Matt Traynor, BAS

When you first meet Matt Traynor you find him engaged, eager to learn, and wise beyond his years.

You’d also be surprised to learn about the path his life has taken. But, as we know far too well, sometimes life takes us places we don’t expect. If something terrible happens at your hands, you would ideally take responsibility for your actions and learn from the past. And that is exactly what Matt Traynor, a 2011 Bachelor of Applied Studies graduate, is doing.

At Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, IA, Matt was active in sports and participated in school activities. He continued on at Kirkwood Community College completing his associate degree in 2001 then enrolling in the Social Work program at The University of Iowa.

In 2003, however, he made a mistake that changed his life, and the lives of many others, and it resulted in a seven-year prison term.

Fortunately, Matt’s story didn't end there. Because he was incarcerated, he could not continue with his Social Work course work. Through the help of his parents and his advisor in Continuing Education, Dian Gottlob, Matt transferred to the online Bachelor of Applied Studies (BAS) program and completed courses by guided independent study. After his release in 2010 he was able to take online courses making use of ICON and Elluminate Live.

While completing his degree, Matt worked full-time as a Registration Specialist in the Emergency Room of St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids saying, “It’s possible to work and complete a degree when your priorities are straight. The help I received from Dian kept me on track.”

As a part of the BAS program, Matt completed the Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management and his summer internship at Frank Magid Associates, a marketing research firm, confirmed that marketing is what he wants to pursue. Joe George, an instructor in the UI Entrepreneurial Management program says, “Matt was clearly one of the most engaged and conscientious students I’ve ever taught. I’m sure he will be a success in life and be a role model for many.” Matt plans to continue his education with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). And he’ll continue to tell his story, hoping others may learn from his mistake.