Alumni Spotlight – Matthew Kotzen

Learn to Start is proud to be working with the next generation of lower, middle, and high school students in reimagining what the 21st-century education system should look like. Hear from one of LTS’s incredible alumni, Matthew Kotzen, as he shares how LTS has impacted his personal and professional life since graduating from the program.

Taking advantage of opportunities

Has your experience with taking advantage of opportunities changed since LTS? How has LTS impacted your ability to take advantage of opportunities? Before LTS, I was not participating in any extracurricular activities or opportunities. Within a few weeks of starting the program, I became interested in extracurricular activities, one of which was DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America). The skills and experiences I gained from LTS enabled me to incorporate them into this club. I grew more active in this opportunity and eventually became the co-president because the skills and initiative I gained from the program enabled me to lead, work successfully with people, and operate a successful club. The LTS teachers in the program also assisted me in navigating the club, which increased my achievement. With the help of the teachers and the program, I am now on the board of a non-profit, Vice President of the Community Council, and starting a position at Fisher Business School. I am glad to say that LTS has given me more confidence and helped me stand out from others, resulting in greater experience and opportunities.


How has being in Learn To Start impacted your confidence as a person? Completing Learn To Start has had a significant impact on my confidence as a person. Before becoming a part of the program, I struggled with self-doubt and hesitation. I felt uncertain about my abilities and unsure of where to begin. However, being part of Learn To Start has been transformative for my confidence. It’s provided me with opportunities to learn, grow, and develop new skills in a supportive environment. Interacting with like-minded individuals and mentors has helped me realize my potential and believe in my abilities. The constructive feedback and encouragement I’ve received have boosted my self-esteem and motivated me to pursue my goals with greater determination.

Receiving Feedback

How has LTS impacted your ability to receive feedback? What was your experience with feedback prior to the program? LTS has a significant impact on my ability to receive feedback. Before taking this course, I took everything seriously, and making a mistake would bring me down or make me nervous. Throughout the course, I learned how to communicate effectively in front of others and how to improve my company’s ideas. From tiny pieces of criticism to major adjustments, I’ve learned how to properly speak in front of others, new ideas for my business, how to deal with input that I don’t completely agree with or find difficult to hear, and so much more. Within the first few weeks of the course, I learned how to handle comments from peers, mentors, teachers, and others. I learned that receiving feedback is vital because it helps us grow as individuals and that making errors is permitted since it allows us to learn. I also learned to provide feedback to others. This increased my confidence and made me want to receive feedback from others so that I could grow.

Connection to College

Did LTS have an impact on your college application process? LTS made a significant impact on my college admission process. This is a great program that all students should have the opportunity to participate in. Because this class is relatively open-ended, I was able to focus on my interests and abilities that will benefit me in the real world. During my time at LTS, I was able to include the course on my transcript, but I also got to add it to my resume, which helps me stand out. LTS taught me that it is not just about getting an excellent grade or passing a subject; it is also about the experiences and skills you acquire. During my time at LTS, I constructed an I am video, joined LinkedIn, became certified in Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, developed conceptual plans, started a business, and did a variety of other things that I can list on my resume. This not only helps me stand out, but it also allows me to move ahead of others by learning skills and gaining experience at a young age. I am a current student at The Ohio State University Fisher Business School, which has given me an advantage over others who are just starting to develop a resume or start a LinkedIn account. I am extremely appreciative of the experiences I gained via this program.

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Matthew Kotzen

LTS Graduate (NBPS)

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