Name: Corey Matthews
Policy Area of Concentration: Economic Development, Criminal Justice, and Housing
GSPP Graduation Year: 2015
Undergraduate School: University of California, Los Angeles
Personal History: Born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles, I always start with the fact that I was bused to the west side for school. Since I was 10 years old, I woke up everyday at 5am (something that makes me a morning person even until this day), to board the school bus to one of the best magnet middle school and high schools in Los Angeles. I was fortunate, and it was not until I went to college that I learned the impact of institutionalized inequality and opportunity gaps that sparked joblessness, crime, and disparate outcomes in the territorially segregated Los Angeles area. First, I was an organizer and then a researcher in urban education. And after living in New York City and working in the community, I learned that public policy was the route that would help me to look at all of these issues stemming from poverty, both holistically and analytically. Thus, from LA to New York to the Bay Area, I am pursuing the MPP to train for a lifetime of public leadership and service.
What attracted you to GSPP? A product of the University of California system, it went without question that GSPP would provide me with access to the best and brightest faculty, hands-on instruction, and a scholarly journey that was close to the ground. The Goldman School proved to be all of that and more.
How did you prepare for the GSPP application and admissions process? Well, for starters, I took my time. I reflected and thought through why I was committing to a two-year graduate degree. After several free writes of why public policy was my chosen profession, I finally sat down to hash out my personal history and statement of purpose essays.
What did you enjoy most during your time at GSPP? I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the pull that Goldman has – I have met so many people, experienced so many great talks, and used the GSPP brand to land some top notch informational interviews and meetings. The networking has been second to none.
What was your professional background before GSPP and what do you look to do with your degree upon graduation? Professionally, I have worked in nonprofit management in fundraising, evaluation and research. Upon graduation I hope to take those management skills to local government and politics in order to implement and scale new policies and programs.
What is your favorite thing about being a student in the Bay Area? I really enjoyed being on the Berkeley campus because it’s a great place to study: there are few distractions, relevant fun and a diverse scholarly community. Being on the campus with so many bright people and avenues for cross-disciplinary study and collaboration is the true upside to being a Goldman Student.
In your view, what type of person will benefit from a GSPP education? If you are committed to being smart, thoughtful and serious about public leadership, you will gain a lot from GSPP. It’s a rigorous program with high academic expectations, so though you might enjoy “social justice” “equality” “politics” etc, you better be ready to work and learn how to do things beyond impassioned writing and thinking aloud.
What has been your favorite class? My favorite class so far was the Politics course. As a former organizer, I have always loved politics and the political process. This political science-based course with a federal budget simulation component was eye-opening and incredibly engaging. I still remember what it was like to take on the role of Senators and sit around a table to hash out strategies for gaining enough votes to pass a budget that met the interests of my constituents.
What is your best memory from GSPP? It ranges from long study sessions in the living rooms, usually on Sundays, and the fun we had immediately after midterms. My classmates and the GSPP community really made this home for the two years.