Center for Leadership Academy Scholar Matt Nicole Fajardo
Darien, IL

Major and Graduation

Computer Engineering - May 2023

Short-Term Goals

My short-term goals encompass taking on more experiences for growth and continuing to surround myself with people I can learn from. I believe the most invaluable asset to one’s development is the individuals one chooses to accompany and/or observe. It's the collaborative space, personal interactions, and important conversations that drive positive change within ourselves and our community. As I navigate my time studying at Illinois Tech, I’d like to create more opportunities to foster growth-focused connections not only for myself but for others as well.

From a more introspective lens, I’d like to become more proficient in reflecting on experiences for personal improvement. Throughout the COVID era, I have found myself taking on new challenges within leadership and my passions. Expectedly but still quite overwhelmingly, those experiences came with moments of uneasy feelings and unhealthy imbalance, physically and mentally. As I move forward into a new semester, I’d like to develop my internal self-awareness by asking myself the right questions that would build an effective mindset and healthier systems for daily life.

Long-Term Goals

The most vivid long-term goal I have is to build my personal library as a lifelong learner. As someone that enjoys the process of mastering diverse skills and studying multiple topics, I tend to not focus too much on long-term goals but work to develop my short-term goals or practical skills to my best ability instead. I seek new experiences to develop new ways of thinking and find weaknesses within myself.

From an outsider's point of view, a lot of what I'm putting time into at the moment seems a bit scattered and unfocused because there aren’t many clear connections between my many interests and skills. But I believe the combination of unique elements is what would allow me to think creatively in the long run. I’d like to use my curiosity and drive to become more comfortable in evolving and non-linear environments.

When I look forward 10-20 years from now, my main aim is to keep this mindset aflame and become an individual who thrives in both unstructured and structured learning environments. I’d like to master learning and be able to apply my knowledge in multiple disciplines, ideally to generate creative solutions to complex systems and problems.

Leadership Experience

  • Intinium:
    • 4sight Project Lead (May 2020 - September 2020)
    • President (August 2020 - present)
  • Chicago Startup Week:
    • Creative Director (September 2020 - March 2021)
  • IIT Undergraduate Admissions:
    • FYE Mentor (August 2020 - present)
  • President's Student Advisory Council
    • Council Member (Dec 2020 - March 2021)