Pacific graduate’s thesis has more than 7,000 downloads

Matthew Goodrid

Matthew Goodrid '18 (left) is Site Director of the Cole Boys and Girls Club in Denver, Colorado

Matthew Goodrid ’18 continues the work that he began at University of the Pacific in his position as the Site Director of the Cole Boys and Girls Club in Denver, Colorado.

Goodrid earned his master’s degree in Sports Sciences at Pacific, writing a thesis titled “Racial Complexities of Outdoor Spaces: An Analysis of African American Millennials Lived Experiences in Outdoor Recreation.” The thesis has been downloaded 7,836 times since its publication and cited as part of the discussion surrounding the Black Lives Matter movements of 2020.

Goodrid recently returned to Pacific for a virtual presentation on the process of writing an impactful graduate thesis. The full presentation can also be viewed online on Scholarly Commons.

Goodrid expands on his experience in Pacific’s graduate program: “Being in a graduate program at (Pacific) allowed for access to faculty. Classes and the cohort were small.”

For students trying to choose a graduate program, Goodrid recommends ensuring the faculty’s passions match the students.

“Try to identify faculty in the program that align with your research. It’s ok to look around and find a different department or school to find that faculty member that will act as your mentor.”

Furthermore, Goodrid recalls the commitment required to undertake the three years of research that went into his thesis. He emphasizes that he “was coming from a really strong writing background because I studied history and anthropology. I was already prepped with what it means and what it looks like to undertake a large writing project.”

Pacific’s location also helped to facilitate Goodrid’s work: “I love the Stockton community. I was able to work with nonprofits to get access to folks in the community.”

How did Goodrid form connections to the community? He is committed to authentic interactions, including in his research.

“Authenticity is incredibly important, especially if you are going to be doing research with real folks. Before you begin questions, there needs to be some relationships and self-analyzation of how you are approaching the interviews, the questions you are asking, language you are using.”

Goodrid carried this commitment to his current position with the Boys and Girls Club. He cites the “relationships I built and connection to the community I had” as motivating his move to Denver.

Through his work, he has created “the freedom to build up a program that I am proud of and that benefits the community.”

This freedom includes “agency about how we run an authentic and trauma-informed approach to outdoor education.” The success of Goodrid’s efforts can be seen in the value of the Boys and Girls club to the Cole community.

The Metro Denver Boys and Girls Club has expanded to twenty locations, serving thousands of children. This widespread and large-scale impact gives Goodrid “access to the resources to do the work that I came to Denver to do.”

Goodrid calls on Pacific to help him continue his work in improving access to outdoor recreation.

“Encourage research to be done with this specific topic in mind. As we’ve seen in 2020, this is coming to the forefront of what our society is willing to do.”

Goodrid also offers encouragement and advice to the students that will follow in his footsteps.

“First, check your own biases. Before you get into social justice work, ask yourself why and really hone in on what you want to do.”

Check out Matthew Goodrid’s thesis on Pacific’s Scholarly Commons.