"We couldn't be more proud of Isaac Matthews. His ability to excel both academically as a mechanical engineer and athletically as a top performer on UMBC'S track team is an inspiration to us all.”
President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
UMBC Student Receives National Scholar-Athlete Award
May 24, 2007 - Isaac Matthews, a senior mechanical engineering major and a four-year track and field letterman, was recently named the 2007 Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Sports Scholar of the Year. The award is given annually by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine to the U.S. female and male athletes with the strongest records of athletic, academic and community service achievement.
In the magazine's April 5 cover story, Matthews is praised for "his aversion to discussing his achievements in favor of discussing his passion for mentoring those following in his footsteps. As a young African-American student, Matthews says he has struggled to shatter stereotypes that say he canít both be a dominant athlete and at the top of his class."
Matthews, who has a 3.88 grade point average, will graduate in May with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He has chosen to attend the engineering graduate program at M.I.T. He also was accepted to prestigious engineering graduate programs at Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Michigan and Illinois.
"When you realize your goals can become reality, you push harder to obtain them," Matthews said.
During his athletic career at UMBC, Matthews finished seventh in the 2005 America East Indoor Championships 800-meter run, placed eighth in the 2004 America East Outdoor Championships and was named a Toyota Athlete of the Week in 2003.
In addition, Matthews is well-known on campus as a dedicated mentor and tutor to young African-American middle- and high school students and as an accomplished cello player. He serves as treasurer for the UMBC chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. He also has given motivational talks to students participating in the NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research program (SHARP), which aims to stimulate broad career interests in science and engineering among a culturally diverse group of students.