Matthew Meurer , ’13
Human services major
Recipient, Daniels Opportunity Scholarship
By 2009, Matthew Meurer had spent his 20s in unfulfilling sales jobs and was drinking heavily. He awoke on May 6 of that year with a pounding hangover; in spite of feeling destitute and hopeless, Meurer decided to change his life.
He quit drinking and began to systematically rid himself of the negative influences that surrounded him. Buoyed by the changes he was making in his own life, he wanted to help others transform theirs. He enrolled at MSU Denver, seeking a bachelor of science in human services with a focus in addiction studies.
In his mid-thirties, the prospect of returning to school was daunting, as it is for many nontraditional students. Also, Meurer needed to work part-time to afford classes and books. Despite these challenges, he discovered that setting and meeting goals suited him. Indeed, the process of pursuing a degree supported the positive changes he was making in his life, and he became a peer advocate for the Metro Scholars program, a support initiative for MSU Denver scholarship students.
In fall 2011, Meurer was awarded the Daniels Opportunity Scholarship, which benefits students who have demonstrated a willingness to contribute to their community. The Daniels Opportunity Scholarship requires recipients to participate in ongoing community service and to be involved in campus clubs and events. The program aligns with MSU Denver’s mission to help nontraditional students improve their lives through education.
The financial support provided by the scholarship allowed him to quit his job at Starbucks. He used the extra time to study and to explore more internship opportunities.
Meurer describes the convergence of events in his life at that point as, “A perfect storm. A miracle. A Copernican turn. The Metro Scholars program and Daniels Opportunity Scholarship changed everything for me,” he says. “I have put my strong social conscience to work in organizations such as Urban Peak, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and the Gay Lesbian Community Center. I am engaged in the lives of other students and with the MSU Denver community. It’s helped me realize how much I am able to influence other people. There’s a powerful chain effect that happens with scholarships.”
In 2013, Meurer will graduate with a degree in human services with a concentration in addiction studies and a minor in African and African American studies. He is currently applying to a master of social work program at Smith College in Massachusetts and plans to return to Colorado after graduate school.
In describing the future he envisions for himself, Meurer says, “I want to help the people who feel helpless. I was given the opportunity to change my life and now I want to change the lives of others. I look forward to being in a position one day to contribute to a scholarship for someone else.”