Tell us your story, to include your family background, journey to college, and the challenges that you have faced and overcome. Be sure to describe how your personal background has prepared you for the rigors of the McNair Scholars Program as well as for doctoral study.
My name is Erin A. Matthews. I was born in Laurel, Maryland on September 6th, 1999 and I currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina with my parents and sisters. In a household where I was the middle child, I always understood the importance of setting a better example for my younger sister and to learn from my older sister. While my older sister graduated from Hampton University in May 2018, she is currently in Irvine, CA pursuing her doctoral degree and my younger sister has currently been enrolled into Hampton University in August 2019; I’ve learned how to practice good habits as well as leading by example. My parents have always taught my sisters and I, to respect, look out, and help each other. Although, both of my parents attended college after graduating high school, the arrival of my older sister gave them a huge decision on who would finish their degree. My father attended the Delaware State University in 1990 and my mother attended the Virginia Union University in 1990. Unfortunately, my mother wasn’t able to receive her degree, however my father did. After being educated on their journey throughout college, I’ve grew a passion for finishing school and receiving a degree in higher education. I am currently a junior at Hampton University and I will be graduating in May 2021. Having a younger sister at Hampton University will be a challenge for me. Making sure my little sister is adapting properly and taking the proper courses that will keep her on track for graduation. With my course load and working everything will definitely keep me extremely busy. Although, we have been in school together, college is a bit different. Being accountable for huge responsibilities can become difficult, however I am ready to take on the challenge. Another challenge that I’ve been faced with was being very shy and timid. Throughout my life, I’ve never understood how important it was to speak up for myself and ask questions until one day I didn’t speak up for myself and it put me in a situation I had to deal with. From there on, I had to learn how to put aside my pride for situations I am unsure about. I’ve also overcome being embarrassed about asking questions during class. For example, my whole life in school I’ve been taught by many different teaching styles and at times when trying to understand a professor’s teaching methods, it becomes challenging for me. As a student, understanding where my professors were speaking from could raise many questions for me, however as I’ve grew up I’ve learned how asking questions help me better understand the material given to me. Due to my parents not attending graduate school after undergrad has driven me to want to pursue a doctoral degree prior to receiving my undergrad degree. I believe that if I was chosen to be a part of the McNair Scholars Program I will be able to expand my family’s background education history and it will be a new legacy for my future children to carry on for generations after.