Grad Profile: Ann Marie “Poka” Matagi

Through her time with Kappa Delta Chi, the Multicultural Center, and the Alternative Break program, Ann Marie (nicknamed Poka) has been a fixture on campus since coming to WOU. We chatted with Matagi about her biggest campus inspirations, her experiences traveling to Honduras and Costa Rica, and much more. Matagi, a first-generation student from Medford, is earning a bachelor’s in Social Science (with a focus on Criminal Justice) and a minor in Sociology. Thanks again Poka and good luck!

Why did you choose WOU?
I chose WOU, because of how small the campus was, and I would be able to get to know my professors better. I really enjoyed the campus tour and being able to be in a classroom that didn’t have a high number of students. Also, I loved how much diversity the campus has as well. But honestly, when I stepped foot on campus for my tour, it literally just felt like home. It’s a feeling that I cannot explain. My gut feeling was saying that this was home, so I went along with it, and I’m proud to say that this is home and I couldn’t have chosen a better place to call home.

Outside of the classroom, what have you been involved in?
I have been a part of the Multicultural Representatives (MCR), a participant within the Student Enrichment Program, involved with Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc., Fraternity Sorority Council, Upward Bound Program, Alternative Break Leader, Student worker at the Student Engagement Office and Multicultural Student Services and Programs. Each of these extracurricular’s, have made nothing but a positive impact onto my life. Each of them have helped shape me into the strong leader that I am today, and for that I couldn’t be anymore grateful for all the opportunities and doors that have opened and came towards my way.

Has there been a class or professor that has been particularly inspiring to you?
Yes. My professor Dr. Dean Braa has been nothing but inspiring to me. When I first took his class my freshman year, it was interesting. But, as the days and terms went by, I continued to take more classes with him and ended up loving every single one of them. He is honest and says it like it is. He understands his students and definitely gives his students a reality check when needed. He has also been a part of my journey in college and has believed in me every step of the way, and has told me multiple times that I would make it, and I am definitely making it.

What will you miss most about college?
I will miss being busy every single day and always having something to do. Also, I will miss the social life and being able to see individuals every day and socialize with them. But, I would definitely miss being involved in extracurricular activities on campus, because they definitely made my undergrad experience memorable.

What advice do you have for current and future Wolves?
My advice to current and future Wolves is to never be afraid to challenge yourself. You will lose yourself, but you will also create a better version of yourself. The decisions you make will either make you or break you, and that is okay. Remember to get involved, make new friendships, create endless memories, keep up with your academics, and to find yourself. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is graduation. Continue to have self-motivation and to stay organized. You can do anything you set your mind to, and continue chasing after your dreams and goals.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus has got to be the Werner University Center on the red chairs, because they are super comfortable. Also the Student Enrichment Program office is another favorite place of mines.

How would you describe your experiences with Alternative Break?
There are no words to even begin to describe my experiences with Alternative Break. I have been on a total of four Alternative break trips. I went to Reno, Nevada; Sacramento, California; Villa Soledad, Honduras; and San Jose, Costa Rica. Each and every one of these have made a big difference in my life and definitely has changed my outlook on life.

Honduras and Costa Rica both left an imprint in my heart that I cannot even begin to explain. The children in both countries were nothing but full of love and laughter even with the smallest things that they had and living in poverty. I honestly couldn’t be more honored, thankful and blessed to be a part of the Alternative break trips, because it has definitely helped shape me into the person I am today and has changed my outlook on life in positive ways. A special shout out to the Service Learning and Career Development office for this amazing program.