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Student-Athlete Feature: Andre Mattus

Andre Mattus
Arlington, WA
BS Microbiology, ‘17
Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies Minor
Varsity Coxswain, UW Men’s Rowing Team

Anyone who’s ever rowed knows a coxswain’s entire job is built on trust.

“Building this level of trust requires an understanding of differences,” says varsity men’s coxswain, Andre Mattus, ’17.

Mattus was selected as one of the Husky 100 for 2017 in recognition of his efforts—both on and off the water—to build trust and find more ways for student-athletes to explore different identities and cultures so they can build a stronger sense of empathy and connection within the UW student-athlete community.

Each year, the Husky 100 recognizes 100 UW undergraduate and graduate students from Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma in all areas of study who are actively connecting what happens inside and outside of the classroom and applying what they learn to make a difference on campus, in their communities and for the future.

Mattus was also named a 2017 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Team Winner, a prestigious honor that recognizes outstanding minority sports scholars.

As a Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies minor, Mattus studied a concept called intersectionality—the recognition of how different facets of identity such as race and sexual orientation overlap and affect one other. “This concept is wildly important to seeing how systems such as language can affect and be affected by different people,” he says.

In February 2016, Mattus helped start the UW chapter of Athlete Ally, a national organization that addresses issues of homophobia and transphobia in athletics. Utilizing the idea of intersectionality this organization seeks to give student-athletes a space where they can start to talk about how our identities overlap and interact with one another.

“One of rowing’s biggest lessons is that no one person can make the boat move quickly, but just one can slow it down,” Mattus said. “Precise motions must be repeated over and over in order to move forward. The same can be said towards making cultural changes around us.”

“Looking toward the future, I’m eager to disrupt clinical biomedical research with intersectionality,” Mattus says.

Coach Michael Callahan has no doubt he will do just that. “Andre was such a tremendous force for good on our team, articulating his ideas for making athletics more inclusive and empathetic. He really gained the trust of his teammates and helped them think differently. I wish him all the luck in his future endeavors beyond the boat.”