Hope Matthews ’18 is a member of both the Middlebury women’s golf and women’s squash teams. The Greenwich, Connecticut native is majoring in computer science and minoring in geology. It’s an unusual combination, she admits, but one that has added a wonderfully “unexpected twist” to her education.
In the holiday mindset, what is the best gift you have received or been given?
It sounds cheesy, but I believe my life as I know it has been the greatest gift. At eight months old, I was adopted from a rural town in China and brought to the United States by two of the most loving people on the planet, my mom and my dad. 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.
Why did you decide on Middlebury?
I wanted to be at a small, liberal arts school in the northeast. I grew up visiting my grandparents in Vermont and have always loved being in the mountains. When I learned of Middlebury’s strong academic opportunities and great athletics, I knew it was the school for me.
You worked at the Food Network last summer?
I worked as the Product Management intern at Scripps Networks Interactive in New York City, which owns a collection of lifestyle media brands such as Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel. I worked closely with the Digital Sites and Apps teams that manage the Food Network and HGTV websites, Food Network Facebook bot and Food Network mobile apps. It was really fun to learn about the company from the inside and to work with the content and people who create, develop, and maintain the networks’ products.
What on-campus organizations do you belong to at Middlebury?
I am a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative for the women’s golf team. I am away at tournaments or matches for many of the monthly meetings throughout the year, but I always enjoy the meetings that I’m able to attend. It’s really fun to interact with athletes from other teams and the activities and discussions we have prompt me to think about our organization in ways I wouldn’t think of on my own.
How have you balanced your academic class load with your athletic schedule?
It is no doubt a challenge! With the golf team traveling to tournaments for two nights, I have found that it’s important to stay focused, organized and efficient. I use any downtime throughout the week (in between classes, before/after practice) and during travel (bus rides, in the hotel before bed, etc.) to do homework. I am always making lists and keep a detailed schedule of my days to ensure I budget enough time to get everything done. I’ve learned that the faster I get something accomplished without compromising quality, the more time I have to catch up with friends or engage in the community.
How did become interested in golf and squash?
I have been playing golf for as long as I can remember. My dad taught me to love the game at a very young age and it was our special thing that we did together while I was growing up. I always associate the sport with him, and it has always been a huge part of my life, so it seemed natural for me to pursue it in college.
Squash is a different story. I grew up in a town where the sport of squash was really popular, but I didn’t try it until sixth grade when we played for fun in gym class. I loved playing in school, with friends, and in national and international tournaments. Fitness is really important to me, so I have always loved that squash is a fun way to stay fit. I think my love for squash was heightened when I got a foot injury my junior year of high school and had to stop playing.
A computer science major with a minor in geology?
Yes, it is a bit of an odd combination. I am a computer science major but recently declared a last-minute geology minor. The geology department is great and the courses have been really interesting to me. It has added an unexpected twist to my education at Middlebury and I love it because it allows me to use my brain in different ways from my computer science courses. My favorite part is the field trips we take because it allows me to truly appreciate our Vermont setting and it helps me solidify in my mind the concepts we learn in the classroom. No lecture or PowerPoint slide compares to seeing, observing and touching a feature in the field.
What is your #MiddMoment?
I would say my #MiddMoment is when I look outside my classroom window here and see cows! I think that’s super cool, especially coming from Connecticut where I didn’t see many of them. Also, the fall foliage is pretty spectacular.