Alexia Matos-Mateo

Alexia Matos-Mateo

Find Your Motivation

Alexia Matos-Mateo advises first-year students to examine what motivates them to make the journey through higher education. Such examination, she believes, will contribute to their success.

For Matos-Mateo, the motivation was simple. Her mother, who was born in the Dominican Republic with a mental disability and cannot read or write, has worked a series of factory jobs in their Bronx neighborhood to support Matos-Mateo and her brother.

“Seeing my mother break her back day in and day out opened my eyes and fueled the hunger that I have now. I vowed to pursue higher education despite all the roadblocks,” said Matos-Mateo, a criminal justice major with a 3.7 grade point average and membership in three honor societies.

“Buffalo State has been the best choice I ever made. The people I’ve met and the lessons I’ve learned are unforgettable. I always think of this school as the place that gave me a second chance.”

From Follower to Leader

Since coming to Buffalo State, she’s taken on a number of campus leadership roles and was recently selected as a finalist for both the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and the President’s Medal for Outstanding Student.

Matos-Mateo overcame enormous odds to reach these pinnacles.

She made the transition from a “clueless freshman” to a poised and confident young woman who serves as a cadet in the Golden Griffin Battalion of ROTC and has been assigned as a second lieutenant handling military intelligence for the U.S. Army after she graduates.

Matos-Mateo cites a handful of Buffalo State mentors with helping her to find herself and overcoming the insecurities that plagued her when she arrived.

Such mentoring and a desire to get involved resulted in her becoming an Orientation Leader, an assistant with the Educational Opportunity Program, and a resident assistant overseeing a floor full of first-year students.

“I always tell people that Buffalo State is like my Harvard. I wouldn’t change a thing. My Buffalo State experience has taught me to be a leader, and I am always inspired when I am here.”

Finding a Brighter Future

Not only has she become engaged with the campus, Matos-Mateo also participated in two Buffalo State service learning trips. She taught English as a second language to children in Chile and helped residents in the impoverished city of Borgne, Haiti, with health concerns.

After she graduates, Matos-Mateo will serve her eight contracted years with the Army, funneling what she learned in her criminal justice classes into intelligence work. Later, she said, she may pursue a career as an attorney or FBI agent. She also envisions opening a community center geared toward teens who suffer from alcoholism and/or mental illness in her childhood neighborhood. She wants to show other young people that they, too, can find a brighter future.

“It’s hard growing up in an urban community,” she said. “But I also believe everyone has a personal choice. You must be strong enough and have the will to want better for yourself.”

believe. inspire. achieve.


Berthlyne Francois smiling

Berthlyne Francois

Tim Schmidt in the Ciminelli Recital Hall

Tim Schmidt

Music / Communication
Daphne Napoleon

Daphnee Napoleon