Senior Spotlight: Matthew Brush ’17

Welcome to our 2017 Senior Spotlight Series!
We asked the campus to submit names of outstanding UConn seniors, and we’ll be featuring one student each Friday.

Name: Matthew Brush
Hometown: Wilton, CT
Major: Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Human Rights
Campus Affiliations: Women’s Center (VAWPP), Rainbow Center (FAMILEE), Health Education (Sexpert), ResLife (Student Ambassador)

Matthew Brush '16 by the Husky statue.

  1. Why did you become a Husky? I am lucky enough to be a third generation Husky; both my parents and two of four sets of grandparents went to or worked at UConn. When it came time for me to decide where I wanted to go to school, UConn was always suggested as somewhere near and dear to my family’s heart, and I fell in love with the campus the first time I visited. The rest is history.
  2. What is one little known fact about you? For a long time I thought I wanted to go to medical school, but once I got to college I realized there was other ways to help people that didn’t include the crushing pressure of pursuing medicine. I found community outreach and education and fell in love because I felt like I was truly making a difference in the lives of others on the ground. There’s still a chance I’ll be the third Doctor Brush in my family, just one with a PhD, not an MD.
  3. What is your favorite UConn memory? I have many favorite memories at UConn, but one that stands out in my mind was move-in weekend my freshman year. It was a very emotional step for me that felt uncertain and scary; I remember my dad helping me move in and reassuring me that these four years would be some of the fastest and most enjoyable of my life. He was so right, and I truly can’t believe how fast the time passed since then.
  4. What is your favorite place on campus? My favorite place on campus has to be the Torrey Life Sciences greenhouse. I don’t think people know about it so it’s always quiet and a great place to read or just catch your breath between classes. Horsebarn Hill is a close second, and my go-to when the greenhouse is closed.
  5. Where have you been involved in at UConn? I worked as student staff at the Rainbow Center as well as at the Women’s Center as a VAWPP facilitator and a member of the Men’s Project. I have also worked and volunteered at the Health Education Office as a Sexpert. I am also a ResLife Student Ambassador. Most of my efforts on campus have been centered around issues of gender and sexuality through a social justice framework. I have a strong passion for community education and outreach and enjoy sharing my personal experiences to build empathy with others.
  6. What will you miss most about UConn? I am really going to miss the sense of community UConn gave me. I really found my niche in the Cultural Centers, WGSS classes, and in the Gender Inclusive Housing. I’m going to miss all the awesome people and professors who cultivated that community for more than anything!
  7. What was your biggest accomplishment at UConn? Apart from graduating, my biggest honor during my time at UConn was being the recipient of the Kristie Ann Wood Award from the WGSS program. Kristie was the first WGSS major at UConn, so I feel really special to have been awarded that scholarship in her name and feel even more driven in my work because of it.
  8. What advice do you have for underclassmen? College is all about figuring out who you are and what you like, so the best thing you can do is get out there and get involved. Even if you don’t plan to commit to certain activities long term, my biggest regret is not trying more things. See what’s out there and try everything!
  9. What are your post graduation plans? Saving the world is the ultimate goal, but after graduation I’ll likely be taking some time off school to work and figure out a more long term plan. I hope to return to further my education and be the third Doctor Brush in my family, someday. I plan to also continue my work as a peer educator for as long as people will continue to listen to me.
  10. Anything else…? My time at UConn has taught me so much about what it means to live an authentic life and how to be a better member of the community. While I have acquired a great deal of intellectual knowledge here, my most valuable lessons from UConn have been those revolving around community, understanding, diversity, and love. And for those things I am proud to be a lifelong Husky!


Congratulations on your upcoming graduation, Matt!