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About Josh

About Me

Josh Vankooten at Yosemite

My Story

I am currently a graduate student in the Vinik Sports and Entertainment Program at the University of South Florida. While uncertain about his long term career goals, my vision is to use of sports, humor, and transparency, help bridge the political, cultural, age, and economic gaps that divide us everyday.

In the past, I created and hosted the podcast “Entitled to My Friend’s Opinion” in which my co-hosts and I used insightful and unique questions, diverse view points, and multigenerational guests to help guide a search for truth on topics ranging from controversial to barely known. I’m is also incredibly proud of my work at The Identity Tampa Bay, where I have been instrumental in partnership and sponsor development and have been able to create and produce my own content.

My favorite achievement so far is being the student speaker at his undergraduate commencement in front of a crowd of 8,000 people. Josh also has successes that include being a Colorado High School Swimming record holder and the coach of 14 swim records at the largest summer club swim team in Colorado. While Josh loves these achievements, his greatest accomplishment is learning to walk again after being neurologically paralyzed. During Christmas 2014, Josh was diagnosed with the rare orphan disease – neuromyelitis optica. Symptoms included losing the ability to use any bodily function below his waist. Miraculously, Josh learned to walk again just a month after starting treatment and was able to 2 months after this. Today through a dedicated focus on his diet and fitness, Josh is healthier than before his neurological attack and ready to continue on his journey towards carrying out his vision.