Two students, a faculty member and an alumnus from the University of Indianapolis Department of Music were honored for their contributions to music education by the National Association for Music Education on Jan. 17.
Senior music education major Jacqueline Wiernicki and junior music education major Anna Miller both received the Outstanding Future Educator Award. Associate Professor and Director of Music Education Programs and Assistant Dean of the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences Brenda Clark received the Outstanding Collegiate Educator Award. Mick Bridgewater received the title of Outstanding Hoosier Musician.
According to Clark, in order to be considered for the awards, applicants submitted an essay describing the work they have done to complete their degree, evidence of service work and leadership, and their grade point average. Clark then sent the applications off to a state collegiate board for a blind review where applicants are judged based on the content of their essay.
Clark said that when members of the department receive such awards, the program receives more recognition throughout the state and have received national attention in the past.
She also said that when students go to the conference, they are able to advance their careers when they receive an honor from NAfME. Clark said it is an opportunity to attract attention and network with established professionals in the field.
“The conference at which they are given is attended by folks from the region and nationally,” Clark said. “Those folks become aware of them [the award winners] because we have overtime been pretty consistent about the number of students each year who have received the award. This exposure serves to elevate our [UIndy] recognition and respect from our colleagues in the profession.”
With this year’s win, Clark became the first person to receive the Outstanding Collegiate Educator Award—which she first won in 2013—twice. Clark is the first person to receive the Outstanding Collegiate Educator Award twice.
Clark explained that the nomination for the award is given anonymously and is based on the instructor’s body of work, service to the university and their profession, as well as advancing all things relating to music education.
Wiernicki said that she included her service work in schools and private lessons to students as part of her application. She also detailed her experience teaching jazz improvisation skills to violin students, as well as the violin and piano lessons she provides at Guitar Works in Greenwood.
Wiernicki said that it was validating to receive the award in acknowledgment of her effort because it reinforces her confidence and reminded her that she is ready once she graduates from UIndy.
“It felt very gratifying and that it’s wonderful to have all of my hard work recognized and rewarded and I was just really happy,” Wiernicki said.