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MSU Profiles

Adventure, Experience and Commitment: A global perspective with local purpose

There are many reasons why Minot State University is an academic destination. For some, it is the commitment to success, both in the classroom as well as in the local and global community. For others it is the small class sizes and the opportunity to work in a dynamic hands-on learning environment. For Matthew Eddy, MSU assistant professor of sociology, it is all these things and more.

"Minot State is special in this day and age," Eddy said. "We're not the only small public university that offers students diverse opportunities, but we are becoming increasingly rare. With more state universities trending towards larger class sizes, many find the experience impersonal. Whereas, at MSU it is quite the opposite."

One of Eddy's role models, Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted as saying, "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education." Eddy's ability to work closely with MSU students helps put King's words into action. His approach allows him the unique ability to share his professional and personal experience in a way that encourages students to seize opportunity and realize their dreams.

"I'm always excited when I talk with students, and they share their ideas about how they can improve society," Eddy said. "Whatever path they take, I hope they see it as an adventure because there are so many adventures to be had, especially in terms of making an impact on society."

Eddy, in addition to his dedication as a professor, is also a documentary filmmaker and world traveler. He describes himself as a father, a snow boarder and news junkie, who seeks out unusual experiences. His own adventure in life has taken him all over the world. His desire to experience life and better understand diverse cultures has taken him to many destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and the South Pacific. He has seen firsthand the birth and outcomes of revolution. Eddy brings to MSU a profound commitment to sharing these cross-cultural experiences and knowledge with students.

"I've seen European societies that were very highly functioning, and I have seen a lot of extreme poverty, especially in places like India, Egypt and Nicaragua," Eddy said. "My travels inspired my interest in different societies, their values, traditions, different religions, and social policies. Traveling in India, in particular, was so provocative in terms of the cultural diversity, the extreme poverty and rapid modernization, that I was compelled to pursue my doctoral degree in sociology. I wanted to be able to research and explain both the resilience and the breakdowns in traditions and why things have turned out the way they are in all of these different nations.

Costa Rica's unique tradition as a small country, nestled in one of the most violent regions in the world, fueled Eddy's dissertation research. Also, it inspired him to make a documentary film that explores Costa Rica's bold decision 68 years ago, to abolish their military and invest in health care and education for its people.

"I felt strongly that Costa Rica's history would make a great documentary," Eddy said. "I was able to find a few films from the 1980s that were short encapsulations of the experience, but I wanted to do something more in-depth. I am very grateful for the people who were gracious enough to let me interview them, like Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, and Christiana Figueres, the United Nations Climate Chief and daughter of Jose Figueres, the man behind the revolution that changed the course of history for Costa Rica. This film has been one of the great experiences of my academic career. It was a very collaborative process and I was lucky to have the help of MSU's talented art professor Micah Bloom, among many others who helped complete this film."

Eddy joined the faculty at Minot State in 2013. He holds a Ph.D degree in Sociology from the University of Oregon.

"Minot State has a nice balance between the academic pursuit of new knowledge and quality teaching and interpersonal relationships. Its dedication to providing an excellent education and excellent teachers makes it enjoyable to be a faculty member here."

A special preview screening of Eddy's documentary will be held at the Aleshire Theater, March 1 at 7 p.m. MSU art professor Micah Bloom designed and filmed several animation sequences for the film.