From the Boxing Ring to Whiting-Turner: Matthew Goodman Demonstrates Why His Love for a Challenge Has Pushed Him to Succeed

Matthew Goodman (B.S., '14)For as long as he can remember, Matthew Goodman, a senior CEE major with a minor in project management, has had a knack for construction projects.

As a toddler, he fussed with Lincoln Logs and LEGO blocks for hours; but, by his high school days, Goodman’s love for “building things with his own hands” carried him through woodshop and sparked an early interest in engineering.

“I was always interested in finding out how things worked,” Goodman said, admitting that he has had a love for science and math since his grade-school days. “Engineering provided me with an opportunity to learn firsthand how math and science come play a role in the final outcome of a project – whether it’s something as simple as an assignment in woodshop or something as big as a bridge or building.”

But, while Goodman built his love for engineering throughout his years at the University of Maryland, so, too, did he discover a new passion – boxing.

Growing up, Goodman’s involvement in the sport hardly extended beyond roughhousing with neighborhood friends. As a UMD freshman, however, Goodman found himself drawn to the Terps Boxing Club table at the First Look Fair.

Before he could realize it, he had fallen in love with the sport. “I spent my whole first year with the team training to get in shape and learning the fundamentals and techniques,” Goodman said. “I see boxing as the ultimate competition. I’m a very competitive person and I love the nature of the sport. Your teammates and coaches help you reach new levels of success but, when you’re in the ring, it’s just you versus your opponent. You’re the only two people who can affect the outcome of the match, and I love that aspect of it.”

By sophomore year, Goodman began competing with the team, but in his junior year, he suffered a setback when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

“I had to get surgery right away, but I stuck around to help the rest of my team,” Goodman said. After enduring a rehabilitation process, Goodman returned in full competition mode and was voted a co-team captain his senior year.  Additionally, as a member of the Intercollegiate Boxing Association, Goodman was invited to represent the United States in a competition at the University of Portsmouth in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, during which elite U.S. boxers faced off against U.K. competitors.

As a student who always aspired to study abroad, the event marked a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Goodman, who participated in five days’ worth of events before taking some time to explore nearby London.

Goodman admits he never studied abroad during his undergraduate career, but he does not regret the many hours he has devoted to both engineering and boxing.

“Balancing the demands of an engineering degree and boxing has certainly been difficult,” he said. “It takes a lot of time management – every week, I have to plan ahead when I’ll have time for homework, for studying, for training, for sleep, even, while still making it to practice and workouts. It takes a lot of sacrifices – and you have to be willing to put aside some of the social aspects college life presents. But, it is definitely worth it – I would never change a thing about my experience.

“I like challenging myself and, with boxing and engineering, there is a constant mental challenge,” he continued. “I am the type of person that gets bored if I don’t feel challenged, so balancing boxing and engineering has been exciting for me. And, one of the things I have loved most is that – for both engineering and boxing – your results are a product of the time and effort you dedicate. The more you give, the more you get. It’s definitely rewarding to see that.”

Goodman notes that some of his proudest accomplishments include making Dean’s List each of his four years at the University of Maryland, as well as graduating with honors.

Additionally, Goodman has participated as a member of UMD’s Concrete Canoe team in both his junior and senior years, and he has served as a Resident Assistant.

Moving forward, Goodman is excited to take on new challenges and responsibilities. He recently accepted a position with the

Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, where he will specialize in construction management.

But, while he holds bold plans for his future in civil engineering, Goodman hopes to stay active in boxing – even despite suffering a second ACL tear earlier this year.

“I have to get another surgery this year, but I plan to get back into boxing as soon as I can,” he said. “I’ve talked to other graduating students about training together and staying involved in the sport. I think coaching would be a lot of fun – being able to help out other students, not just in the ring, but also by mentoring them.”

After all, Goodman admits education will remain a big part of his life, even after he earns his degree.

“I love to learn,” he said. “I really understand the importance of education and I love having the opportunity to learn and experience new things. I want to build on that in my career moving forward, and I am excited to learn more about the industry and how I can make an impact through my work.”