Matt Phillips '14

May 2, 2014

Hometown: Rensselaer, Ind.

High School: Rensselaer Central High School

Major: Biology

Minor: Sustainability Studies

Job After Graduation:  I will be working for The Urban Canopy - an urban farming company in Chicago. The goal of the company is to help create a sustainable food system for the enormous population of a city like Chicago--where fresh, local food is a rare find. 


I have been a member of the Green Pumas. Running took up most of my extracurricular time, but I enjoyed making that dedication.

Why did you choose SJC? 

I chose SJC out of a time of total indirection in my life. What appealed to me, though, was the opportunity to be a part of the cross country and track team, and the affordability. 

Did you receive financial aid?

I received the Dean’s academic scholarship and an annual scholarship for running cross country and track. Without these, SJC simply could not have been affordable for my family and me. 

What was your experience like at SJC? 

As a whole, my experiences at SJC have really shaped who I am as a person. From close interactions with professors, to becoming close with teammates, SJC has really become a part of me – for better or for worse.

How were the faculty members in your department helpful? 

Spending my senior year intensely focused on the sustainability program is what I owe most to getting the career I wanted in the sustainability field. Things that were helpful were being a part of the SJC Student Farm, the composting program, the Green Pumas, and the actual curriculum of the Sustainability Studies minor. Without all of this at SJC, I would not have even known such a career existed, let alone how to pursue it. 

How do you feel about the Core Program?

With the Core Program, you get what you put in. I learned the most and had the best experiences with Core classes when I challenged myself and put a lot of time into the subjects. 

Tell us about your internship.

In summer 2013, I interned with the SJC Student Farm. In addition to learning about general farming and growing techniques, I was able to interact and learn from other student interns, Dr. Lana Zimmer, and the people of Rensselaer while selling our produce at the local farmer’s market. Thanks in part to my experience at the SJC Student Farm, I was able to get a career in the field of sustainability.

What advice would you give to a prospective student looking to major in what you did at SJC?

My advice is that being a scientist is definitely not for everyone, no matter how intelligent someone may or may not be. Find whatever it is you are comfortable with spending your life doing, and just try to make it a part of your life while you’re at SJC.

Try to learn something new every day! A person should leave college about 4 years smarter and  more mature than when they got there.

Explore the Core
  • Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Like Elementary Education major Brittany Cooper ’12, you start your major as soon as you walk in the door, so you will have four years of knowledge and experience in your field.You can even change your mind about your major and still graduate on time with lots of experience.

    Core and the major work in harmony to develop the cognitive skills requisite for success in a competitive, global society. Students better understand the forces that shape the future by exploring the past. They discuss contemporary events; analyze the impact of science on our understanding of humanity and the universe; and investigate diverse cultures and world civilizations. 

  • Mentorship

    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors, such as Communication Professors Fred and Sally Berger, do more for you—they serve as mentors. Studies show that having a mentor leads to success in your field. Alumni often tell us how their professors not only played a major role in their success, but also became lifelong friends.  If you are undecided about what to major in, we help you decide.

  • High Quality Academics

    In the Core Program, you will be inspired to debate, analyze, and solve problems. Discussion of culture and society, the modern world, and Christian Humanism are just a few highlights of the Program. New perspectives will be gained, your worldview will expand, and you will graduate from SJC as a well rounded, highly marketable person.

  • Leadership

    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life. LaMichelle Sanders ’14, for example, has spent two summers helping Chinese study abroad students adapt to life in the U.S. and at SJC. If you want to start a club or activity that doesn’t exist, we encourage you to start one. At SJC, prepare yourself for what you want to do in life.

  • Real-life Skills

    Because of the skills you develop by having the Core Program interact with your major for four years in addition to internships, job shadowing, and service learning, you get hands-on experience in preparation for your career or graduate school. Students Hanna Kane ’14, Emily Baird ’15, and Alyssa Guarnaccia ’14 collect food in the SJC hoophouse to be distributed on campus. You will also get four years of analytical, writing, and speaking skills that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

  • Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Get a jump start on your career and have your resume ready to go at graduation.  

  • Mentorship

    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors do more for you—they serve as mentors.

  • High Quality Academics

    The Core Program is all about you and your role in the world.


  • Leadership

    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life.

  • Real-life Skills

    Get real-life experience and become an excellent communicator.