Major: Social Work
Minors: Legal Studies
Hometown: Brewster, NY
Graduation Year: 2019
Favorite Girl Scout Cookie: Do-si-dos, but they have to be eaten like how you’d eat an Oreo.
5 Things You Might Not Know About Matt
- My favorite season is autumn! I love to watch the trees change color and the air gets a certain smell that is so hard to describe. Plus, I love halloween! I used to volunteer as an actor at a haunted house in my hometown!
- I am a die-hard American Horror Story fan. It’s so hard to narrow my favorite season down to one, but I would definitely say that the recent season, AHS Roanoke, is definitely in my top two. My other favorite would have to be Asylum. Both of those seasons were incredibly well made, and terrifying. Plus, who doesn’t love Adam Levine?
- I’m a freshman Resident Assistant on campus.
- If I had to choose between the beach or the mountains for vacation, I’d always choose the mountains. My all time favorite vacation was to the Berkshires in Massachusetts. The towns are so small, and so cute. When I graduate, and eventually move away, I would love to move to a small mountain town, ideally a small town called Sandisfield in Massachusetts I used to visit as a child.
- I visited six European countries in three weeks for an ambassador program. We visited France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Liechtenstein. When we were in Germany, I stayed with a local family for a few days, went to school, explored the city of Munich, and was immersed in German culture.
How have your experiences at Naz challenged your expectations about what college would be like?
To me, a college always seemed like an advanced high school, kind of like when you moved from middle school to high school. It just seemed the same but harder and I wanted something that would be completely different. I could not be happier with my choice of Naz. In my first year at Naz, I’ve done more hands-on learning than I had ever done in any previous grade level. I have also had the opportunity to step into countless leadership roles that would never be open to a high schooler or even open to underclassmen at other colleges. As a freshmen, I was elected president of the Nazareth College Mind Over Matter, a club focused around mental illness. Now, as a sophomore, I’m involved with a number of activities through the Social Work Department, Center for Civic Engagement, and Residential Life.
How has your time at Naz sparked your life’s work?
The Nazareth College Department of Social Work is extremely hands-on. In our classes, we try to apply whatever we have learned, or are learning, to current real-world situations. We analyze what is, or has, happened and then try to find a way that we, a small campus, can help make an impact. For example, this year I had the opportunity to participate in Operation Homeless where students from local colleges and organizations came together to help the homeless and at-risk populations find resources they need. I started my day by helping someone replace important documents like their social security card and birth certificate and ended my day helping someone find a temporary shelter and get something as simple as a haircut. It really made me look at my life in a new perspective.
What are the benefits of participating in the social work program at Nazareth College?
It seems almost stereotypical to say, but the social work students are really one big family. We strive to create a friendly environment where everyone feels welcome and accepted. If anyone is ever having a bad day, we know we can turn to each other for any help we need. We also have countless opportunities for involvement both on and off campus – one of the main ones being Operation Homeless in the fall semester. We also take a trip to New York City every spring semester to visit Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Tenement Museum, and the United Nations to see the impact that our practice has on the community.
What kind of internships do social work majors participate in?
Social work in general is a very broad field; I’ve seen students partake in a number of internships/field work placements. In general, we have the opportunity to pick where we would like – I’m hoping to work in a school setting – but our choice is not guaranteed. Next semester, I will be starting an internship with the One Love Foundation focusing on raising awareness of relationship violence. I’m really looking forward to it!!
What is the coolest class you’ve ever taken in your major?
One of our major requirements is to take a course in mental health – definitely the best class I have ever taken. We spent most of the time studying the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. I personally found the topic to be very interesting and fun to study. We also had a really cool final assignment; instead of taking your normal final exam, we had to watch a movie and diagnose one of the characters with a mental illness.
What does a typical day in the life look like in your major?
My days are usually very manageable. Due to the scope of the social work profession, my classes cover a range of topics. I will have days where I will learn about international social work and the Universal Declaration of Human rights. Then the next hour, or next day, I will be learning about parenting styles and fathering. Then I may go to a class about learning the methods of empowerment or the Recovery Model of intervention. On top of my social work classes, I also have to take the standard PEQ/IS courses of Nazareth’s Uncommon Core curriculum like Human Biology, Introduction to Sociology, and American Government and Policies.
What is your advice for incoming freshman in your department?
Wow, where to begin… I guess the first thing I would say is not to worry about course load or work load. As a student you’ll have a number of papers that will seem difficult but the professors are very understanding of any conflict or difficulties you may have. Papers will also focus on topics that are so interesting, or so grand in scale, that page count has no meaning – you’ll often go over!
Overall, just have fun. The social work major/profession is such an honorable one. Every professor you have will tell you that, and it’s true.
What is your favorite thing about being a social work student at Naz?
There are so many great things about the program. The classes cover so many awesome topics, some you may like, but some you may not. The doors that the program opens for you are insane! But my favorite part about the program is definitely the faculty of the social work program! They are truly incredible. There may come a day where you just want to break down, but they will work with you and figure out what they can do to help you. They will help you to establish your presence on campus and introduce you to opportunities you never knew existed. In fact, it was one of my professors, Professor Charlesworth, who introduced me to Mind Over Matter.