Carnegie Mellon University
April 06, 2023

From Treasury to Tech: Championing Change, Equity, and Creating a Better World for Everyone

“Service” is the powerful legacy that Breanna Zwart carries with her, passed down by her grandparents. They taught her by their example not only to work hard, but to uplift others. That legacy has defined Zwart’s life both personally and professionally, inspiring her to make an impact in government and the tech industry as well as her community.

Zwart’s grandparents, Dr. Robert Matthews and Ardelle Matthews, were teachers. Both were raised on farms – Robert in Kansas, and Ardelle in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. Both were the first in their families to attend college.

“My grandmother picked cotton as a child,” Zwart said. “They both fought for a better life.” Her grandmother was the first in her small, rural community to go to college. During those years, Ardelle traveled home to talk about her experiences and to encourage other young people in her hometown to attend college. Zwart’s grandparents spent their lives serving generations of students and working for racial justice. Those lessons had a significant impact on Zwart.

Zwart, in turn, has made a significant impact for women and girls across a variety of arenas. 

A Tartan twice over, Zwart earned a bachelor’s degree in the interdisciplinary BXA program (2006) from Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a master’s degree in public policy and management (2008) from CMU’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. As you might expect with a newly minted policy degree in hand, Zwart gravitated towards government service.

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