Matt Andrade Cheney Ph.D. ’14

Why I Volunteer

Matt Andrade Cheney

In what roles have you volunteered for Rice?

In July 2015, I became the committee chair for the Society of Latino Alumni of Rice (SOLAR). Since then, I have both organized and volunteered for many events, including: Learning the Art of Business Etiquette and Networking, Managing the Art of Business Etiquette and Networking, Sallyportal Networking Career Roundup, Rice Ring Celebration, several SOLAR-member book readings, and undergraduate mentoring events. In October 2016, I joined Sallyportal and have since had the pleasure of sharing my career path in forensics and advice on pursuing a career in forensics with many students. Additionally, I had the pleasure of hosting an undergraduate student as part of the Owl Edge Externship program. In a continued effort to foster collaboration and strengthen Rice alumni affinity groups, my participation in Rice Alumni of Houston affinity group meetings is ongoing. I also served on the 2018 Volunteer Leadership Conference Planning Committee.

Why do you volunteer for Rice?

As a graduate student, my education extended outside the scope of my field of study. Professors, staff and students, some of whom became great friends and colleagues, provided me the opportunity to grow both professional and personally. In that regard, I consider myself blessed to have had so many great mentors during my time as a Rice graduate student. I contribute a significant portion of my professional and personal success to my time at Rice and the mentorship I received. I strive to provide similar mentorship to current students at Rice in the hope that they succeed, value the mentorship they received and choose to mentor reciprocally.

What is an "unmatched moment" you've experienced as a volunteer that epitomizes the value of the Rice community?

After a student reached out to me through Sallyportal, we met for coffee at Brochstein Pavilion. We chatted for more than an hour, and I extended my professional knowledge and experience in forensics. A few months later, she let me know that she had become an intern at a local forensic lab and expressed her appreciation for meeting with her. As I congratulated her, I smiled in knowing that I helped in her achievement, as others have helped in many of mine.

What's a fun Rice fact about you?

I bartended at Valhalla for approximately three years. I met so many great individuals, socialized with the diverse gamut of Rice students, staff, faculty and visitors, as well as celebrated in the tradition of having my tie cut off following the defense of my dissertation. My tie remains on display at Valhalla to this day, along with so many others. Viva Valhalla!

What would you say to your fellow alumni/parents/friends to encourage them to volunteer for Rice?

In my years of volunteering for Rice, I have witnessed countless examples of generosity from Rice faculty, staff, students, alumni and volunteers. Witnessing this generosity is a humbling experience, an experience that promotes networking, friendship and mentorship. I can attest to all three. Come out, get to know us, including the amazing alumni office staff and other supporting offices, and find your number — one, two or three.