Road to Commencement: Matt Wickel

A male stands on a street in front of the U.S. Capitol

Penn State Brandywine senior Matt Wickel served as both president and vice president of the Student Government Association.

Credit: Matt Wickel

Name: Matt Wickel

Major: Communication Arts and Sciences

Minors: Business and Global Studies

Graduation Date: May 7, 2022

Matt Wickel, who will receive his bachelor of arts degree in communication arts and sciences at Penn State Brandywine’s spring commencement ceremony on May 7, reflects on his time as a student at Brandywine.

Wickel: "I chose Penn State Brandywine because I wanted to get a good education close to my home, so I could stay with my family and save money.

"At first I wasn't very involved, but I started getting more involved as time went on. I joined the Student Government Association (SGA) as the public relations chair, and then I started the History Club. Then I ran for SGA president and won a very close election for that. I was also involved in sustainability during my time as SGA president. Then after that, I ran for SGA vice president.

"What surprised me about my college experience is I didn't really expect to open up the way I did because I was really introverted at first and there are still parts of that in me, but I didn't expect to become as extroverted as I have. I didn't expect to be this active.

"Becoming president of student government was probably one of my proudest moments. It was very exciting.

"Comparing myself when I got to Brandywine to now is like two different people. I can't even really compare because it's just so vastly different."

—Matt Wickel , Penn State Brandywine senior

"When we were planning Brandywine’s first-ever prom, I was trying to get it marketed as the event of the century and I think it was. It was probably the best event I ever saw at Brandywine and it's kind of surreal to think that I had such a big role in that. It was mostly Nicole (Jimenez, SGA president) though. She did so much of the work. And we raised a lot of money for THON, which was a really great thing.

"Just seeing everything come together after all the months of planning was really an amazing experience and it was also a way to give back to students who didn't have a prom because of COVID and for myself I was homeschooled, so I never had a prom.

"I would tell incoming students to be as active as they could. To refine their interests and then pick one thing to be super active in, to make sure they get some idea of what they want to do. Focus on just making sure they follow their interests and their passions and everything through their research.

"Right now, I'm really not too sure about my plans after graduation. Still kind of an open book for me. I'm really looking at options though. I'm glad I've got kind of a general degree so I can go in a lot of directions if I want, but for now I just want to work and save some money while I do the job search.

"Comparing myself when I got to Brandywine to now is like two different people. I can't even really compare because it's just so vastly different. I couldn't do any public speaking before student government and that helped me so much. Student government helped me a lot with socializing. It really helped me come out of my shell and just develop as a person. And I'm just grateful for the experience.

"I'm going to really miss all of it, to be honest. I'm going to miss hanging out with all my friends here. Learning as much as I am professionally, being in classrooms, talking to professors, all that. I'm going to miss being in student government, too. Have to say it was just really awesome. A lot of opportunities with that. I'm going to miss it, but I'm glad to be moving on. I'm glad to just to get out in the world and try myself out and see how I do."