Connecting personal interests to a global mission
Degree Program: Musicology
Award: Legacy Fellowship (2018)
Video Credit: Natalia Lopez
What brought Vivianne to FSU was a professor who she felt inspired by, Eva Amsler, professor of flute in the FSU College of Music. “She (Eva Amsler) was in Bolivia when I didn’t even know how to speak English; she did a performance there and I was like: Wow!” Professor Amsler is originally from Switzerland, so the first time Vivianne saw her perform she thought, “Man, I guess I’ll have to learn German or another language so I can go and study in Europe.” A year later, Vivianne exchanged some words in English with Professor Amsler, and she expressed how eager she was to learn from her. Eva told her she was moving to the U.S. and had just received a position to teach at FSU. Vivianne decided to come to FSU to pursue a master's in musicology.
When asked what her hobbies are, Vivianne responded: “I do music, music is my passion, my profession, my hobby.” In addition to music, she also enjoys keeping herself active by swimming and doing pilates. She loves hanging out with friends and finds organizations and leadership in the university environment very exciting.
Experience as an International Student at FSU
“When I came to Tallahassee, I had an assistantship for teaching music. That was a great help, but it wasn’t enough. As an international student, there’s only a few hours that I can work a week, so juggling finances and my academic studies was a struggle." Vivianne stated that the College of Music has lived up to her standards and, in many ways, surpassed them.
Life at FSU after joining HiGSA
Vivianne joined the Hispanic Graduate Student Association (HiGSA) a year after it was founded. At the time she didn’t have a lot of Hispanic friends, she said, only one or two. HiGSA made her feel at home. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's made at FSU. Vivianne's humor is in Spanish even though the words are in English, so sometimes she makes jokes that make no sense to people, and they give her weird looks, all in love! HiGSA affirmed her energy. She would make a joke and get a giggle. "I thought: they understand what I’m saying, I’m not crazy anymore!" Vivianne later became president of the association and has remained involved.
Opportunities at FSU
"FSU provides so many resources," Vivianne said. "Coming from a developing country, you must struggle for everything. Here, there are so many opportunities. You learn your way here. I didn’t know I could apply for so many things. Oftentimes, I would question if I could receive something, and if I deserved to receive something. You must be politically related if you want to receive a scholarship in my home country. The resources at FSU have boosted my energy, my creativity, and given me the confidence that I can do anything."
Vivianne states that coming to FSU has allowed her to do so much more, like creating a quartet of flutes comprised of great performers. She feels she has had the support of the university and her professors along her graduate journey. She even traveled to Costa Rica to represent the College of Music last year.
Graduate School Accomplishments
Vivianne was chosen to play on the concert stage of the Berlin Philharmonie with another ninety-one amateur musicians. The BE PHIL Orchestra education program received 1,000 applications from all over the world and selected only ninety-two. They will perform Johannes Brahms's First Symphony under the musical direction of the famous Sir Simon Rattle. She also recently won the 2018 Graduate Student Leadership Award, chosen by a selection committee of university faculty and co-sponsored by the Graduate School and the Congress of Graduate Students (COGS). Vivianne was also selected as the inaugural recipient of the Center for Leadership and Social Change Rosalina Gonzales Award.
Advice for perspective graduate students
"Universities are centers for learning, an opportunity to grow at all levels. Regardless of what you do, you’re going to get something from it. If given the opportunity to attend graduate school, receive it with an open mind."