May 082011
 
Authors: Natasha Leadem, College Avenue Magazine

Life after college can be a whirlwind. While it is a time to celebrate earning a degree in higher education, the pressures of starting a career in a highly competitive workforce can be a bit intimidating.

Currently the president of a successful painting company, M & E Painting, CSU alumnus Matt Shoup has come a long way since graduating in 2003.

Earning a dual degree in Spanish and human development and family studies in four years, Shoup had everything he needed to start a career, and quickly found himself working for the Poudre School District teaching Spanish after school.

However, for Shoup it wasn’t his degree that landed him the job.

“It was really about some connections I had gotten while getting my degree,” Shoup said.

Shoup had previously volunteered at an elementary school in Loveland where a teacher referred him to the director of the Spanish program he would later work for.

While Shoup has since redirected his focus to his painting company, he still believes that his degree was a secondary factor in his success.

“When applying for jobs ,everybody else applying is going to have the same degree that you have,” Shoup said. “It’s important to make sure you go out and do something to make yourself stand out, get experience and make connections.”

And for Shoup it has made all the difference. From his earlier jobs to his current business, all aspects of his achievements link back to connections he made while at CSU. In between getting his dual degree and volunteering, Shoup interned for College Works Painting, where he gained experience owning a business and was able to jumpstart his own.

“I’m thankful to all the people that have helped me to be successful and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me,” Shoup said.

Now that Shoup has completed the transition from student to professional he has made it a point to give back to the CSU community, and has become a source for college students himself.

After studying abroad in Spain, Shoup was inspired to create a scholarship that would provide funds to students who were interested in studying abroad. The scholarship grants a student up to $1,250 in financial aid.

“I had a great experience and I’ve always loved to give back,” Shoup said. “I found out how much study abroad has risen in cost over the years and some students can’t have that experience because of the cost. I figured if I could help that would be awesome.”

For Shoup beginning a career did not start the moment he was awarded his degree, but rather began through his experiences in college and the relationships that he was able to build from them.

College Avenue reporter Natasha Leadem can be reached at csumag@lamar.colostate.edu.

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