Matthew Peter Szudzik was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1973 to a father who taught art in the public schools and to a mother who did laboratory work at a local hospital. He expressed an interest in astronomy at an early age, joining the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association ( and serving as the president of its junior section from 1989 to 1992. He operated the planetarium and gave public astronomy lectures for a period of 8 years--first at the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium ( in Grand Rapids, and later at the University Of Michigan, Ann Arbor (, where he received a bachelor's degree in physics with highest honors in December 1996. He began studying mathematics after graduation, and was hired as a research assistant for Stephen Wolfram ( in 1998. He served in that position for 2 years before leaving for graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University (, eventually receiving a Ph.D. in mathematical logic in December 2010. He worked as an Assistant Teaching Professor Of Mathematics at Carnegie Mellon's campus in Doha, Qatar from 2011 to 2014, and as a Special Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus from 2015 to 2016.