What are your plans after graduation?

During my time at UW, I majored in Music Performance (Percussion), Neurobiology, and Psychology.

After graduating in May, I will continue to pursue a career in neuroscience. I have accepted a position as the Lab Manager for a research group at the UW-Madison Waisman Center that studies the neurological basis of speech production and acoustic processing. Language, sound, and music are all intrinsically linked in the brain, so I feel that working with this research team provides me with a perfect opportunity to bridge between my fascinations in both neuroscience and music.

In the coming year I plan on continuing to teach music. I have a small private piano studio where I currently teach 10 young students. Additionally, I will keep taking gigs that come my way, and will also continue studying and performing Brazilian samba music.

In the future, I plan on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology with an emphasis in pediatrics. I love working with children, and I hope to integrate music into future therapeutic approaches and community building initiatives for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

What will you miss most about the School of Music?

After graduating, the thing I will definitely miss the most is the family-like community of the percussion studio here at UW. Over the past 5 years I have formed so many strong bonds, and I will certainly remain close friends with the people I have met in this program. However, I will miss the comforting routine of spending most of my days with other studio members, making music and making mischief in the basement of Humanities. We could always be seen moving about the SoM as a pack, going on coffee runs together, eating dinner together, studying together, practicing together, relaxing together, celebrating together, and supporting each other.

We have something truly special in the UW-Madison percussion department, and I will always be thankful to have been a part of that community!

Any advice for incoming freshmen? 

I have two pieces of advice for incoming freshman:

As a young player, the only person that you should be comparing yourself to is the past version of yourself. It is not useful to compare yourself to others around you – you only need to focus on your own progress in order to build a strong foundation. I was the only freshman in the percussion department when I began studying here, so I spent a lot of time comparing myself to older students who had far more experience than me. This was not helpful for my confidence! However, at the end of my freshman year I thought back to where I had started and realized that I should be quite proud of all the progress I made.

Secondly, take advantage of the SoM community! Freshman year is a great time to meet lots of new students, especially students who may not play the same instruments as you. The more people you are able to connect with, the more performance opportunities will be available to you over the next four years.

Favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus is the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. This building is so relaxing, with tons of sunlight and a peaceful atmosphere filled with water features and greenery. This was my favorite spot to study, because it didn’t feel like I was cooped up inside.

Another favorite spot of mine was the Reading Room at the Wisconsin Historical Society. This room is beautiful, and makes you feel like you are at Oxford! It is a great place to be quiet and productive, and enjoy being surrounded by books.

Any humorous SoM stories to share?

One of my favorite memories from the SoM is when we used to have a “Pun Jar” in the percussion studio storage room. That year, we had a couple of students in our studio that could turn almost anything you said into a joke or pun. We responded with exasperated (but good-natured) amusement, and instituted a “pun tax”. Every time someone made a pun in rehearsal or in the vicinity of the percussion rooms, they would be called out by fellow studio members and asked to put 25 or 50 cents in the jar. We did this for a whole semester, collecting contributions from percussion students, professors, and even a visiting guest artist! By the end of the semester we had $120 in the jar, which we used to purchase food for a big studio picnic after our juries.