Student Profile: Matthew Dangle
For Matthew Dangle, the chance to build and create interactive media is an opportunity to change lives. When he designs a website or game, he strives to make “something people can use.”
“You can create games with a storyline and graphics so it’s not only something that looks pretty, but it is easy on the eyes and is organized in a fluid manner,” he says. “You want to have something that really reflects the story and the background, as well.”
Dangle will graduate with the Class of 2017, with a degree in interactive media and design. He came to HU to study with a unique set of accomplishments. The native of Lebanon, PA, was commanding officer for a professional Airsoft team, a sport “like paintball but beads” with rules of military precision. An animal lover, he also organized a donation and food drive to benefit the Lebanon Humane Society to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. That project brought awareness to the plight of homeless animals.
“I’ve been around animals my entire life,” he says. “In Lebanon, we have way too many animals running around on the street. Dogs and cats left and right. People don’t care if they’re hit by cars or running down the street.”
Matthew comes from a household he describes as an “initiative-taking, go-getting family,” and at HU, he stepped with ease into another leadership role. HU encourages students to build their own clubs and organizations based on their interests, and Matthew founded and became president of the HU Development Club. He got “overwhelming support” from HU faculty, who took time to advise him on organizing an effective club.
Development Club members take the things they learn in classes, or even the skills they want to learn, and apply them toward creating something. They might be engineering a product for market, or designing a board game to practice skills with friends. It’s a chance to “apply skills we’re learning in classes to real-world situations.”
“I’ve always enjoyed leading people to improve their lives, in addition to myself,” he says. “I’m always trying to help. This is a chance for an entire community of people with similar attitudes and personalities to create things together. You get together with people who enjoy this as much as you do. We’re just having fun with like-minded individuals.”
In recognition of his high academic achievement, Matthew won a Read to Succeed scholarship from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).
Matthew’s goal in honing his skills in interactive media and design is to create products that “accurately tell stories.” He designed the HU Student Government Association website with a fresh, informative feel.
“Whatever the purpose of a website is, it can’t only look good but also has to reflect the purpose and mission of the site,” he says.
Matthew is “absolutely glad” he came to HU. When he took his first programming course and “had no idea” what he was doing, the professor worked with him for an hour after every class, to the point where Matthew started catching on fast. He constantly talks with Charles Palmer, executive director of the Center for Advanced Entertainment & Learning Technologies, and Anthony Ortega, the CAELT production manager, who provide guidance and support.
“I love them to death,” he says. “You have a question, and they’re open to answering.”
Through HU, Matthew also found a job he loves, as a developer for Highmark. On the job, he expects to delve deeply into programming, for more skills to blend with his design degree and make himself more marketable. “My dream,” he says, “is getting things done and helping others along the way.”