Hunter Mattern ‘19

Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: Wellsville, Ohio

Minor Biology

Member of Alpha Xi Delta, Alpha Lambda Delta, Student Alumni Association and Fraternity Student Conduct board and a student researcher in the neuroscience lab

Choosing Mount Union
I came to Mount Union to participate in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference. I fell in love with the atmosphere here on campus. I told my mom I found my college, and she laughed because I had not yet toured any other colleges. I had the opportunity to return the next summer for Buckeye Girls State and in the fall for a tour. I knew each and every time I came to campus this was where I belonged and this was my second home.

Campus Community
I chose Mount Union because every time I was on campus whether it was HOBY, Buckeye Girls State or even a tour, it instantly felt like home. The environment and atmosphere here is unlike any other; it is extremely welcoming. I love the small community here, which makes it easy to meet new people and to always see good friends. Everyone is like a family. Anywhere you walk on campus you are greeted by a smile, a hello or a nice conversation. I love how everyone here is like a family. Any where you walk on campus you are always passing a friendly smile and a happy face. Everyone is very genuine and real. From the friends you make to the professors, everyone truly cares about you and wants to watch you succeed. The friends I have made here have helped shaped me into the person I am today and I am grateful for that.

A Second Home
I love how Mount is not going to be a part of my life for four years but for the rest of my life. The friends I have made will be life long friends who I know will always be there. I made sisters who will always encourage me to reach my potential and higher. I have also had great professors who I will keep in touch with and be excited to share all of my career and research goals and accomplishments. Mount Union will always have a special place in my heart, it will always be my second home and I will always be a Purple Raider.

Greek Life
Joining a sorority has really helped. Before coming to Mount I never considered going Greek. I knew very little about Greek life and never saw myself being apart of it. I went out on a limb and decided to go through recruitment my freshman year. I fell in love with Alpha Xi Delta and all of my sisters. Having 100 sisters who were there to support, encourage and just be there for me was something that helped me get through my first semester here. It was so nice to see familiar faces in my classes, clubs and just around campus. On top of that, we support a wonderful philanthropy, Autism Speaks, and it has helped me to confirm that I want to work with and help those with autism.

Advice for Future Students
I would tell students to be open to trying new things and to not be afraid to fail. College will be the greatest years of your life it you will let it. You will meet so many new people and be able to try some many new things all in a short amount of time. All you have to do is reach out and try it. There will be times you will try something new and fall flat on your face, but there will also be times when it ends amazingly. So do your best and broaden your horizons.

Majoring in Neuroscience
I chose neuroscience because I have always been interested in psychology and it sounded cool. I thought I would switch my majors a few times before finding the one for me, but luckily my freshman year I had intro into psych with Dr. Knepp, who is the neuroscience advisor. He made the class and material interesting and exciting. I fell in love with everything about neuroscience and I knew I chose the right major. I want to work with individuals with autism and having knowledge in neuroscience will help me greatly.

Learning in the Classroom
My favorite class hands-down has been neuroscience. It reaffirmed that I chose the right major for me. I looked forward to going to that class anytime I could. The class was very interactive and had many demos that made the material come to life and for students to see what they were learning in class to be set in motion. I loved learning more about the brain and how it works and functions. One day in class, students had the opportunity to hold a brain, and that really affected me. The person’s every thought was right there in my hands. It made me excited to continue on the neuroscience field and gave me a new appreciation of what I was going to do with my career.

Hands-On Experience
For the past three semesters I have had the opportunity to work as a student researcher in the neuroscience lab. It has given me great experience and has helped me to realize the passion I have for research and the entire process of it: from running participants, to analyzing the data to finding out what the results mean and how to apply those to the world. It is something I love to do, and I am thrilled that I have had the opportunity to be a part of it and get to continue with it.

Faculty Attention
My favorite professor is definitely Dr. Knepp. I chose neuroscience for my major as a whim, and I had intro into psych with him my first semester here. I instantly fell in love with not only the course but his teaching style. I never had a teacher in my life who was so passionate and excited about the material they were teaching, and that energy flows through the class. Dr. Knepp has given me endless opportunities and has believed in me since I was in his class as a freshman, and he has truly made my Mount Union experience a great one.

Exploring Other Interests
This past summer I was asked to attend Entrepreneurship Immersion Week, which was something completely outside of my major. I reluctantly agreed. It ended up being a really great experience. My team and I not only took second place and came up with a great idea, but I learned many new skills and abilities that will help me with my career. The experience taught me that there is always more to learn and just because it is outside of my major and comfort zone does not mean that I should not participate and expand my horizons. I would not have had this opportunity to grow as an individual if I had not had be able to step out of my major.

Combining Liberal Arts and Professional Preparation
This combination lets students focus on classes in their major and get hands-on experience with that, but it also forces students to step out of their comfort zone and to grow as students. It helps the students to be prepared for the steps right after college by preparing them for not only their specific major but other skills as well.

Integrative Core
I feel that the Integrative Core has helped me to expand my skills and abilities from just the sciences and psychology field. It has helped me to learn how to research, write and present in a variety of formats and styles. I am now a more well-rounded person because of the classes I had to take through the Integrative Core. Through those classes I have also had the opportunity to meet some of my favorite professors. These professors have helped, encouraged, and pushed me into opportunities that I would have not had the chance to be a part of otherwise.

Career Goals
After graduation I want to go to graduate school to get a doctorate in neuroscience. I want to research specifically in the field of autism. I would love to find new therapies, coping mechanisms, and treatments to help make the lives of those individuals with autism easier. My senior year I am looking to intern with the Cleveland Clinic in their autism research facility. With this internship I feel I will be well prepared for grad school and my future career. 

I love how Mount is not going to be a part of my life for four years but for the rest of my life. The friends I have made will be life long friends who I know will always be there.

Fun Facts

Where is your favorite travel destination?
New York City! I love shopping, seeing shows on Broadway and just exploring all the city has to offer!
What is your favorite holiday, and why?
My favorite holiday would definitely be Christmas. I love everything about it! The movies, the music, spending time with my family and all the wonderful memories from past Christmases.
What is your favorite quote or motto?
When you have something that makes you feel alive you need to pursue it with reckless abandon, and don’t let anyone stop you from being you. – Mark Fischbach
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show/song?
Rick and Morty! It is my absolute favorite and I binge watch it all the time!
What did you want to be when you grew up as a kid?
Storm Chaser. I have always found tornados super compelling and interesting and I would love to see one or a few in person.
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