“It’s the kind of job that I always would have dreamed of and always would have hoped that I had,” Matthew Marinec says of his role as confidential assistant to the director of the U.S. office of government ethics.
"The more uncomfortable I am, the more I need to learn more."
An ethical foundation
Matthew’s current life has roots in Missouri State's philosophy department, where the faculty taught him to take an "open-minded approach. Nobody said, ‘This is the way it is. That’s the way it should be. This is right. That is wrong.’ They would lay the tools at our feet and say… ‘It’s up to you to make up your mind.’”
He credits this environment of respect with teaching him to communicate, listen and ask hard questions – of his colleagues and himself.
A global life
Matthew's interest in civic engagement extends beyond his professional life. During a study abroad trip to South Africa, he and a friend encountered an orphanage that was struggling for funds. Together, they established the nonprofit South African Orphan Project, which provides critical resources to the Tshwaraganang Community Development Project.
"There are opportunities everywhere to be of service and to help," Matthew says. "If I'm in a good place and if I'm open minded and I can always be a student, always be learning... then I can find those opportunities to make a difference. And then it's not just rhetoric, it's action."
A future of possibility
Whenever he has the opportunity to visit Springfield, Matthew makes time for a couple of favorites: cashew chicken and catching up with his mentors in the philosophy department.
"How to inquire and dig down for a deeper answer is something I learned here at Missouri State," he says. And as far as this ability has already taken him, he believes there are plenty more adventures in his future.
As a Schedule C political appointee in the Obama administration, Matthew knows that his current position came with a fixed end date. But, he says, "I have the tools. I have the experience and the education. To me, it's very exciting, and I'm looking forward to the next step – whatever it may be."