Nate Opens Up About His Inspirations, Work at TAMS, Power Animal

Click the image to enlarge. From left to right: (1) During lunch, you catch the eye of a really cute guy/girl. Conveniently at the same time, you begin chocking on some cheese broccoli. For some reason, you physically can’t look away. (2) You look out your window and Edward Cullen is staring intensely at you. (3) You turn 18 and your parents finally tell you you're adopted, confirming your siblings' suspicions. Kevin Yang and Alan Milligan/ION

Click the image to enlarge. From left to right: (1) During lunch, you catch the eye of a really cute guy/girl. Conveniently at the same time, you begin chocking on some cheese broccoli. For some reason, you physically can’t look away. (2) You look out your window and Edward Cullen is staring intensely at you. (3) You turn 18 and your parents finally tell you you’re adopted, confirming your siblings’ suspicions. Kevin Yang and Alan Milligan/ION

Many students and staff members know him as the “goofball” of TAMS, the Sheldon Cooper look-a-like, the creep, the reckless driver, or the guy who likes to break out in random song at the front desk. Nate Mattingly, twenty-two years of age is Ion’s featured TAMS employee of the week.

Q: What is your major and why?
A: Music, because I’m awesome and I wanted to find a major that was suited for my awesome personality. It was also the only major I considered. I’ve been involved in music since I was a kid. In 6th grade I started singing in my church choir and then, when I was 11, I got my first guitar and got really good, really fast. A Blink-182 CD also inspired me to go into music.

Q: Why did you decide to become a Resident Assistant at TAMS?
A: The benefits were tempting…regular housing seemed lame. I knew TAMS was awesome and I thought the program was amazing. People also thought I hated TAMS because I made fun of TAMS kids.

Q: What did you think of TAMS within your first year of working here and how has your opinion changed?
A: I thought it was the best job I ever had…not much has changed.

Q: When and why did you decide to become a Program Advisor for TAMS?
A: I first applied in the spring of 2010 and didn’t get it. I then applied in the fall of 2011 and got in. I’m creative and I feel like the arts clubs could use that creativity.

Q: What do you believe your greatest contribution towards TAMS has been?
A: Universal Suffrage for all.

Q: What has been one of your favorite memories at TAMS?
A: …There’s been a bunch…quite a few. One of the greatest was seeing my first Wing Awesome graduate and watching Wing Awesome go to different schools and fulfill their awesomeness to their full extent.

Q: Do you believe working at TAMS has changed you?
A: OH YES. Definitely. In an awesome way. I’ve become better at seeing the potential for greatness within all people. Greatness is a matter of will, not person. I’ve learned that greatness of my own actions in my own life pursuit is limited by my own will. I also see that some people come to TAMS to finish college faster while others come because they have the will to do something big.

Q: How do you like to spend your time when you are not attending to TAMS duties?
A: Oh boy. Oh boy. Anything I can get into really…reading and writing, extreme things like skydiving, paint balling. I love eating.

Q: Who has inspired you most throughout your life?
A: Hmm…..I think it changes. It’s probably Kevin Roden. He’s a spectacular person -a person of community service, leadership and an encourager of the discourse of topics. Also I’m inspired by Harry Truman. He’s just awesome. He always had a sense of humility even though he was president…he was one of the most powerful men in the world but he couldn’t gain the respect of his own mother-in-law.

Q: What motto do you live your life by?
A: Each day is a new universe of infinite possibilities…I’d like to think that I have a guiding principle to live by, but I really don’t.

Q: What has been a defining moment in your life?
A: When I was 15, I read a book by Alan Watts. It was called The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. I had grown up in a Christian household and gone to a Christian private school and had a strong belief in Christianity, until I read the book. It was defining because it opened up the discourse of my life. I had to decide: am I going to question everything or am I going to accept everything, and on what basis am I going to accept it?

Q: If a person could only know one thing about yourself, what would you want them to know?
A: *tapping with fingers…..nervous laugh…more tapping* This is hard because it’s like…I feel weird being so personal. I guess I would want people to know that life didn’t start out easy for me. Both my mom and I have gone through a lot to get to this place and my really long struggle has made other things seem irrelevant in comparison. So if I’m cocky, arrogant, careless, reckless -it’s just because other things seem smaller to me.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: They change daily. I might want to be a hall director, or go into city government. I might want to be an astronaut but realism changes day by day. I might go into politics or music-related stuff.

Q: If you could be a power animal, what would you be and why?
A: I’ve actually really thought about this before. I would be some mix between a grizzly bear and a domesticated house cat. My sense of smell is impeccable -I can smell delicious food for miles away. I’m adept to the art of hibernation and I enjoy playing with balls of yarn -just to see it unravel. Also, housecats have a nonchalant indifference that goes perfect with the laziness of a grizzly bear to describe my personality.

Q: If you had to be any minimum wage worker, what would you be?
A: I would work at Waffle House.

Obviously, there’s a lot that TAMSters don’t quite known about the people that are making it possible for the Texas Academy of Math and Science to function. Keep checking out Ion TAMS to get a deeper look at the people who surround you.

Interview Conducted by Kristen DeWilde

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