Matthew Craw '19, BS Computer Science
Hometown: Colonie, N.Y.
I have a poster on my wall that says, “My goal is to build a life I don't need a vacation from.” Clarkson is opening all the doors along the way to that vision. I just finished my freshman year, but I already have enough credits to be a junior, because I had AP credits and had taken courses for college credit before I got here. I plan to graduate a year early and to use that time to pursue an MBA. I want to get started on my career as soon as possible!
Clarkson was the only college I considered seriously, and it was the only one I applied to. The people, curriculum and incredible network of alumni all played a role in my decision. I know my education at Clarkson will take me where I want to go. I want to run a company. I want to grow a company. I want to start more companies — that's want I want to do.
I am majoring in computer science; I'm part of the Honors Program; and I have two minors — economics and mathematics. I believe that studying computer science will make me highly versatile, because all fields need computer programmers. My uncle works pretty high up in computer science, and he gets to travel a lot. I'd like a job like that, with an entrepreneurial and social emphasis.
Another reason I chose to attend Clarkson was because of the wonderful opportunity to work with the Shipley Center for Innovation and the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship. The grandfather of one of my friends had spinal surgery and could not walk well, so three friends and I decided to develop something to help him get up the stairs. We invented a stair-gripping cane we named Stair Safe, and we worked with the Shipley Center to patent it. Using our product, my friend's grandfather was able to climb the stairs for the first time in a year!
This has been a really great experience. Thanks to the Shipley Center, we have a company that we're actively working on. We have lawyers and hope to launch our product next year. We reached the finals of the New York Business Plan Competition with our invention. The networking experience was invaluable, and we even met an investor who may help us. It's exciting to be able to launch this venture right from Clarkson!
During my first year on campus, I was able to find time for extracurricular activities too. I'm involved in the men's soccer team and several clubs, including the Clarkson Innovation Network and the Clarkson Strategic Investment Group.
I've always believed that college should prepare students for life beyond their careers, because all aspects of life contribute to a healthy and well-rounded individual. For example, I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic on a trip sponsored by the Clarkson University Honors Program. It was awesome! We were really able to make a difference. We took GPS coordinates around the community and painted a mural to help tourists find their way. We also assembled four working computers for the local school. When we arrived, they had no computers. Now, the kids there can learn online and share information with the world.
I love traveling and had already been to Brazil, playing in an international soccer tournament, but I had not visited the Caribbean. This trip reinforced my desire to have a career in which I can travel and meet people.
Another example of the real-world learning that typifies the Clarkson experience is my summer internship with a company that develops mobile apps. Apps, especially weird ones, have always fascinated me. This company takes existing code and builds in their own twists. I learned a lot.