For This Alum, UACCM Offered Path to A Successful Career

 

Matthew Snyder stands in front of a tree

UACCM Alum Matthew Snyder is a testament to the power of education—and to put what he’s learning to good use.

A native of Dumas, Arkansas, Snyder attended different universities before he settled at UACCM and studied under the college’s petroleum technology program. He graduated at a uncertain time in the field, when the demand for natural gas declined, and drilling in the Fayetteville Shale declined.

Snyder was quick to act, realizing that changes in the industry offered him an opportunity. He attended the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith with a Bachelor of Applied Science, and today, works at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture as a metrologist—a master of weights and measurements.

 

What led you to UACCM?

I wanted to study petroleum technology because I wanted to get into the oilfield. My associates and bachelor’s degree allowed me to get a job testing industrial stack air, which directed my resume towards environmental testing and compliance.

 

Any instructors or classes that had an impact on you?

I remember Jeff Lambert teaching my class to read well logs and down-hole telemetry; being able to see what’s far into the earth by the characteristics of waves drawn on a graph was incredible.

 

What got you interested in your line of work?

I got my current position as a metrologist by pure luck. I applied, got the interview, and accepted a position. A metrologist is not a meteorologist, it’s a weights and measures scientist. For the Arkansas Department of Agriculture we make sure that all relevant weights in the state are calibrated and are operating legally. I’m extremely thankful for gaining this position because, as of recent, I have realized that my ultimate career goal is to do medical/pharmaceutical metrology or medical/pharmaceutical quality control.

 

What’s a typical day in your position?

Usually I will test grain moisture, calibrate petroleum can volume, weigh food quality control weights against standards, and complete the administrative paperwork. 

 

How did UACCM prepare you as a transfer student to UA Fort Smith?

UACCM and its instructors made me believe I could actually achieve gaining a bachelor’s degree. Before UACCM I had low academic achievement goals; I even, at one point, had no intention of going to college. I’m a firm believer that not all of us need a college degree, but my technical degree and bachelor’s degree has served me well.

 

What advice would you give to current students attending UACCM?

Just study what you’re interested in doing. Most likely, the job you get out of college may be something totally random and something you may not have even knew existed. It’s extremely hard to plan where you’ll end up, so just scatter your resume out there and go along for the ride. 

Another thing I learned is to all future STEM workers, lab techs, quality control managers, and environmental professionals—if you can follow a recipe, you can follow a standard operating procedure. Maybe that tidbit will make your entry level job a little less daunting.

When transferring to a university, take what you learn at UACCM as a compliment to your higher degree. Although it’s not technically helping me now, my petroleum technology associates complimented my geosciences minor.

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