Flying Before Driving

Ted Mathews
Ted Mathews

Ted Mathews never knew growing up he would be a tutor coordinator. His journey to his current position hasn’t been a straight line. It resembles that of a man who learned to fly a plane before he drove a car.

Mathews grew up in the Syracuse area and decided to go to college at OCC. One of his professors recommended he get a job as a tutor at the Learning Center. Needing the money, Mathews sought out the opportunity. He enjoyed helping people learn but thought it was just a passing interest for him. Little did he know this would be the beginning of his journey to his current position.

When Mathews graduated from OCC, he came back and worked as a technical assistant while getting his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After earning his degrees, he got a job auditing but still did some teaching at OCC on the side when he could. He never thought he’d return to OCC as a full-time employee. When his current position opened in 2013, he returned.

“I’m like the neighborhood cat,” Mathews said, “They keep putting the milk out for me and I keep coming back.”

His life journey is reflected in other unconventional aspects of his life. Because of how his Birthday fell, Mathews was able to fly a plan before he learned to drive. “I was very close to landing a plan before I got my learners permit,” Mathews says.

Mathews says he advocates for others to take unconventional paths to their jobs like he did. “I always tell the students the degree they earn might not relate to the job they are doing. You’ve got to always look for new paths in life.”

Henry Humiston
Henry Humiston

It’s advice his students take to heart. Henry Humiston is a 46-year-old student who will earn two degrees from OCC this May. Like Mathews, his life followed an unconventional path, after a workplace injury forced Humiston to return to school. “Ted Mathews has been instrumental in driving my success,” Humiston said, “He helped me believe that an unconventional path to success was possible.”

Mathews does it all for students like Humiston. At the end of the day, he says it is what makes his job worth doing.

Ted Mathews is the Tutor Coordinator for the Learning Center at OCC. He is an avid NASCAR fan and works part-time at a couple of the local speedways. To this day, he feels more comfortable flying planes than he does driving cars.

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