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Matthew Gwartney

2285

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

Bio

I am a higher education professional who is passionate about student success. As a student with unique struggles, I recognize that not ever student's journey looks like the idealized 4-year graduation plan that many high school students set out to achieve. I work to help students write their own stories of success and achieve goals that are defined by them and therefore meaningful to them. I am a father and husband, and my family is my primary motivation to continue to pursue my own education. Spending time with my son reading, gardening, hiking, and dancing is one of the greatest pleasures in my life.

Education

John Brown University

Master's degree program
2018 - 2022
  • Majors:
    • Education, Other

John Brown University

Bachelor's degree program
2010 - 2014
  • Majors:
    • Human Development, Family Studies, and Related Services
  • Minors:
    • Philosophy

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Education, Other
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Higher Education

    • Dream career goals:

      Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs

    • Student Success Coordinator

      Northeastern State University
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Math Teacher

      Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy
      2020 – 20211 year
    • Paraprofessional Aide

      Lewisville High School - Ben Harmon Campus
      2016 – 20171 year
    • Retention Specialist

      Northeastern State University
      2019 – 20201 year
    • Academic Assistance Coordinator

      John Brown University
      2017 – 20192 years

    Sports

    Track & Field

    Varsity
    2005 – 20094 years

    Awards

    • Big Heart Award

    Research

    • Higher Education

      John Brown University — Principal Researcher
      2013 – 2014

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Lewisville Independent School District — Staff support/sponsor
      2015 – 2017

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Bold Learning and Changing Scholarship
    Students are not hardwired to succeed. Every student wants to be successful in high school, college, and beyond, but every student will face obstacles to that success. When my son was born at the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, I was pursuing my master's degree in higher education, and with this birth of this little boy I was suddenly in the position of suspending my own academic journey, not knowing whether or not I would return to complete the degree. Every day I work with students to help them set and achieve their academic goals, but one thing my son's birth taught me is that students are not hardwired to succeed. No student arrives at university having completely mastered all the skills they need to be successful, because no student can plan ahead for every obstacle they will face in their time in college. Students need advisors and mentors to come alongside them and walk with them through their academic journey precisely because the student does not have all the answers. When coursework competes with jobs, friendships, and family obligations, students often feel torn between their priorities, and, unfortunately, high school simply does not prepare students for this tug of war. Even seasoned higher education professionals struggle with these sometimes competing priorities. It is easy to look at some students and think, "They have it all figured out. They have got it together." Often, however, the exact opposite is true. Students need the support of resources, mentors, and advisors to help them navigate the difficult and confusing world of education. The birth of my son showed me that life events can derail even the most motivated of students. It helped me approach my students with more compassion and grace. It made me a better advisor, mentor, and friend.