Commitment: First Legacy Scholarship Recipient
Matthew Smiley is no stranger to hard work. As a high school student growing up just north of Chicago, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and participated in sports, like swim team and water polo.
As a UA student, Matt is often awake before the sun rises, diving into the chilly waters of the campus pool to practice with the UA water polo team before heading to his early morning classes.
Matt knows that his daily formula of dedication and consistency, combined with discipline and hard work, makes the difference when it comes to being a successful student. Well-versed in selfadvocacy, assistive technology, and SALT Center tutoring services, Matt is now entering his sophomore year as a pre-business major in the Eller College of Management with a 3.5 GPA.
Last semester, this impressive young man was selected to be the first SALT Center Legacy Scholarship Award recipient. The Legacy Scholarship Award covers SALT Center fees for qualified students throughout their tenure in our program. We sat down with Matt to hear his perspective on the UA and being selected for this award.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ATTEND THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA?
I decided to go to the UA because I wanted to go to a big college and have academic support for my learning disability. I also wanted to go to a college with warm weather. It seemed like the UA had it all.
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE SALT CENTER?
About four years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school, I went to a learning disability college fair in the Chicago area. The big show of the night was the UA SALT Center. It sounded like it might be a good fit!
HOW DOES THE ACADEMIC SUPPORT AT THE SALT CENTER HELP YOU MANAGE YOUR LEARNING CHALLENGE?
They don’t just try to solve your problems - the SALT Center helps you learn on your own. If future problems come up, I will be better able to handle them.
WHY DID YOU APPLY FOR THE LEGACY SCHOLARSHIP AWARD?
After half of the first semester passed, I came to realize that SALT Center services were worth keeping in order to help me be successful until I get my degree. The SALT Center charges a fee, so I thought the Legacy Scholarship Award would help me have less debt coming out of college.
HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU LEARNED THAT YOU WERE SELECTED TO RECEIVE THIS AWARD?
I was very surprised! It felt like I won the lottery! When I applied, I thought there were so many other students at the SALT Center that were going to have a better chance than me. My motto is to do the best I can in everything I do, so I gave it my best shot.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY TO THE DONORS WHO CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR SCHOLARSHIP?
Thank you so much for the scholarship. I am not wasting one bit of the funding, and I am doing the best I can in every class!