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About Matt Varga

Prescription drug abuse has significantly increased over the past ten to fifteen years; especially on college campuses. This growing problem is one many people are aware of, but few are talking about. My research agenda focuses on learning more about the phenomenon of prescription drug abuse particularly opiates (Oxycontin and Vicodin) and stimulants (Adderall and Ritalin). A lot of research has been conducted on undergraduate students, but yesterday's undergraduate students are today's graduate students, which currently remains relatively unstudied. Graduate students’ experience similar, if not more, stressors as undergraduates; however, few people study their experiences with prescription drugs.
My expertise began with prescription drug abuse after becoming exposed to students who engaged in the dangerous behavior at a previous institution. The cavalier attitude with which students were using these drugs startled me and I refused to see more students go through the pain of addiction.
The rest of my work focuses on Entry Level Experiences of student affairs staff. Specifically, I am interested in the competencies staff learn in their first three to four years working in higher education. Additionally, I am curious as to why staff decide to leave the field.
I obtained my Ph.D. and M.S. at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Higher Education Administration in May of 2012 and College Student Personnel in August of 2007, respectively. While obtaining my degrees, I worked for the Department of University Housing. Prior to The University of Tennessee I worked at Shenandoah University briefly after graduating from Christopher Newport University with my B.A. in philosophy. I am currently working at the University of West Georgia as an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and College Student Affairs.


Present Assistant Professor Counselor Education and College Student Affairs, State University of West Georgia

Research Interests

Prescription drug abuse, Graduate students, and Entry level professionals experience

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  • College Student Development
  • Legal Issues
  • Practicum

Contact Information

Matt Varga, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and College Student Affairs
Area of Professional Counseling & College Student Affairs
Department of Counseling and Professional Studies
The University of West Georgia
(678) 839 - 6160