Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Matthew Starr
UR Major: History
UR Minor: Judaic Studies
Current City, State of Residence: Boston, MA
Job Title: Project Coordinator
Employer: Boston Showcase Company
How did you choose your major(s)?
I was completely unsure of what I wanted to study when I first got to UR. After an experiment-gone-bad with Calculus and Econ as a freshman, I quickly realized that I got the most out of the classes I was most interested in and passionate about. And to be as cliché as possible, the rest is history.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
I was on the football team as a freshman and the track and field team as a freshman and sophomore, but after a back injury derailed my athletic career, I became involved with the Campus Times, mostly writing sports. Senior year, I had the privilege of having my own weekly column: “A View from a Starr” and I couldn’t have been happier about the way I transitioned from playing sports to writing about them. I was also a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon while at the University and learned an innumerable amount of lessons in leadership, loyalty and camaraderie.
What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?
After being in school my entire life, it was great to move onto the working world. Now that I’ve had some time to work in a variety of jobs and gain some valuable experience, I am getting excited to return to graduate (business) school and further develop skills that I know will directly benefit my career. Sometimes people go to graduate school because it is just a logical step out of college, but I think it makes a lot more sense to go try something new, see where it takes you and then go back to school because you want to, not because you think you should.
What early career advice can you give to current UR students studying history?
People are typically skeptical of how a history degree prepares one for a job in the “real world”, but what I realized is that students who find jobs directly related to their major are the exception, not the norm. Studying history not only made me more knowledgeable about the world we live in, but taught me the critical thinking and life skills that prepared me to “just figure it out” at some of my first jobs.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?
After a two year stint in the television production industry in LA, I returned home to work for my family business in Boston. Our company – Boston Showcase – designs, builds and supplies a wide-range of customers in the commercial foodservice industry. It is great working with my family and continuing the legacy started by my great grandfather 100 years ago. Over the next five years, I look forward to continuing the modernization of the company and regularly finding and pursuing new avenues of business opportunity.