University at Albany

(From left) Tim and Matt Curran

Looking at Timothy and Matthew Curran, you wouldn't guess that they are brothers. But once you see them together, you easily recognize the brotherly qualities — the affection, the comradery, and that hint of competition that brothers possess. The Currans, both December 2014 graduates — Tim with his Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Matt with his Master of Public Administration (he earned his B.A. in Public Policy in May 2014) — are a staple in the halls of Rockefeller College, and have carved a lasting legacy. While Tim is continuing on at Rockefeller for his MPA and interning in Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Chamber, Matt has been accepted into the Excelsior Service Fellowship, a leadership development program designed to attract the best and brightest to New York State employment; he will begin the fellowship in September. 

During their time at Rockefeller, they have both participated in the Dean's Leadership Council, the Semester in Washington Program, Living Learning Communities, the Student Association, Omicron Delta Kappa, and internships at the Office of New York State Senator John Flanagan — all while excelling in the classroom and graduating with honors.  Given their outstanding academic and extracurricular records, we couldn't help but ask a couple of questions to see if we could crack their code to success.  We will certainly be seeing a lot of these brothers in the years to come.

What was your favorite memory during your time at the University at Albany?

Matt: My favorite memory at UAlbany was receiving the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.  As an undergrad, I was involved with numerous aspects of student life, including serving as the director of marketing for the Student Association, acting as a Purple & Gold Ambassador for the Alumni Association, serving on the UAS Board of Directors and being an inaugural member of the Rockefeller College Dean's Leadership Council. To be among such an elite group of students and to be recognized for my involvement definitely is one of the best memories I have during my time at UAlbany.

Tim: My favorite memory at UAlbany was participating in the Semester in Washington Program. This program gave me the opportunity to live and work in the nation's capital and have unique experiences. While in D.C., I worked for the Republican National Committee's Digital and Data Department from Monday through Thursday, and on Friday had class with Dr. Michael Malbin.  I also got to meet with Rockefeller alumni who live in the area and I had the chance to visit historic landmarks, such as the White House, the United States Capitol and the Smithsonian museums. The Semester in Washington Program is something I will always look back on as the best memory of my college career.

Has your brother impacted your time at UAlbany? If so, how?

Matt: Since we were little, Tim and I have been best friends. I think I might have been more excited than he was when he decided to attend the University at Albany. Tim's support and encouragement has played an important role in pushing me to be the best that I can be. We build off of each other's successes and are always looking out for each other's best interest. Tim and I have both grown up a lot during our college years and to be able to attend the same university and to see each other on a regular basis has allowed our bond as siblings to become stronger than ever.

Tim: Matt is the reason I came to UAlbany. I did not know what college I wanted to go to out of high school and Matt sold me on coming to Albany. Seeing the successes that he had in his first two years inspired me to come to Albany and achieve similar results. Throughout my three years in Albany, Matt has shown me what is needed to have success in college, both in and out of the classroom. He told me about the importance of making connections with professors and getting involved on campus. Without Matt's guidance, I would not have had the same college experience.

What's the best thing about having your brother on campus?

Matt: The University at Albany, and in particular Rockefeller College, has what feels like an unlimited number of ways to get involved — both at the graduate and undergraduate level. Along the way, Tim and I have chosen to get involved with some of the same programs and activities, but we've certainly carved out our own paths. Between the two of us, I would say we have gotten to experience much of what the University and Rockefeller College has to offer. Tim's experiences and involvement have shaped my own and vice versa. It has been an advantage for each of us to be able to leverage each other's professional network on campus and in the field.  As brothers, we always work together and try to put each other in the best position to succeed.

Tim: It is hard to pick one thing I enjoy the most about having Matt in Albany with me. When I am with him, it feels like we are home, even though we grew up 200 miles away. He has helped me throughout my first three years in college, whether was deciding what classes to take or showing me where the Campus Center is. He also is there when I need to know the best place to study on campus or when I want someone to watch a ball game with. Matt is my best friend and I could not imagine going to school without him.

What have been the secrets to your success?

Matt: To me, the biggest key to success is to create a healthy balance between work, school and your personal time. To achieve this balance, time management is critically important. Keep a calendar of when your assignments are due, mark off the weekends when you want to spend time with friends and family, and always show up to work and give 100% effort and attention. There will be some weeks when you are overloaded with readings and assignments or need to stay at work late to get a project completed, but it has been my experience that if you go in with the mindset that you are going to balance these three aspects of your life, everything will work out the way you planned. This balance is about creating time for the things that are important to you. Time management and careful planning have definitely been my two keys to success thus far.

Tim: Two of the biggest keys to the success that I have had at UAlbany are having a strong support group and being involved. I would not have graduated with my B.A. in two and a half years if it were not for the advice and support that I receive from my parents and my brother. Having their support has given me the confidence to do things that I did not think I was capable of. Being involved in different organizations on campus has allowed me the opportunity to interact with people from different departments and become a well-rounded student.  These two keys have been the most impactful in the success I attained at UAlbany.

What advice would you give to students studying at Rockefeller?

Matt: Get involved and network, especially with our Rockefeller alumni. I've had the chance to meet and speak with many of our alumni and they are some of the most engaged and committed individuals I've ever come across. Rockefeller College's alumni network goes much further than the Albany area.  Alumni are in New York City, Washington D.C., Boston and many other cities across the U.S. and around the globe. They are a great resource for current students.  The connections and contacts you make could prove beneficial in helping you land that internship or your first job after graduation.

Tim:  The one piece of advice that I would give to Rockefeller students is to keep an open mind. Some people enter college and have a precise plan as to what they want to do for the rest of their life. However, those plans may not turn out as anticipated and it is important to have a back-up plan in hand. When presented with an opportunity to do something that was not originally on the radar, it is important to not reject the idea immediately because it may present you with greater opportunities than anticipated. Keeping an open mind may allow you to do something throughout your career that you never saw yourself doing when you first arrived on campus.

Visit Rockefeller's Commencement 2015 website.

Visit the University at Albany's Commencement 2015 website.