Date Published: February 28, 2014
“At every turn there’s another opportunity for advisement, another person offering a helping hand, and an administration that works tirelessly to see honors students far exceed the expectations we set for ourselves”
Matthew Kofoed, a 2013 graduate of the Honors College, is currently working towards his M.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina. As an undergraduate, Matthew became involved in activities that paralleled his interests in science and engineering. His leadership as treasurer for the Clemson chapter of Engineers Without Borders led to projects in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
In addition to his volunteer experience, Matthew was involved in several research projects throughout his undergraduate career. As a recipient of a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, Matthew completed a study on neural stem cell engineering during the summer of 2011 at Rice University. His summer research won him the Top Summer Research Award at Rice University’s Undergraduate Research Conference. Additionally, his team came in second in the nation for their design work at the Rice University Beyond Traditional Borders International Design Competition.
As part of a Creative Inquiry research study, Matthew worked under the direction of Dr. Delphine Dean on a study entitled “Engineering Solutions in Developing Counties.” This research led to application during the summer of 2012 in Mwanza, Tanzania. During a six-week period, Matthew worked as part of a small team that measured equipment failure rates at three Tanzanian hospitals. They also collaborated with doctors to develop device-based solutions for the failing equipment. This opportunity was funded in part by an Educational Enrichment Travel Grant from the Honors College as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Upon graduation, Matthew received the prestigious Dr. Allen G. Thurmond Scholarship to attend the Medical University of South Carolina. Matthew continues to serve as a leader in medical school. He is currently serves on the MUSC College of Medicine Curriculum Advisory Board, a position he was selected for by his peers.
Clemson Advice: Relax. Stop competing with everyone all the time. Take a moment to sit back and look around you at this wonderful place that will become your home. Many Honors students find the hardest thing to say is “no.” Don’t fear turning down an opportunity if it doesn’t seem right for you. More will come down the road. And if you ever find yourself in a position that makes you unhappy, whether it’s a relationship, a leadership position, or job you can’t stand, have the strength of character to walk away.
After Clemson Advice: As you move on into life after college, realize that you’re constantly passing through a filter. Whether you go to graduate school or directly into a job, you’re likely to be surrounded by a crowd of increasingly bright and accomplished people. Don’t always expect to be the best, and don’t be disheartened if this proves true. Clemson worked hard to teach you not to begrudge the success of those around you, but to see it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and accomplish more together than you could apart. Always strive for success, but do not allow failure to paralyze you. Your college years were likely the best of your life so far, however this doesn’t mean you’ve plateaued. Look forward to the future, and never forget your past.