Student Profile: Amber Matthew

Amber Matthew graduated from Western High School in her native Baltimore. She participated in her robotics team all four years of high school, helping to design and build robots capable of throwing basketballs or picking up things from the floor.

She’d been to Hersheypark and Lancaster, but never to Harrisburg, PA. When it was time to choose a college, she toured schools close to home, but she also submitted an application to HU and made the 90-mile trip for a visit.

“The tour just blew me away,” she says now. “I loved the rooms and the school. I thought the school was very high-tech compared to the other schools I’d been to. It makes the other schools look like dinosaurs.”

Amber began her freshman year at HU in fall 2012, hoping to blend her major in software engineering and her interest in robotics into a career in biomedicine. She believes she’s in the right place to do it. “HU has so many real-world connections,” she says. “I really feel like I could have my foot in the door. Even the teachers talk about having connections, or they work with IT companies. Maybe I’ll get an internship in Hershey Med or perhaps a nearby IT company.”

Amber also hopes to work on projects with HU’s Virtusphere, the state-of-the-art system that lets users experience almost anything imaginable — a trip to Russia, a military training exercise, a tour of the human nervous system by strolling through a virtual reality sphere.

“I really want to see how it can be used with entertainment and learning,” she says. “The biomed side could be used to help surgeons walk through the body. It’d be a huge opportunity to work there.”

An HU Trustees Merit Award and federal aid are financing nearly all of Amber’s tuition and costs in her first year.

“The only thing I have to pay this year is about $283,” she says. “Just receiving these scholarships really puts my mom at ease.”

Along with the high-tech classrooms, HU’s atmosphere and its caring faculty also impressed Amber. Teachers share their contact information and respond quickly to questions.

“At other schools, I would just be a number, some kid that walks in and out of class,” she says. “Here, I feel I can actually talk to the staff. They’re there to help me. They actually care.”

Coming from out of town, Amber worried that she would be all alone and wouldn’t know anybody. Then, she attended orientation activities and mini-classes with other Trustees Merit Scholarship students. “After three days, we felt like best friends,” she says.

Amber is comfortable with her decision to attend HU, where she’s getting a good education but still close to home. When she injured her foot, her mom only had to make a quick trip up Interstate 83 to help out. And Amber feels that she’s setting an example for her 12-year-old sister and 6-year-old brother.

“I definitely think they both look up to me,” she says. “I’m keeping their interest, like when I was involved in robotics. My sister really loves science. I keep telling her to stay interested in it. Participate in things. Get involved.”