The NESCAC is brimming with talented student-athletes and the "Friday Feature" is a way for fans to get to know them throughout the academic year. The conference introduces Middlebury's Hope Matthews, a women's squash and golf student-athlete who's greatest gift came from her parents.
Hope Matthews, Middlebury College
Senior, Women's Squash and Women's Golf
Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich Academy
Major: Computer Science
Why did you choose to attend Middlebury?
I wanted to attend a small, liberal arts school in the northeast. Middlebury was the best fit for me because it offered a perfect combination of strong academics and great athletic opportunities on an amazing campus setting with a welcoming community.
Why did you choose to be a Division III student-athlete?
I love to be busy and active. Although my classes always take first priority, sports are important to me. I enjoy working at something non-academic in the time when I’m not studying, and I love being part of a team. Sports are way more fun when you have a team to practice, travel, and compete with. Plus, I know I’m most productive when I have a structured schedule and look forward to my athletic commitments.
Which academic/extracurricular/community service project that you have been a part of has been the most rewarding? Why?
Last spring, I worked to build a mobile app with a classmate in our Computer Science Senior Seminar. We worked together for the entire semester to build an app that could help direct students to the correct campus resource when they need help. Even though the app is not live yet, it was really interesting to use the coding and problem solving skills that I learned from other classes to make a real, useable product. It was so rewarding to be able to show people the app and to speak comprehensively about the creation process.
What has been the greatest part of your college experience so far?
My favorite part of college has definitely been the people I have met. Whether through sports, classes, or just around campus, I have made so many different friends that I might not have met if we didn’t attend the same college. I love meeting people from different backgrounds, and the opportunity to get to know individuals who have a variety of interests has really broadened my horizons.
What are three top things on your bucket list?
1. Run a marathon 2. Do a cross-country road-trip 3. Successfully make every Barefoot Contessa recipe
What has been your favorite class outside of your major? Why?
I took Beginning Italian my entire sophomore year and it was by far my favorite class outside of my major due to the professor and other students. Professor Brancoli-Busdraghi is truly one of the kindest, most caring people I have ever met and it was a privilege to learn from her. Her passion for the material and enthusiasm about teaching it to us was contagious and made me look forward to every class. The class had about 13 students, all from different backgrounds and interests, but was very cohesive so we had fun getting to know each other.
What internships/research projects have you participated in? What did you learn from these experiences?
For the past few years, I have been interested in product development and management. Last summer, I worked as a Product Management intern at Scripps Networks Interactive, which owns a collection of lifestyle media brands such as Food Network, HGTV, and Travel Channel. I had a blast getting to work with the content and teams who run the networks’ digital sites and apps. In addition to learning about the company’s operations, I had a wonderful mentor who taught me a lot about the field of Product Management.
What has been the most interesting part of your major so far?
I have really enjoyed learning a wide array of programming languages. I find that learning how to code in a new language is like deciphering a huge brainteaser. I love problem solving, so it has been exciting to learn a new programming language in each coding class. It’s really fun to experiment with and compare what sorts of programs and tricks each language can do.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being a student-athlete?
My experiences with the squash and golf teams have taught me how to successfully work with many different types of people towards a common goal. I’ve learned that, even if everyone doesn’t always agree on how to do something, it is imperative to find a way to put differences aside and unite as a team to improve and be successful.
What is the best gift you have ever received or gave? Why?
It sounds cheesy, but I believe my life as I know it has been the greatest gift. At 8 months old, I was adopted from a rural town in China and brought to the U.S. by two of the most loving people on the planet, my mom and my dad. Ever since, they have supported me in whatever I have set out to accomplish, and I know I couldn’t be where I am today without their constant love and encouragement. I am grateful every day for my family, friends, health, and education opportunities, because I know that my life could have turned out very differently.