People Like Me: Jordan Mathews
Jordan Mathews will graduate in May with a degree in Kinesiology – Health and Physical Education. Next Fall, she will begin graduate studies at The Ohio State University for a Masters in Sports Coaching on a fully-funded fellowship. She currently serves as the Vice President of Membership for the College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) Ambassadors and recently earned over a 4.0 GPA that gained her recognition on the LSU President’s Honor Roll. It is safe to assume that Jordan has worked hard to achieve her goals, but it is not until you get to know her that you discover the true determination, wisdom, and resilience it took to get her where she is today.
Jordan’s ethnic background is Native American and Hispanic. She states, “Both cultures are so beautiful and have empowering histories that mean so much to me. Being adopted, my father is Black, and my mother is white, so I was not raised with the Native American or Hispanic culture in my home growing up, but my parents always supported me in discovering my culture. I was blessed to grow up in Corpus Christi where the Hispanic culture is rich, and I have been able to learn more about my Native American heritage as I’ve gotten older and had the opportunity to become more involved in groups like LSU’s Native American Student Organization (NASO). Through NASO I have been able to help put on events to raise more awareness of our culture and the significance of things like The Indian Mounds we have on campus and why their preservation is so important. My diverse background and culture helped to shape me into the woman I am today. Being from underrepresented groups can present obstacles, but through initiatives like People Like Me and my academic and career goals, I hope to encourage and inspire others. It can be hard going to a big university or aiming for career goals in which I do not see many people who look like me, but it’s not impossible and I look at it as the perfect opportunity to represent my cultures with pride as I continue in my personal journey.”
Just a few years ago, Jordan would have never thought she would end up in Baton Rouge attending LSU. For a while, Jordan looked within her home state to find any school that could offer a degree program that would set her up for her dream of coaching men’s Division I collegiate basketball. Nothing really stood out to her until her dad casually mentioned LSU one night. The more she investigated LSU, the more her interest piqued. Finally, she discovered CHSE’s School of Kinesiology – Health and Physical Education program and was excited to explore this path more. The very next day, Jordan coincidentally received a letter of interest from LSU. She took it as her sign to apply. One thing led to another, and Jordan found herself admitted to LSU and attending a Kickoff, where she met people within CHSE and felt welcome and at home. She confidently made the decision to attend LSU the next semester.
The true passion that Jordan has for coaching is what led her to LSU. The passion to work with athletes and push them to not only become better players, but better people, stems from a lifetime of pushing herself to be the best she can be as well. Jordan grew up with her adoptive parents who did their best to give her a childhood experience that everyone deserves. Her adoptive parents and siblings are the ones who have supported her through her journey. Jordan’s birth mother struggled with substance abuse throughout her pregnancy and afterward. This inevitably led Jordan to suffer with health issues like seizures, ear problems, and cataracts as a child. Jordan believes it is a true miracle to have not only survived those health scares, but to be the able-bodied and healthy person that she is today. The physical health ailments, however, were only a portion of the pain she experienced as a young woman. It was emotionally difficult for Jordan to accept the decisions her birth parents made to not be involved in her life, but she states that nothing good comes from living in anger and resentment. A quote that she lives by speaks volumes of her character:
“I am not a victim of circumstance, but a product of my own decisions.”
It is with this mindset that Jordan knows she has grown and overcome her past, but life can throw a curveball at any moment. Just a week before the spring semester started, Jordan found herself dealing with the unexpected death of her sister from a drug overdose. When reflecting on the initial shock of her sister’s passing, she says, “A big part of me wanted to quit LSU, not come back for my senior year and just be with my family and take as long as I wanted to grieve. But, deep down, I knew I wanted to finish what I started at LSU and continue working toward my dreams not just for me but for my family too.” The semester was far from easy, but she expresses,
“I don’t have to let that one bad thing that happened to me define the rest of my life.”
Her resilience and courage through tough times is what earned Jordan the scholarship to her dream graduate school. She wants people to know that “you are much stronger than you think, and you are so much more than the bad things that happen to you.”
Jordan with Dean Roland Mitchell.
Jordan with Dean Roland Mitchell and Assistant Dean Renee' Boutte Myer.
Looking back on her journey so far, Jordan would advise her younger self to “take more time to appreciate and enjoy the moment you’re in…Find the balance between hard work and responsibilities and having the time to relax and enjoy life.”
As for Jordan’s future, she knows that with the support of her friends, family, and her faith, she will end up exactly where she needs to be. Overall, Jordan is proud of the woman she is and is grateful for the experiences she has had at LSU, especially those she made as a CHSE Ambassador. As a naturally shy and quiet person, Jordan has been able to develop her confidence, leadership skills, and professionalism as an ambassador. These skills will translate to the basketball court as she collaborates with athletes throughout her career.
On behalf of CHSE, we are so proud of the achievements Jordan has made here and look forward to seeing what great things she will accomplish in the future.
About People Like Me
The Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Civic Engagement designed the People Like Me series to highlight achievements and success of underrepresented individuals who have experienced challenges or obstacles in their lives yet have achieved success in their endeavors. We want to disseminate these amazing testimonies in an effort to inspire others who have similar circumstances.
If you know someone you would like to nominate for our People Like Me initiative,
please fill out the nomination form or email email@example.com.