NYA Learning Commons Terrace

Alumni Profile – Matt Hawkins ’13

Alumni Profile

Matt HawkinsMatt Hawkins ’13
Aerospace Program Manager and Systems Architect at Lockheed Martin

Where do you live now?   North End of Boston! Previously Fort Worth, TX, Durham, NC, and San Diego, CA.

What do you do?  My team and I build things that fly, sometimes fast and sometimes without human pilots, with the dual-purpose of advancing civilization while protecting a democratic world order. Specifically, I am a program manager and systems architect in the realm of autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and the ‘internet-of-things.’ As context for those who have seen Top Gun: Maverick, our division also built the ‘thing’ that Tom Cruise’s character flies in the opening scene.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?   I studied physics and economics at Colby College (Bachelor of Arts), and then mechanical engineering and entrepreneurship at Duke University (Masters of Engineering).

What was your favorite academic class at NYA?   Physics with Mrs. Adams and Mr. Austin – both emphasized the value of reasoning from basic principles to understand the deeper complexities of how our world works, and it is from this perspective that all of my other learning in both school and life is motivated.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in at NYA? Did you continue any after graduating?  Steel Drum Band was the most non-athletic fun I had at NYA, but most of my time was spent playing Soccer, Hockey, and Lacrosse – where I developed many core life skills like working with teams, controlling emotions, and pursuing goals.

Tell us about your best moment you’ve experienced at NYA.  Hard to pick a single one, but three candidates are: being the Backstreet Boys for senior year spirit week to complete a 4-for-4 sweep of the lip sync competition, beating Yarmouth Lacrosse in regional final junior year, and the Clam Festival BBQ’s every summer.

To you, what makes NYA different from other schools?  The intimate community experience. For better or worse, you’re pushed to see yourself within a bigger social space and to contribute to it. But NYA also provides the resources and avenues to do so in a unique way for each student, and I owe a lot of my growth to the interpersonal development that I could only have gotten in such an intentional environment.

Is there anyone at NYA you still keep in touch with teachers, coaches, friends? If so, what does it mean to you to have those connections? Yes, I’m fortunate enough to have maintained a few core friendships that are still actively integrated with my college and post-grad relationships, and I’m also grateful to Coach Peter Gerrity for giving me the opportunity to come back to campus and coach the Lacrosse team as a part-time volunteer. Simply put, these relationships keep me grounded to who I want to be amongst the dynamics of growing up, and that is simply invaluable.

Alumni are invited and encouraged to share their stories and updates with the Academy by reaching out to alumni@nya.org.