Why did you choose to attend FSU to pursue a graduate degree?
As one of the leading institutions in ethnomusicology, FSU was always at the top of my list when applying to graduate programs. I was initially drawn to FSU because of the work of my current advisor, Dr. Michael Bakan. However, when I interviewed here, I was blown away by the collegiality, rigor, and commitment to applied and engaged learning that the entire FSU musicology department had to offer. When my assistantship offer came in the mail a few weeks later, I immediately knew that this is where I wanted to be.
What motivated you to pursue a graduate degree?
I was fortunate to have had some excellent teachers and mentors who helped point me in this direction. They encouraged me to take graduate courses in ethnomusicology during my undergraduate degree, and I knew shortly after that I wanted continue to immerse myself in this field. As someone who has always viewed the world through a musical lens, I was excited by the prospect of being able to share and create this knowledge with others through research and teaching. Particularly, I was interested in pursuing research in the areas of applied ethnomusicology, children’s musical cultures, and Scandinavian Studies. Later, my interests evolved into the study of music, children, and refugees in Sweden, and I could not be happier that this has become my life’s work.
Importance of your research and work
We live in a time where issues of children’s rights and immigration are at the forefront of political and humanitarian discussion. Understanding not only the immediate needs (e.g., food, housing, shelter) of young refugees, but also the social needs of children is displacement is a high priority. My work focuses on the inclusion and integration of Syrian refugee children in Sweden’s historically democratic music-and-arts schools as a way to: 1) understand how music helps refugee children adapt to and transform their new environments, particularly in Nordic welfare states 2) actually capture the voices and perspectives of these children, and 3) help develop ways to create more inclusive, child-centered, and multicultural music-and-arts programs throughout Scandinavia and the U.S.
I hope to continue engaged teaching and research at a college or university or through other public sector work.
Advice for anyone considering graduate school
There is no perfect formula for graduate studies. Know the field, and know what about it excites you. Be confident in your ability to create new knowledge, and be open to broadening your perspectives. Find a project you love, a mentor who will support you, and colleagues who will push you to think in new ways.
Accomplishments during your graduate career
Presser Graduate Music Research Award, Society for Ethnomusicology Elizabeth May Slater (Education Section) Award, FSU International Dissertation Semester Research Fellowship, Fulbright Semi-finalist, Krebs World Music Scholarship
The funding I received:
- Florida State University International Semester Research Fellowship
- Presser Graduate Music Award
- Florida State University Carol F. and Richard P. Krebs World Music Scholarship
- Florida State University Musicology Area Summer Research Funding
- Florida State University Graduate Assistantship