Matt Paker
English & Journalism, May 2012

I graduated from Arkansas Tech University in May 2012 with a Bachelor Matt Parkerof Arts degree in English, as well as Journalism, with an emphasis in Public Relations. I was a member and Founding Father of Alpha Tau Omega and served on the executive board of the Student Government Association, just to name a few areas of student life I was involved in. I earned the Green and Gold Spirit Award my senior year and was also named Who's Who Among America's Colleges and Universities.

I decided to pursue my passion for sports by continuing my education in the sports administration field in graduate school. In two to three months, I received an internship/job offer from a former supervisor as a Sports Information Assistant at a college in Florida. Instead of pursuing a master's degree right away, I moved to Florida. It was a great job and even better experience. I made contacts at many different colleges and met professional athletes and sports personalities. It even led to working a MLB spring training game for ESPN. 

During my tenure in Florida, I was approached by some friends who had taught overseas. After talking with them, I found a program that sent foreign teachers to China to teach English in college. My degree was not in education, but I did have a degree in English and I worked toward getting TESOL certified. This August I will embark on my latest adventure, teaching English in China, not knowing the local language and having no experience teaching. 

I always believed life presents a lot of interesting twists and turns. I went from thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do, to making a 180 degree turn to experience something completely different. I don't think I will make a career of living overseas teaching English, but from what I've learned at Tech, anything is a possibility. You don't have to have a set career path and there are many other choices outside of a job "in the real world" once you graduate. Be open to change. 

I owe so much to the people at Tech. They helped a shy, high school student break out of his shell and conquer a new and exciting world. During my time at Tech, my development was aided by many organizations and I have countless people to thank; the English department, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Shaman especially, I thank you so much for guiding me even if you did not realize it; the entire office personnel in Student Services; the Alumni Office; and of course, my brothers in Alpha Tau Omega.

 

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