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A spirit that is not afraid

Plainsman's Choice 2022 Best Professor: Matt Kearley

Professor Matt Kearley before teaching his Biology 1010 class Tues. 4/5/22
Professor Matt Kearley before teaching his Biology 1010 class Tues. 4/5/22

Though Auburn has many professors and faculty members, students in Matt Kearley’s biology classes say that he is one of their favorites. 

“The students here are fantastic, and it’s been a joy teaching here. I couldn’t imagine a better job,” Kearley said.

Having been employed at Auburn University for over 20 years, Kearley has been able to impact thousands of students who have partaken in his non-major biology courses, as well as those who take his upper-level course in the summer.

“This is something that I’ve been doing for a while now,” Kearley said. “To know that the students are here and appreciate my classes and are connecting all this information that they’re given, I think, is fantastic.”

When it came to why Kearley believed that his students went out of their way to let others know how wonderful of a job he does, he said he hoped it came down to them just generally enjoying what he is teaching them. Kearley said he aims for his students to leave his classes knowing more than they did before, and that they leave having gained valuable experience.

Part of Kearley’s love of biology comes from his love of the outdoors. He said he enjoyed being in nature as a child and still loves being outside today.

“I was always outside in the field growing up and was fascinated by the ecology of the different habitats and systems I was in, so it was an easy choice for me,” Kearley said on why he chose to go into biology.

He said he prefers to spend his time away from the University outside even today. 

“I still love getting out on the water or into a real wilderness area,” Kearley said. “That is always where I want to be in my free time.”

Kearley said he was humbled by the fact that so many of his students made an effort to let others know that he was a great professor. After almost 20 years of teaching, he is glad to see that students still care about the material that he teaches. 

One of his main goals to is leave a positive impact on all the students who take his courses. He said he would feel accomplished to know that his students are leaving his classes with more knowledge than they entered with. 

“I want to thank all the students here,” Kearley said. “This job has been so wonderful because of how great the students are.”

Students have come to love Kearley’s classes because he loves teaching them. He equips each student with new knowledge for them to further their academic careers, and students clearly appreciate the work he does.

“I hope to have had a positive impact on all the students who have taken my classes,” Kearley said. “I hope they take something valuable away from their time in my classes and are better because of it.”


Tucker Massey | News Editor

Tucker Massey, sophomore in journalism, is a news editor for The Auburn Plainsman.


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