Matthew Beck, a senior Mechanical Engineering major within the Honors College, shares his #PROFspective as a Rowan student and President of Student Government Association (SGA). Matthew is from Marlboro, NJ (Monmouth County) and involved with many extracurriculars and clubs. He is an Admissions Ambassador, the Logistics Manager for Food Recovery Network, SGA President, and a member of Society of Automotive Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Rowan Environmental Action League.
Why did you choose to study Mechanical Engineering? Have you always wanted to pursue a career in this field?
I would not say I have always wanted to be a mechanical engineer. The main reason why I wanted to be an engineer was because I have always loved building stuff. As long as I was able to play with toys, I always had Bob the Builder toys and things like that, and this is what initially struck my attention.
What really made me decide to become a mechanical engineer was because of a class I took freshman year of high school called Electronics I. In this class we learned the basics of engineering design and electric circuit analysis, which is how I fell in love with innovating, crafting and designing things. I think it’s awesome how you can go from having nothing to developing something that works and can be utilized.
The one project that I think stood out to me most was when we built a speaker that you can plug into your phone. We built it completely from scratch, and I just really loved that project; it inspired me to take Electronics II the following year. I also took a 3D modeling course in high school that also made me realize I was very interested in engineering as a major.
Why did you choose Rowan to study Mechanical Engineering?
I have a few reasons on why I chose Rowan. Location wise, Rowan is close enough to home to where I can go home whenever I want, but also far enough from home to where I feel independent and on my own. I also like Rowan’s proximity to all the major cities of where I would potentially like to work in the future like Philadelphia, New York or even Washington DC.
The price of Rowan was another huge reason why I chose this university. The price of Rowan is one that I couldn’t really beat when comparing it to other colleges and universities.
In general, the mechanical engineering program within the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering really stood out to me. I visited a ton of schools and I even applied to 11 different schools, and Rowan’s facilities and opportunities really stood out to me. When I was looking, Rowan had one newly renovated building and one brand new building for engineering, and it was cool to know it was rapidly expanding.
I also was able to make connections with the administrators very quickly here. The Dean of the college at the time was a really good resource to me. He had an open door policy and was always guiding me and answering all my questions thoroughly.
How would you describe SGA (Student Government Association) to someone who is unfamiliar with it?
Student Government Association (SGA) is kind of like a governing and advocating body for students. The way we operate is kind of like a small business that oversees and kind of manages all the clubs and organizations on campus. We take our budget and we allocate it to all the clubs and organizations, so we help them make their events, make reservations, approve reservations, help them order food, and help provide them with all the resources that they need.
We also advocate on the behalf of all the clubs and organizations. Any student at Rowan University always has the support of SGA. At any time anyone can come into our offices and we would be happy to help them and assist them with their needs.
What is your role within the Student Government Association?
My biggest responsibility is making sure all operations associated with SGA are running smoothly. We have 14 different executive board members ranging from Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and more. My daily task is to make sure that everyone is held accountable and doing their specific tasks.
Besides this task, I am able to pursue my own personal initiatives. I take time out of every day to answer my emails, to go and look at my initiatives, meet with administrators, and other tasks that voice student opinion.
What are your goals and aspirations for the future of this association?
In general, I just want the students to be heard. One of the things that we are really focusing on as an organization is promoting the SGA so that people know who we are, what we do and how our actions can help the students. We have spent a lot of time brainstorming how we should promote and advertise ourselves. Overall, I just hope that we make the most positive change to the lives of the students at Rowan that we can.
How did you get involved with SGA?
This is actually a funny story. In high school, I was not involved or really interested in student government. I was always a person who preferred to keep their head in the books and to keep themselves out of the spotlight.
One day I decided I wanted to learn more about a certain club on campus. All I wanted was to receive more information on the club, and I was unaware of any information about the meeting that day.
It turned out that there were SGA elections that day so the meeting was canceled. I was all upset sitting there because I wanted to hear more about this club and I thought it was rude to get up and leave during the elections, so I decided to just stay and listen and to vote for the elections. I got to the end of the elections and no one ran for SGA Senator so they asked if anyone in the audience was interested in taking on that role. At the time, I was interested in the club and I kind of just said yes. I think it’s funny that because I even joined the club, I was on the executive board.
As the Senator, I went to the senate meetings every other Monday. I really enjoyed the experience and from there it just went on for me. I stayed very involved over the years and eventually I ran to be SGA President. This challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and a way to make sure I was giving my best to impact the lives of the students.
What have you gotten out of being part of SGA personally and professionally?
I think a lot of the soft skills of working with administrators, working in and opening myself up to the business world, really contributed to how this experience helped me professionally. When I first started SGA, I was timid and was not used to the working world. This experience provided professional experience and equipped me with knowledge that I will be able to utilize in my future professional environments. Working with the Board of Trustees was an awesome experience. The board is composed of some of the most influential people at Rowan University, and it was really cool to network with them.
Personally, I think this experience has definitely helped my public speaking skills, communication skills. It has expanded my comfort level and expanded my knowledge on simply dealing with people. This experience overall has truly expanded so many skills for me.
How do you think your leadership role within SGA has prepared you for your future endeavors?
I think SGA has prepared me tremendously for my future endeavors and plans. First off, I think this experience is really going to help me when I aspire to move up in an organization. I have a good understanding of how a large organization like Rowan University runs.
I also think it will help me in my career because I already have a lot of experience of managing 15 plus people within SGA and then trying to help and guide an entire student body with the help of my colleagues.
By major, I am an engineer as previously mentioned. This summer I will be entering into a very technical role at Lockheed Martin. I think my role within SGA has made me realize some things I would like to do in the future and the settings I would like to work in.
What does a typical day for you look like?
I like to make a habit of wellness everyday. With that being said, I like to have at least 30-60 minutes a day of mindfulness, or physical activity or even time to just take a walk outside in fresh air. I blocked off my mornings everyday from 7:30-10 a.m. to just have that time and the space for that. I have learned that the more things and responsibilities I have picked up, the more I value that time for myself and my wellness in my mornings.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I am usually pretty busy with SGA, so I will head to my office hours from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. During this time I usually have 3-4 meetings for the day. On Monday nights I have executive board meetings from 5-7 p.m. and sometimes I also have night events that start at 7 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are similar. I start with my wellness routine, then have class basically from 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Overall, my days are pretty jam packed and busy from the morning all the way till around 9 p.m.
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Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major