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Higher Education
San Jacinto College
News Release
Monday, August 05, 2013

Team effort lands big music scholarships

PASADENA, Texas – Music majors are often met with some pretty tough competition when auditioning for university scholarships, but with the right team, San Jacinto College students are landing some serious scholarship awards.

Once Emily Thomasson had her sights set on Baylor University, her next step included funding her education. With a little help from her San Jacinto College professors, Thomasson landed a full ride to Baylor, plus acceptance lessons from five other universities.

"Everyone in the San Jacinto College music department knows everyone. It really feels like a team effort," said Thomasson. "For most of us, our parents were not in music, and so the transfer process is a different world because of the preparation that is needed for auditions."

Thomasson is one of 55 music students from San Jacinto College to attend 18 universities over the past five years. Her peer, Oscar Cruz, received the prestigious Clara Fr. Nelson scholarship for $20,000 from the Texas Association of Music Schools (TAMS). Other scholarship recipients this year include Crystal Anaya, who will attend the University of North Texas on a $24,000 scholarship; and Mark Klinger, who received assistance for half of his out of state tuition to Belmont University.

Joseph Schenck, professor of music composition and theory, said the key to successfully sending transfers to major universities is to have them do their homework on their future goals.

"We make the students think about their transferring goals during their first year here and give them a university project homework assignment on their first day of their sophomore year," said Schenck. "They have to research the music department of their desired university and know who the contacts are in that music department."

Schenck said the next step involves learning how to find the money. Students are encouraged to audition at five to six universities to increase their chances at both being accepted into a music school and at increasing the amount of scholarships among the universities.

"They really encouraged me to apply and audition for as many as possible, until one day, I received a big scholarship," said Anaya.

Schenck added how he will often call around to the various music schools to assist with student transfers and the scholarship processes.

"Our students are not alone in going through the process," said Schenck. "We talk to the other schools to help find those scholarships. We not only serve as their teachers, but are happy to serve as their mentors and advisors."

Pictured: (front row, left to right) San Jacinto College music students, Mark Klinger, Oscar Cruz, Emily Thomasson, and Crystal Amaya. (back row, left to right) Eric Late, San Jacinto College department chair of music and audio engineering; Van Wigginton, San Jacinto College provost; and Joseph Schenck, San Jacinto College professor of music composition and theory. Photo credit: Amanda L. Booren, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook at

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