Profile: Matthew Labrenz
Matthew started at Evergreen in Fall 2009. He graduated from Stillwater Area High School, Minnesota in 2008 and he attended a very large research university (+40,000 undergraduates) in another state. He transferred to Evergreen as a college sophomore. Matthew graduated from Evergreen in June 2013.
Matthew lived in D Dorm his first year. He now resides in east Olympia with three other students. They met during his first year and share common interests: cooking together (a lot), playing music (a lot), playing cards and studying. “I love to bake bread, play guitar, reading on rainy days and hiking or walking around Olympia.
“Local and organic is the way to go,” with most of Matthew’s food selection. He is committed to acting responsibly for his health and for the planet.
“I read both of the Loren Pope books: Colleges That Change Lives and Looking Beyond the Ivy League,” and discovered Evergreen. It prompted him to attend a Friday at Evergreen event (mini-open house) in February of his freshman year at college. “I sensed that my education at the first university I attended lacked real value in my life. I wanted to take my education into my own hands – which meant exploring academic areas that interested me. It did not mean checking off courses to fulfill major requirements.”
“It’s true! The professors in my programs are my academic advisors. ‘What’s the topic of your paper? What’s the status of your project? How do these fit with your academic goals? What’s next for you?’ I am encouraged to focus on how all these pieces fit together.”
He believes that the interdisciplinary programs foster theory to practice and practice to theory in a constant loop. “I learn about pedagogy and psychology in the classroom and take that knowledge to K-12 classrooms in my tutoring internship. I speak with teachers and principals about curriculum design and how it is affected by state-mandated assessment testing. I bring that knowledge back to the classroom for discussion. My group seminars on how theories are practically applied and the theory to practice loops back out to my internship.”
“I’m pretty close to graduating and I feel as though I’m at an all-time peak with how I feel about myself, my education, how I feel about Evergreen in general. Things are clicking for me. So, now I feel a little sad about leaving. But, I also feel prepared for the future.”