Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
"Belk Scholars are motivated people. Being around them and hearing about all of the things they are doing makes me even more motivated."
Belk Scholar Matthew Schlerf considered many majors before deciding on theatre during his sophomore year – a decision he said was unexpected.
The holistic approach of the liberal arts theatre major appealed to Schlerf's varied interests in the study and creation of theatre. The Davidson major incorporates writing, research and collaboration across multiple disciplines of study to realize the complete, multi-faceted potential of theatre making.
While he loves performance and production, he also has a strong interest in research and academia. He served as a research assistant for Professor of Theatre Sharon Green in her creation of a scene book spotlighting empowering scenes written by contemporary female playwrights and is currently researching Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice, a play he is directing for his honors thesis.
Overall, theatre is a study of human behavior, Schlerf said, and expressing yourself in a public sphere invites compelling dialogue.
"We are constantly performing, even when we're outside of performance-based venues," he said. "I like tapping into those unconventional ways in which we perform."
In addition to performing in plays, Schlerf takes to the stage as a member of the college improvisational comedy troupe Oops!, and has worked behind the scenes on several stage productions. He is also co-editor of Exit 30, a campus literary magazine, a Presidential Scholar, and a member of Phi Gamma Delta.
Of all of his extracurricular work, the most meaningful has been his work with Be The Match, an organization that matches blood cancer patients with marrow donors. He is the co-president of the Davidson chapter of Be The Match On Campus (Project Life), and he is a certified Volunteer Ambassador for the national organization.
To complement his theatre major and to further his interests in writing and research, Schlerf is considering a double major in English and received a Dean Rusk grant to study abroad in England as part of the Davidson in Cambridge Program during the summer after his sophomore year. He is using his Belk stipend during the summer of 2015 to attend the International Symposium for Directors in Spoleto, Italy.
Though he has always been a committed student, Schlerf says his interactions with other Belk Scholars have encouraged him to pursue his interests even further at Davidson and beyond.
"They're such motivated people. Being around them and hearing about all of the things they are doing makes me even more motivated," he said.