Invested and Impactful Teaching
PROVO, Utah – Jul 28, 2021 – Whether he’s teaching students in a classroom or coaching his players from the sidelines of a volleyball court, BYU Marriott School of Business accounting alum RJ Mattei loves learning and teaching in many forms. His passion for learning was recognized when he received the Gold Medal Award from the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, which honors the individual who received the highest score on the CMA exam.
Winning the award was unexpected honor for Mattei. “I felt shocked but also proud—like all the time and work I’d put into studying paid off,” he says. “Professionally, my coworkers and former professors understand the importance of this award. When I get messages from them commending me for the award and mastering my subject, that feels awesome too.”
As an adjunct professor of accounting at Utah Valley University since August 2017, Mattei focuses on helping his students master the subject of accounting as well. He enjoys watching them implement their newfound knowledge. “Seeing the light bulb go off in my students’ heads and watching them discover and piece things together is rewarding,” he says. “I love helping them connect the dots. I like the way teaching keeps me fresh—I'm always learning and growing too.”
Mattei, who lives in Provo, believes the focus of BYU Marriott's School of Accountancy (SOA) on group work helped him prepare for his job. “A huge part of teaching is managing relationships with your students and trying to manage the educational road blocks that they deal with,” he says. “The SOA focuses on working in groups and being part of a team, which taught me how to interact with others in the career field.”
Mattei’s initial interest in attending BYU blossomed from a unique hobby: the fourteen years he spent performing in the Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York, which took place fifteen minutes away from his hometown in Fairport. The pageant, which hosted its final performance in 2019, depicted various scenes from the Book of Mormon and the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I always joked with my friends that I was an actor, which is funny because the pageant was the easiest acting job ever—the audio was all voiceover, so I didn’t memorize any lines,” he says. “My experiences strengthened my faith. I realized I wanted to be in a similar spiritual environment in college, which lead me to BYU. If you were to ask me what my favorite pastime was growing up, I’d say participating in the Hill Cumorah pageant.”
In addition to participating in the pageant, Mattei also enjoyed playing sports. He currently applies his passion for teaching as a volleyball and bowling coach in the community and at UVU. “I love coaching for the same reasons that I love teaching. Seeing the light bulb moments and watching others progress applies in both the world of sports and the classroom,” he says. “Contributing to someone’s personal growth is incredibly fulfilling.”
At the end of the day, Mattei attributes much of his personal growth and his passion for teaching to his SOA professors. “I can't think of a better way to prepare for my current job than my experiences in the accounting program,” he says. “Some of my greatest mentors were my School of Accountancy professors. They were great examples of invested and impactful teaching. I try to implement many of the strategies that I saw them do into my own teaching.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert