February 14, 2022

Current freshman Destiny Payne decided to pursue a degree at Shawnee State University after earning a spot in the Matt Matthews Scholars Early Arrival Program. As part of the program, she received a scholarship for her tuition and had the chance to move into campus housing early before her first semester.

Destiny Payne

“I chose Shawnee State because of the small campus size, the friendly environment, and the programs it offered,” said Payne.

Payne has taken full advantage of the benefits of being a Matt Matthews Scholar. The program allows incoming freshman to familiarize themselves with campus before their first semester classes begin through workshops, community service, career skill building, and more held during the week before classes.

“My favorite thing about being in the program was getting to move in a week early,” she said. “I got to settle in and everyone in the program got to see a tour of campus. There also were workshops available to help prepare us for college.”

Payne is currently enrolled in the Occupational Therapy 3+2 program, and encourages other students to look for opportunities like the Matt Matthews Scholars program on SSU’s campus.

“My advice to anyone eligible for this opportunity is to apply,” she said. “Even if you’re afraid that you won’t receive the scholarship, do it. This has been a great experience for me so far.”

The Matt Matthews Scholars Early Arrival Program was made possible through a SSU Development Foundation grant in the Autumn 2021 semester. Pairing this program with the ongoing Matt Matthews Scholarship opportunities, the program worked to expand an incoming student’s knowledge of campus and help them become comfortable transitioning into a higher education environment. The program is named in honor of Eustace P. "Matt" Matthews, Jr. who worked as the Director of Student Support Services and the Coordinator of Multicultural Student Affairs at SSU before his retirement in 2012. While at the university, he was instrumental in starting the AHANA student organization that still continues to program on campus today. The scholarship was established to honor his service to the university.