Matthew Perry

May 2019

Matthew Perry, a senior from Bagdad, Kentucky, is a dual Criminal Justice and Geography major at EKU.

Matthew was born at Fort Lewis army base in Washington State, where his father was a military officer in the US Army. From birth to 3 years old his family was stationed in Washington State, Korea, and Texas. Then, his family settled in Bagdad, Kentucky, a small town northwest of Frankfort, Kentucky.

He attended Shelby County High School where he was a member of the academic team and served as the team captain in his senior year. He also participated in Junior ROTC, where he sharpened his leadership skills and developed an interest in pursuing a career in the military.

Matthew’s high school academic career is impressive. He was a Kentucky Governor’s scholar, which is a highly competitive five week summer residential program for outstanding rising high school seniors. His participation in this program made him eligible for scholarship opportunities at any Kentucky public university. EKU offers students completing this program $5,000 per semester for up to eight semesters.

When asked why he chose to attend EKU, he said, “I chose EKU for its renowned criminal justice program and because I could continue my involvement in ROTC.” Once on campus, he discovered an interest in EKU’s Geography program and decided to pursue a dual degree in criminal justice and Geography and a minor in military science. Geography qualifies as a STEM major, which will make him more competitive in a military career. It also provides him with first-hand knowledge of mapping, GIS design, and terrain analysis. He will be one of the last EKU students to graduate with a B.A. in Geography, since the degree has been replaced with a B.S. in Geographic Information Science. Matthew has had a very successful academic life at EKU. He received several scholarships including the ROTC Booster Club Scholarship, the College of Justice and Safety Program of Distinction scholarship, and the US Army Scholarship. He has earned the Dean’s list (minimum GPA of 3.5) and President’s award (semester GPA of 4.0 taking at least 12 credit hours) each semester. He was also a Modern Woodman regional scholarship winner.

Matthew has also been busy outside the classroom. During his sophomore year he had the opportunity to travel to Mongolia with ROTC and was able to tour the Gobi desert. When asked about this experience, he responded, “Mongolia was an amazing experience that definitely helped to develop my leadership skills. It also showed me a culture that is vastly different from America’s. Many of the areas I visited would be considered destitute by American standards. But their famalial bonds were stronger than any I had seen before.” He also visited their military base where he had the opportunity to watch as their soldiers trained. “They do not have the funding that the American military forces have and watching them train demonstrated to me that it’s not the equipment that can determine the success of a group, but how they implement what they have with a positive attitude,” he said. “Their work ethic is second to none.” He is also a huge fan of tabletop and community gaming and participates in role playing games when he is not in class or studying.

“Considering everything, I’ve learned how to be a better leader. It’s not about how well I do in a situation. A real leader focuses on the people they’re trying to help and lead. It’s about their success, not mine,” remarked Matthew. He added “EKU also gave me the opportunity to interact with diverse people. I came from a small town and here I was able to meet people different from me.”

Matthew’s father inspired him to be an army officer and his grandfather also served in the military. The support of his family has been a big influence. “The basis of a good leader is the values on which he or she is raised,” he said.

Matthew graduates in May Summa Cum Laude and is set to commission as an officer in the Army shortly thereafter. He will go to the US Army Armor branch at Fort Benning in Georgia. After Fort Benning he hopes to be stationed in Korea.

Published on May 02, 2019