Student Profiles - Ricardo Brens Matos
Major: Spanish education with a minor in Latino studies
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
What made you want to join the Society on Latino Affairs (SOLA) organization at Millersville University?
The major reason I decided to join SOLA was because of its purpose to promote diversity and unity among each and every student of any race here at Millersville University. Knowing that SOLA promotes the Latino culture motivated me to become part of this organization; joining will always be one of the best things I have ever done in my life.
What does SOLA provide to the campus community?
One of the most exciting and important things that SOLA provides to the campus community are community service opportunities. It's a great feeling when members join us to service our community. Also, the executive board works so hard to put on large-scale events that serve its members and the campus community as a whole.
What are your primary duties as the public relations chair of SOLA?
It is my duty to publicize every event, activity and meeting that SOLA has. I also distribute and display flyers and advertisements, create labels, send outgoing mail to all members and corresponding contacts and compose and send donation letters. In the absence of the recording secretary, I assume all responsibilities of this position. It is also required for every board member to attend each meeting, event or activity for SOLA.
Do you think it’s important for students to get involved early on in college?
I honestly think getting involved early on in college has been an amazing decision. It has helped me grow tremendously, not only on my social skills, but it has helped me to overcome my fear of speaking English in public. Since I learned English I have always been afraid of speaking in public because of my accent. Being involved has helped me to realize that my accent is worth the effort I’ve put into everything after coming to this country and learning the language. Now I have decided to be proud of it and embrace it.
What are your duties as a student worker in the sociology/anthropology department? Do you think this experience will help you overall as a student?
As a student office assistant it is my duty to have tactful and professional skills in dealing with students, visitors and faculty members. I run the office in the absence of my supervisor, run errands on campus for faculty and staff, assist in the duplication of materials, answer and direct phone calls, greet students and visitors into the department office, do research and handle sensitive materials with confidentiality.
I am very positive that working as a student office assistant will help me accomplish many other things in life. This experience allows me to work with many different people with different personalities, and allows me to have an idea of how the world is going to be once I graduate and start my profession.
Ideally, what do you want to do with your degree post-graduation?
Once I graduate from Millersville I hope to work in a high school and teach not only Spanish courses but also Latino studies courses (as an elective). My goal is to give students who want to learn the language or about the Latino culture more knowledge on the subject. I would also like to pursue a master’s degree in education or school counseling.
Are you fluent in Spanish?
Yes, I am. Spanish is my first language because I was born in the Dominican Republic where Spanish is the official language and the only language I spoke for 16 years of my life.
Are you learning a second language here at Millersville?
Well, I wouldn’t say a second language; instead, it would be a third. My first language is Spanish and after I came to this country when I was 16 (August 2009) I started to learn English. It was very easy for me to acquire the language but there were times when I had difficulties with it. Right now I am taking Introduction to French and I really enjoy it.
What are you looking forward to most about your upcoming educational courses?
Within my upcoming educational courses I expect to experience the school and classroom environment, learn new things about working with students and most importantly, acquire skills needed to prepare lesson plans, activities and running a classroom. Thus, it will not be hard for me to gain and learn because I am very excited and passionate about teaching.
Have you won any honors or awards during your time at Millersville?
I have won the Academic Achievement Freshman Year Inquiry Program Award, which recognizes freshman students who have achieved a 3.0 GPA or above during their first semester in college. I have also had the honor to be on the dean’s list.
How has Millersville helped you to succeed?
I have become a more confident, knowledgeable and professional student thanks to great professors here at Millersville University. Specifically, the fact that Millersville offers such a great education program for its students and faculty and staff that care about helping each and every one of them. I am very positive that once I graduate, I will always be thankful to Millersville University for helping me achieve my educational goals in life.