Alumni Spotlight: Matthew Smiley

Emily Pendleton, Assistant Director of Operations & Strategy

"Sometimes life brings you full circle to a place you have been before just to show you how much you have grown." - Unknown

For many SALT Center alumni, our participation in this program has resulted in us forming strong connections and given us experiences that have shaped who we are today. When looking back at our time at the SALT Center, many of us feel a desire to give back in some way and hope to share our experiences and stay connected with the program that did so much for us.

Headshot of Matthew Smiley

Matthew Smiley ’18 has felt a desire to pay it forward by giving of his time to the SALT Center. As the SALT Center’s first Legacy Scholarship winner, Matt understands the importance of staying connected. “The SALT Center has done so much and meant a lot to me when I was in college that it feels amazing to have the opportunities to give back to this fantastic program.” Founded in 2014, the Legacy Scholarship Award is given based on real financial need; students who earn this award must meet rigorous academic criteria that must be met and maintained for the tenure within the program. Matt graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Eller College of Management, where he double-majored in Management Information Systems and Operations Management with a minor in Global Business.

Not only was Matt successful in his classes, but as a student, he also worked at the SALT Center as a Tech Coach and was extremely active with clubs and extracurriculars. Today, Matt is a Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young (EY) within their Data and Analytics department.

Earlier this year, Matt came back to visit the SALT Center and made it clear that he wants to be involved. Well, the timing could not be any better as the SALT Center has been working on launching our very own Mentoring Program with alumni. This fall, the SALT Center, in collaboration with the Bear Down Network, will be piloting this new program with a small group of alumni mentors who will be working with students and recent graduates.

Matt excitedly explains, “When I was a student, I always wanted a mentor within my field that understood or had similar learning challenges as me, especially from a recent college graduate. I was always worried in college about how I would survive in the workforce and whether my learning challenges would prevent my worth and strengths from shining.”

As alumni, we all have expertise and insights that we can share to help lead and support current students and recent graduates who are following in our footprints. If you are interested in getting involved or staying connected, please email Emily Pendleton ( to get more information!