I Am Elon with Matt Sears ’18
Though Matt Sears ’18 spends much of his time researching insect behavior, he makes time to tutor, work as a T.A. and play men’s club rugby.
Matt Sears ’18 fondly remembers spending time in the woods, collecting bugs with his brother as a child. But somewhere in adolescence he had a change of heart and decided that bugs were gross. Now he’s come full circle, and squash bugs—or Anasa tristis—and their reproductive behavior are the topic of his undergraduate research project with Assistant Professor of Biology Jen Hamel.
An Elon College Fellow and biology major, Matt says he fell in love with biology “because it’s literally the study of life. If you consider a seed, it’s like a little instructional packet for cells inside to reorganize and create a huge tree. That’s absolutely incredible.”
Matt is part of Elon’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences program, working with Hamel, area farmers and a local high school student assistant who is also an Elon Academy scholar. He is examining the reproduction of an agricultural pest that devastates squash crops. He hopes understanding their behavior can lead to learning how to control their population growth. “Studying things on an organismal level is cool. People often get consumed with the human world and forget about the other organisms all around us. I enjoy stepping back to observe.”
Outside of his academic work, Matt is a member of the men’s rugby club team, and he worked as a resident assistant in the Global Neighborhood last year. “Being an RA allowed me to offer all types of guidance. I sent a student to Arts West to record guitar. Another student wanted to make stickers for his solo rap project, so I directed him to the Maker Hub. I love connecting people with all of the great resources Elon has.”
Matt is Elon. Visit www.elon.edu/magazine to see more of his story, part of our “I Am Elon” multimedia series featuring Elon students in their own words.