely solely on God — and when she let Love lead, any fear she may have had gave way to infinite joy.

In high school, Emma participated in the DiscoveryBound (DB) Compass program, and the group traveled to Laguna Beach in California, the A/U Ranches and Boston over the course of a school year. The program helped her learn more ways to apply Christian Science to daily life and gave her a group of friends and experiences that kept her rooted in practicing Christian Science throughout the year. 

On the Boston trip, when they toured The Mother Church (TMC), she learned about TMC Youth internships offered to college students. After her second year of college, she interned with the Broadcasting and Multimedia department at TMC, where she has continued to work creating videos for Sunday School students.

Emma is currently a junior at Grinnell College in Iowa, where she has designed a major of multimedia storytelling — a topic of study to understand how stories can be used to create positive change. A distance runner on the cross country and track teams, Emma loves being part of a group that in many ways resembles the supportive environments she found during summers at the A/U Ranches and in DB Compass. She’s also a singer-songwriter, using her music to remind listeners of the good inside of them and in other people, too. She looks forward to continuing her exploration of how storytelling can be used to communicate important issues and bridge divides.

Where are you now? Let us know! Email [email protected].

Leave a Reply