Rachel Kirk is a fourth-year music education major at the University of South Carolina, where she is drum major of the Carolina Band and is a member of Tau Beta Sigma. Rachel states, "I am dedicated to promoting and empowering women in music and I plan to pursue this passion throughout my time as a music educator and the rest of my life beyond my professional years. So many women do not get the opportunities in music I have been afforded due to many factors such as sexism, discrimination, racism, homophobia, and other issues, and I want to use my privilege to help these people achieve their goals and dreams, whether in music or not." After graduation, Rachel intends to teach middle or high school band in South Carolina.
Arianna Guntvedt is a second-year masters student in Wind Studies at California State University, Sacramento. As a horn player, she has performed with a professional orchestra in Veracruz, Mexico, with the Davis Shakespeare Festival, and with the California State University Wind Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra. She conducts the California State University Concert Band, the Sacramento Youth Symphony, and directs an after-school beginning band program for Sacramento Youth Symphony. On becoming and band director, Arianna writes, "I would like to teach high school music—specifically band—because in this age group, community is important. Growing up in Mexico, community has become a cornerstone of my identity as a musician and music programs in schools foster a sense of belonging among its members. Learning musical skills is not easy. The joint feeling of achievement in this age group creates a sense of community brought about by pride in their hard work and this is a process I would be proud to be a part of.Arianna is supporting herself financially in order to obtain her teaching credentials and reach her dream of teaching high school band. The scholarship from WBDI will help offset the large cost of tuition and fees associated with graduate school."
Andrea McAfee is a fourth-year saxophone student at Illinois State University. Beyond achieving high performance accomplishments, she is dedicated to professional development in order to advocate for musical opportunities for everyone. She is the president of the Illinois State University Saxophone Society, and is a past-president of the Universitys collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education. Andrea plans to pursue graduate studies in Wind Conducting ultimately becoming the Director of Bands at a University where Music Education is a priority. In this role, she sees herself as a leader and role-model for others. She writes, "Growing up in the band world, I never truly had a female role model—let alone a female of color, like myself. It was not something I thought about until after I began my studies at Illinois State, as almost every music classroom I entered, the majority of the students have been white. The students who were excelling at the rate at which I wanted to were typically white and mostly male. Every person of authority that I had encountered in my band upbringing were white and male. Having experienced that, drove me to want to be in the upper echelon of music educators, as a black female."
Madilee Morange is a Junior at the University of South Florida. She is studying both Music Education and Political Science. Mandilee plans to become a middle or high school band director, and use both degrees as a way to infuse American History and Political Science into her band, teaching and leading cross-curricular lessons while remaining active in local government and advocating for education and the arts from an informed and global perspective. As an undergraduate student, she is already thriving in leadership roles. She is drum major of the Herd of Thunder Marching Band, assistant conductor of the Junior Bay Area Youth Winds Middle School Honor Band, a counselor for the USF summer music camps, and is an active brother of Kappa Kappa Psi. She says, "I wish to become a band director to provide an environment for students to learn about music, inspire them to hold themselves to high standards, and help guide them to become the best versions of themselves they can be."
Laura Johnson is a second year graduate student at Old Dominion University finishing her masters degree in Music Education with a concentration in conducting. In her undergraduate studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, she performed in a clarinet masterclass with the LA Philharmonic principal clarinetist, was the student conductor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestras 2016 European tour, and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda. She has conducted the Windiana Concert Band during their tour of Italy in 2019, served as the graduate conductor of the ODU Wind Ensemble, and has performed clarinet with the Virginia Wind Symphony. The topic of her masters thesis is Gender-Specific Mentorship for Collegiate Female Band Directors, which discusses the impact of membership and role models for female band directors. She writes, "I believe that females in our field need to be supported and have meaningful mentorship experiences. As both an educator and a student, I am driven, passionate, and dedicated. This scholarship from WBDI will enable me to continue to push myself to become the best educator and musicians I can be without financial constraints."