Who I am:
Though I’m a proud St. Louis native, Nashville became home a few years ago when Vanderbilt sent the “fat” envelope (and a generous financial aid package). When I wasn’t in the practice room for my piano major or viola minor, you could find me at the Student Recreation Center or Hawkins Field, home of the 2014 National Champion Vanderbilt Commodores. Since the Blair School of Music didn’t want me haunting the corridors for years to come and my parents converted my old bedroom into an office, I moved north to start an MA/PhD program in American Studies and Sports Studies at the University of Iowa.
How we went from classical music performance to sport studies:
I realized fairly early on in my Bachelor of Music degree program that a career as a classical musician might not be a good long-term fit. Call it a sobering dose of reality about my own talent level or the realization I wanted to explore opportunities and develop skills that weren’t happening in the practice room (thank you to the Nashville Symphony for some fantastic internship experiences). I decided after one (1) microeconomics lecture that an MBA was not in my future and I should probably start figuring what to do after graduation.
Working as a T.A. in Vanderbilt’s Musicology and Ethnomusicology Dept. got me thinking about grad school as an intriguing possibility. Being one of those people who likes to read books, write papers, and such, sometime around the summer of 2012 I got the idea it could be “fun” to do a larger paper or research project.
The original plan was to research early 16th century German keyboard music……but something baseball-related seemed like a better fit since my German skills were not anything to write home about. Thinking (correctly) a thesis in ethnomusicology should probably have something to do with music, I landed on minor league baseball in music cities. The story of how I went from despising minor league baseball to wanting to research it may come up in a future post. Growing up in St. Louis, I knew from my own experience how important baseball can be for fans and communities, and I wanted to explore how music cultures and baseball communities were interacting in places known as “music cities.”
Thanks to a nifty program called the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program, I was able to spend the summer before senior year on a baseball road trip…….in the name of research. After 2 months sleeping in hotels and eating press box food, I showed up for senior year, convinced some combination of grad school and baseball research needed to be in my future. (Side note- you can read all about how the road trip and thesis project ended here.)
Through some expert guidance from incredible faculty mentors, I stumbled upon the field of American Studies and found a program at Iowa where folks were doing sport-culture research. After a harrowing grad school application process I never want to go through again, I was blessed with the opportunity to join Iowa’s program. Unfortunately Nashville’s weather decided not to come with.
Looking forward to using the blog as a platform to share research/teaching/grad school adventures…..and all the baseball. Welcome again, and thanks for coming along for the ride!