At Franklin University Switzerland, we encourage our students to expand their education beyond the classroom and some of our students really take this approach to heart. It is said that the more effort one puts into something, the more one gets out of it. This is never more true than where one’s education in concerned and Bear O. O. Matthews, a second-semester freshman at Franklin, is truly getting the most out of his university years. Although as yet undecided on an official course of study, he’s not waiting to start building a better future,  for himself and for many other people as well.

In December of 2019, during his first semester at FUS, Bear became Head of Public Relations at Astra Labs, a California-based NGO. This youth-run company supports mental health, LBGTQ+, and youth activism by developing applications and providing resources that serve their needs. Certainly, contributing to this work and maintaining his grades is a challenge. “I have to slip in calls around my classes; sometimes meetings run late in the night, making up for US-CH time differences – but that’s all just part of the job!” 

On February 18, 2020, Bear presented at the DayOne Healthcare Innovation conference in Basel, Switzerland. He spoke about developing tech resources for the mental health community based on focus group studies and conversations with real patients, rehumanizing our privacy policies, and problems with data security. Bear states that, “Data security isn’t just a bunch of ones and zeros, it’s the foundation of every patient's individuality, and what’s more - the cornerstone of reestablishing ethical patient-tech development.”

When asked how he is leveraging his time at FUS toward his professional career, Bear replied, “Franklin is at the epicenter of much of the work I’m currently doing with Astra Labs. Geographically, it enables effortless travel and networking; intellectually, an endless reserve of knowledge on international relations and strategic development; and personally, it’s home to a tight-knit family of friends and mentors to grow with every day. Beyond school and work, Franklin also allows me to adventure with friends and get lost in new countries – something I value just as equally as my education!”

We’re looking forward to seeing how Bear Matthews and our other FUS students apply their skills and passions to shape our world.