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Great Starts: Kieran Wallace ’19
Portrait of student Kieran Wallace

Great Starts: Kieran Wallace ’19

From time to time, we like to showcase a new SNC grad who’s entered the workplace or grad school. Success stories like these are pretty common. In fact, 95 percent of SNC's Class of 2022 alumni who responded to a survey said they were employed, in grad school or doing service work within nine months of graduating.

Hometown: Appleton, Wis.
Graduation year: 2019
Degree: Bachelor of Arts (music liberal arts and leadership studies minor)
Plans after graduation: Kieran is attending Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain, beginning in August 2019.

How did you decide on St. Norbert?

I didn’t know St. Norbert existed when I was in high school. I planned to go to Marquette or Stevens Point. But my cousin graduated from here and my dad came here for a year. The education department is so well known, I thought it was interesting. The website convinced me that between the education program and the music program, this school made the most sense. I applied and deposited before I even came to visit.

Any early influences at SNC?

My second week of school, Professor Rosewall found me and introduced himself. He said my music teacher told him I was coming. Later, he stopped me again and said he noticed that I spent more time in the music building than any other building on campus. He got me thinking that music was my passion, and I thought I also wanted to be teaching, so I ended up switching over to music ed.

How did the opportunity to attend grad school in Spain come about?

Ultimately, I decided I didn’t want to teach. I then settled on an advanced degree in music technology as my focus. The degree is very broad and very versatile, and includes music, production, technology and innovation. With it, I can pursue anything – from working in broadcasting, to working for a news station or radio station, to working on movies – maybe post-production on the next big Disney movie. There isn’t a music technology program at SNC, so I became interested in grad school. Professor Rosewall helped me find some schools and programs. Even though I had no real background in music technology, he reminded me I was going to grad school to learn. When I mentioned Berklee, he was like, “Sure! It’s always great to dream big, but also find some schools that are a safe bet,” which I totally understood. My first yes was from NYU Steinhardt, and then I got a yes from Berklee! I just sat there staring at my email!

How do you think your SNC education contributed to your acceptance?

My musicianship is at a very high level. Being a music education major, I had to learn all the instruments, so I know all the brass, all the woodwinds, all the strings and all the percussion. I had to take a methods class on all of them. My musicianship as a whole was developed by the faculty here, and I think that’s why I got in. Some of the better-known music undergrad programs don’t take into account what having a faculty member work closely with you does for you. The nice thing about SNC is the faculty involvement. Who they are and how they teach is amazing. Because of them, I was able to grow a lot as a musician. Leadership is also a big part of the Berklee program and I have a leadership studies minor. After all, music is all about collaboration and working with people, so I think they liked that aspect about my experience, too.

Who else shaped your SNC experience?

Shelly Mumma (Leadership, Student Engagement and First-Year Experience) taught me a lot. I had several of her classes and she has been my boss for three years. She took an interest in my leadership growth and helped me learn to manage people. I don’t think I would have gotten into Berklee without her. Professor Cook was always around to help me screw my head back on. Switching my mind so many times, I was always stopping in her office saying, “Help me figure out my life!” She always reminded me that nobody is good at everything; pick what really matters to you, what you enjoy doing, and do your best in that.

What did you do outside the classroom?

I joined Tau Kappa Epsilon, a campus fraternity, my freshman year. It opened lots of doors. Many of the guys are involved in the arts. It helped me branch out and get involved. I also joined a lot of music clubs like Knight Theatre and Jazz Combo. TKE left a big impact on me because you’re able to be a leader.

What are your future ambitions?

I’m looking at working in post-production – taking sound clips and piecing things together. The Berklee program also focuses on innovation so I think about working at Sony or in the creative department somewhere to help find the next big thing.