Erik Matthews

Erik Matthews

Hometown: Galway, New York

Major: Physical Therapy 

Graduation Year: 2022 (BS) 2024 (DPT)

Why did you choose Daemen University?

My decision to attend Daemen University was very easy. The Daemen community is extremely friendly and helpful, the student to professor ratio is very small, the college is located in a phenomenal area and the physical therapy program is one of the best in the state. I was also given the opportunity to play soccer at the collegiate level. Daemen had nearly everything that I was looking for when choosing a university.

Why did you choose your present major?

Most people who study physical therapy take interest in this major because they have typically needed physical therapy in the past. My case is a little bit different. Growing up on a family fruit farm, I was able to start communicating and building my social skills from a very young age. At the age of 8, I started working at our road side, establishing close bonds and relationships with all of the customers. I loved helping people, and being there to check up on our customers as they regularly stopped at the stand. My passion for helping others translated directly into my high school years, where I actively participated in several community service projects, including Project Linus, which is a non-profit organization devoted to making blankets for children in need. My combined love for math and science in high school, and the devotion to helping others really pieced this career path together for me.

Please describe your academic experience at Daemen.

My academic experience at Daemen University has been truly mesmerizing. Everything has certainly happened very quickly, but I vividly remember every step of the way. One of the most rewarding pieces of my academic experience at Daemen is being able to work so closely with the faculty and staff. I have the opportunity to walk straight into my professors office, ask them questions, and sit down with them until I thoroughly understand materials. This is an experience that students at most other colleges cannot relate to. Last semester, when I was taking chemistry, I emailed my professor nearly every day, including over spring break. I had question after question after question, but she continued to respond in a timely manner, and always had her door open. The class sizes, and relationships that students can establish with their faculty members is an experience like no other.

What is your favorite campus hangout? Why?

My favorite campus hangout is definitely the Research and Information Commons. When I have lots of work to get done, the RIC is the perfect place for me to just sit down and focus. I could spend hours in there just sitting and doing my work without any disruptions. Additionally, 78 West, which is our coffee shop located near the RIC, has really good coffee for when I am feeling a little tired. There is a diverse range of locations to study in the RIC for when students want to study in silence, or want to discuss ideas in a group!

What do you like best about Daemen?

There are many outstanding aspects of Daemen, but the sense of community is something that cannot be beat. Since Daemen is such a small college, you are able to build fantastic relationships with both your peers as well as your professors. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming that it just makes the entire campus feel like home. 

Do you have a favorite campus activity?

Throughout my time at Daemen, I have taken several opportunities to get involved. Some of the clubs, activities, and roles which I currently participate in on campus include, the Honors Program, Men’s Soccer, Resident Assistant, Wildcat Wellness, Tour Guide, Peer Mentor, and Academic Coaching. I will not discuss all of these activities, but I will discuss the ones that may be unfamiliar to most people. The Daemen Honors program is an outstanding opportunity for students to expand their academic experience. Along with a multitude of benefits and fun activities, students complete one academic contract per semester. Contracts are an opportunity to dive deeper into their interests, pair with a professor from one of their classes, and complete a project of any sort! Finally, Wildcat Wellness is a relatively new group on campus which strives to implement evidence-based programming to educate and influence students to make healthier choices. I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Florida with this group in January of 2019, and I learned a lot of valuable information about sexual assault prevention, substance abuse prevention, as well as how to implement effective programs around college campuses! As a whole, all of the activities that I participate in on campus provide excellent ways to expand my communication network, and build leadership skills!