Aundrea Matthews has spent over twenty years utilizing art as a medium for doing human rights and social justice projects. In addition she has over 7 years’ experience in the criminal justice field working as both an Adult Probation Officer and a Juvenile Probation/Detention Officer for Tarrant County Community Supervision and Corrections Department. While working for Community Supervision and Corrections, she implemented an art project for juveniles as a juvenile justice project. She also created an employment program for probationers in order increase their job readiness skills. She was later recognized for her work with youth gang members in Fort Worth.
After working in criminal justice, Aundrea worked as a Parent/Outreach Specialist for Fort Worth Independent School District. As a Parent/Outreach Specialist, she created several youth programs that reduced gang violence in Fort Worth, and helped to enhanced academic performance, parent involvement, and increased high school attendance to ninety-seven percent. In 2005, Aundrea created and implemented for Fort Worth City Councilman, Donovan Wheatfall, a summer youth program entitled “C.H.I.L.L. Stop Six Unity Concert” to help reduce summer youth violence. In 2007, Aundrea became an AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer for the Innerchange Freedom Initiative. As an AmeriCorp Vist Volunteer she helped develop programs and initiatives to increase capacity building and coalition development for men and women coming out of prison. She currently is the Assistant Program Coordinator for the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL) at Rice University. She is also a CERCL Graduate teaching assistant for the Religion and Hip Hop Culture course. Since 2013, Aundrea has served as an adjunct professor in the Humanities Department at Lone Star College.
Aundrea is co-author of Breaking Bread and Breaking Beats: Churches and Hip Hop: A Basic Guide to Key Issues, and co-authored a chapter with Dr. Margarita S. Guillory entitled Esotericism in African American Religious Experience: There is a Mystery. She has participated in two study abroad programs, one in Ghana, and the other in Egypt to enrich her understanding of religious and theological perspectives, history, and ethics. In 2007, she presented a paper to the Society of Christian Ethics entitled, “It Is An African Thing, and Now We Understand: The Legacy of Peter Paris”. She was also awarded that same year the 2007 Emerging Black Church Studies Scholar Award from Brite Divinity School. In 2008, Aundrea presented a paper at the American Academy of Religion, entitled “Talk to Me: Theological Discourse and the Hermeneutic of Reconciliation.” In 2009, she wrote a commentary that was published in the African American Lectionary, Vanderbilt University. She also was selected by the Office of National Aids Policy (ONAP) community discussion on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for America in Houston to attend the Youth Planning Committee Conference at the White House in 2010. In 2012, Aundrea received the Citizen of the Year Award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Rho Beta Beta Chapter. In 2014, she was the winner for Rice University’s Graduate Student 90 Second Thesis Competition for the School of Humanities. From 2012-2014, she has participated in the Embodiment and Religion Symposium at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. In 2015, she was selected to curate the Inaugural Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation Art Exhibition to celebrate the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of Juneteenth in Fort Bend County.
In 2010, Aundrea founded the A.C.E@ Rice (Academic Cultural Empowerment at Rice), a student organization that allows Rice University students to serve as virtual tutors to high school students with poor academic performance by engaging youth in a virtual on-line learning experience that will strengthen academic skills and reduce the achievement gap at selected H.I.S.D schools in Houston, Texas. She is creator and curator of the bi-annual Hearts, Hands, and Heritage Quilt Exhibition. She created from raw space, and served as curator, and manager of the Art Hub Gallery for Houston Community College-Northeast campus.
Aundrea earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 1992 and a Masters in Liberal Arts from Texas Christian University in 1994. She went on to earn a Master of Theological Studies from Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas in 2007.Aundrea recently defended her Ph.D. dissertation in African American Religious Studies at Rice University. Her dissertation focused on African American cultural memory and its role in the development of faith expressions as portrayed in the cultural production of African American quilts. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.