skip navigation

Division III Week Student-Athlete Spotlight: In My Own Words by Neal Matthews

Division III Week Student-Athlete Spotlight: In My Own Words by Neal Matthews

WASHINGTON – Gallaudet University athletics is proud to participate in the fourth annual NCAA Division III Week (April 6-12) in an effort to celebrate the impact athletics and Bison student-athletes have on our campus and surrounding community. GU is joining nearly 450 Division III institutions and 43 conferences in this week’s celebration.

To help focus on the many student-athletes that represent Gallaudet athletics we will spotlight a different student-athlete each day this week. You will learn more about them as they express their feelings on what it is like to be a Division III student-athlete here at Gallaudet.

Senior Neal Matthews (Kent Island, Md.) is a member of the men's cross country and men's swimming and diving teams.

In My Own Words: Neal Matthews

What is it like to be a student-athlete in college?
NM: Being a student-athlete in college feels like something you can't really explain. Our lives are different than a non-athlete, but not always in the ways others imagine. It's a great feeling [being a student-athlete], as we are able to stay in shape and meet a lot of new people. It’s inspiring for me being in college and an athlete as well. What is awesome about being a student-athlete is that you make new friends from other colleges. For example, I made a few friends at Cazenovia College through cross country and swimming. We became close enough that they invited me to go up for Spring Break to hang out and I was able to learn more about them. It is not often that you get a chance to hang out with someone from 300 miles away that you met through sports and compete against. It's amazing how we ended up bonding.

What is it like to be a student-athlete at Gallaudet University?
NM: Being a Gallaudet University student-athlete is interesting, how you work with other student-athletes who are also deaf or hard of hearing and how we communicate with each other while playing sports. Our Gallaudet student-athlete bond is a strong bond where other teams will look at us and try to compete with us. In the end, it feels great having other teams wanting to work with us, wanting to learn sign language and giving each other an experience that no other team could offer.

You’ve been a student-athlete for three years at Gallaudet as well as working with the GU athletic trainers and doing Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) work. What has inspired you to be involved in so many things and how has this impacted you as a student-athlete?
NM: Many things inspire me really. Like the joy of helping others really impacts me. I got involved with the fire department cadet program at age of 10. Then at age 15, I joined the Kent Island Fire Department. From that point it’s been my passion to help others. I got more involved with the medical field and fell in love with it. It does impact my life as a student-athlete mostly during school. I always think of others more than I do myself, in the end I feel great. When I am helping them, I learned more about myself more, and I am able to work with others better. For example, how I could improve myself and how to work with different patients/players.

Division III Week Fact of the Day

Did you know there are approximately 109,048 (58%) male student-athletes in Division III.

Division III Week Student-Athlete Spotlight: In My Words
Friday: Abdiel Davila-Cruz (Men's Swimming) | Ivy Sahneyah (Women's Cross Country)
Thursday: Mitchell Bensman (Baseball) | Leslye Kang (Women's Basketball)
Wednesday: Todd Collins (Football) | Lindsay Corthell (Women's Track and Field)
Tuesday: John Isaacson (Men's Track and Field) | Kristi Luna (Softball)
Monday: Todd Bonheyo (Men's Basketball) | Brianna Stroud-Williams (Women's Swimming and Diving)

About Division III Week
Division III Week is a positive opportunity for all individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. During the week, every Division III school and conference office is encouraged to conduct a type of outreach activity that falls into one of three categories: academic accomplishment; athletic experience; or leadership/community service/campus involvement. For more information log onto

About Gallaudet
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world. For more information about Gallaudet University please log onto