“Put yourself out there, take those opportunities, because if you ask for them and are looking for them, then the opportunities will come.”
From leading the student body to interning for the company he will now join after graduation, Mechanical Engineering major Matthew Beck of Monmouth County stayed open to new possibilities throughout his Rowan University college career.
One of the first experiences he reflects on is the Formula One electric car clinic, a project for which he volunteered, where students build an electric vehicle “from scratch.” As a first-year student, he worked side by side with seniors and was placed on the project’s safety team.
“We picked out all the suits, made sure that the car was up to the safety standards and actually got to design and build the seat out of carbon fiber, which was really cool,” he notes.
Curious about drones and electronics, Matthew attended a meeting of Rowan’s IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. As fate would have it, the club was selecting its members by election that evening.
Matthew recalls: “I don’t know anyone in this club. I guess I’ll just enjoy a slice of pizza and sit back and just listen. We got to the end and they had that SGA [Student Government Association] position, and no one applied for it. So they asked, ‘Does anyone want to do it?’ And I raised my hand, and kind of fell in love with SGA that way.”
From there, he went on to work with clubs as part of SGA’s Student Financial Control Board, then served as AVP of Student Affairs and ultimately, the university’s student body President.
Matthew is most proud of SGA’s work with student wellness this year.
“Leaving a legacy behind [with] the new position of AVP of Health, Wellness, and Safety is something that was really meaningful. And I know that bringing some really awesome individuals in the next couple of years, they’re going to do some really great work. So not even necessarily things that I did, but things that we’re going to be putting forward,” Matthew notes.
Alongside the university’s Rowan Thrive initiative, he adds his SGA board has emphasized “the students’ perspective on the need to make wellness a priority at Rowan — physical and mental wellness,” he explains.
Matthew says getting involved in internships is really important. His own experience with the Lockheed Martin co-op program extended to two summers and one semester. This summer, he will begin his career with the organization.
However, Matthew’s long-range plans may include another college commencement. He plans to earn his Ph.D. and become a college dean or higher education administrator at a university.
“The SGA really has changed my career path more than I could have ever anticipated. I love working with students in higher education. So that’s my goal,” he says.
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