Matt's Story

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Name:  Matt Robinson
College:  College of Visual and Performing Arts
Major(s):  Dance (Bachelor of Fine Arts); Criminal Justice Minor
Grad Year:  Spring 2017
Hometown:  Abingdon, Va.

1. Why did you decide to attend Radford University?
My former dance instructor was an alumnus from Radford University and would take us to see shows performed by the students here. I was able to see the balanced array of dance styles taught here, which is not something I found offered many places in my college research. In all of my conversations with the Dance Department faculty, they seemed genuinely excited to work with me, while also expecting me to work hard, which is exactly what I wanted. The final factor was the financial support offered, which sealed the decision for my family and me.

2. How have you financed your education? Have you encountered any challenges along the way?
I have been an office work study on campus the past two years to help cover living costs, but without the scholarship support I have received, I would not have been able to complete my degree. All three years I’ve been at Radford University, I have managed to secure multiple scholarships and grants to help my family support me. If it weren’t for these scholarships, I would have had to take a semester off from school.

3. What do you appreciate most about your Radford University education?
The professors. They definitely prepare you for a job in the “real world” and take a real interest in your future. One of my Criminal Justice professors helped me secure a summer internship with the Drug Enforcement Agency in Johnson City, and I was also offered a paying summer job with a dance company who saw me perform on stage here at Radford. I ended up deciding to take the paid summer job with the dance company, but being in a position to choose was only possible because of my professors.

4. What are your career ambitions?
I actually just accepted a job offer with a dance company in Cleveland, which I knew about (once again) thanks to my professors. Although most of my training has been in dance, I have gained experience in other areas of the arts and plan to utilize acting, singing and writing to broaden both my performance career as well as redirect my career focus later into choreography, directing and writing. I believe art can be something easy to enjoy, like a funny musical, but it can also help people understand each other and societal issues more clearly. I would be honored if I could help people in such ways through my work.

5. Why do you think donor support is important?
My grandfather once told me that life is just a bunch of decisions, small and big, one after another. But my decision and many other students’ decisions on how to continue our education and how to make the best choice for our future is sometimes limited because of socioeconomic background, quality of local education, and many other factors we don’t have control over. Support given by donors opens more doors, provides more opportunities, and allows young individuals to make different decisions, some that weren’t even an option before. In my case, such support has helped me achieve my goal of creating a strong, bright future.

6. Do you have a message for donors and prospective donors?
To the donors who have contributed to myself and others, I thank you. If you are considering becoming a donor, I thank you, and strongly encourage you to seize this opportunity to change someone’s life and positively impact their academic decisions. I can honestly tell you, any amount of support, big or small, it all helps.