As a child growing up in Fall River, Mass., Matthew Machado ’19 would help his mother and aunt care for his grandmother after she suffered a stroke. What seemed like playtime for a young Matt was the foundation for a career in nursing.
“I would help my grandmother eat and play games with her. At the time, I thought I was just playing, but now I know I that was practicing activities for daily living with her,” Matt said.
The time Matt spent with his grandmother led him to realize that he could make a difference in people’s lives as a nurse. “When her condition declined, I felt good knowing that I was there to make her last moments better,” he said. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be a nurse, so I can improve a patient’s quality of life, help them recover, or make their last days meaningful.”
Choosing UMassD's College of Nursing
He had goals to attend college, but, as a first-generation student, Matt and his family had no idea how they would pay for tuition. Matt decided to keep costs down by staying local and commuting. He chose UMass Dartmouth for the College of Nursing’s reputation for training some of the best nurses in the state and its value without compromising educational quality. He could keep his job as a Certified Nursing Assistant at St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, and still be here for his family.
“I didn’t want college to be a financial burden on my family, so I worked extra hours at the hospital to save money and to gain more clinical experience that would help me in my nursing classes, and studied hard so I could be eligible for scholarships,” Matt said.
Scholarships make education possible
Matt’s academic performance earned him the Lepreau, Pierce and Welch Scholarship for nursing students and the Earle P. Charlton Merit Scholarship. This relieved his family of some of the anxiety over paying for tuition, books and fees.
“No words can express how thankful I am for these scholarships,” he said. “Knowing that someone is willing to lend a hand on this expensive journey makes it easier for me and my parents.”
Commuting saves Matt money, but it means that transportation is a priority. When he needed a new car right before the fall semester last year, Matt panicked. All of the money he saved working over 40 hours each week to help his parents pay for tuition and books was unexpectedly redirected. That same day, he learned he was the recipient of the Earle P. Charlton Merit Scholarship.
“I was stressing out about spending everything I had saved on the car, but when I found out I earned the scholarship, it was a huge weight off my shoulders,” he said. “I didn’t have to worry so much about how I would pay for the semester.”
With the scholarship support, Matt is able to devote his time to his nursing education without worrying about how to pay for it. He has been named to the Chancellor’s List five times and his favorite clinical rotation so far has been pediatric psychiatry. “The ability to develop therapeutic relationships with patients appealed to me. You have an opportunity to be an advocate for them and truly make a difference.”
No matter which nursing specialty he chooses, Matt will bring with him the culturally competent training he received from the College of Nursing and an appreciation for what brought him there. “I’m so grateful for these scholarships because I’m able to study at UMassD, in my own community. I understand where my patients come from, understand their needs and help remove barriers to care. Connecting with people is something I love about nursing.”