2023 Graduate Student Commencement Speaker Forges Dual Path in Music and Science

Emma Breen is finishing her master’s in trumpet functionality and preparing to continue her research at UCLA this fall as a doctoral student. She has also staked out terrain in the globe of science, a passion she holds equally with music and plans to continue. 

2023 Graduate Student Commencement Speaker Emma Breen

“You have to be versatile,” stated Breen, reflecting on her choices to pursue several paths. “And UCLA is a fantastic location to prepare for a profession in the twenty-initial century.” 

The 2023 Graduate Student Commencement Speaker came to UCLA extremely consciously. She chose UCLA more than the Royal Academy of Music, each mainly because she wanted to function with trumpet professor Jens Lindemann, and mainly because UCLA provided a distinctive sort of education.

“The Royal Academy is a lot much more classic in their strategy,” stated Breen. “I felt like UCLA would give me possibilities to do other intriguing issues, and that was fantastic. I was also fortunate to acquire a Mimi Alpert Foundation Scholarship, which seriously produced it feasible to come to LA.”

Breen has amassed pretty the record when performing her graduate function at UCLA. She was chosen to play with the Disney All-American College Band. She won the principal trumpet position in the American Youth Symphony. She is an active session recorder and has performed across the United States. 

“There are a lot of possibilities for musicians in Los Angeles,” stated Breen. “You have to retain your eyes open and be active. It can be a fantastic location to function.”

Prepping for a gig this May possibly at The Catalina Jazz Club

Breen has jumped with each feet into the life of a expert musician. In addition to recitals and performances with ensembles at UCLA, her most current session function contains recording for Unicorn, a forthcoming animated series on HBO by the director of The PowerPuff Girls. That in turn led to an invitation to play at Comic-Con in San Diego this summer season. And all of this came on major of becoming in a position of leadership with American Youth Symphony (AYS).

“It’s so a lot function,” stated Breen. “I got the most current music for AYS when the trumpet studio was in Boulder, Colorado for the national trumpet competitors. And I sat in the hotel space, seeking at the material, I believed to myself, ‘This is also a lot. I’m going to have to quit trumpet.’” 

But then Breen got to function, discovering that she was capable of finding out the music and preserving her demanding schedule. She credits the welcoming culture of the AYS. 

“Most of the other musicians are a small older than I am, and they have much more encounter,” stated Breen. “But they welcomed me correct in and they’ve been so supportive. It is seriously produced all the distinction.”

Then there’s Breen’s scientific function. Breen does not have an undergraduate background in science, but she has worked in a lab ever due to the fact higher college. As an undergraduate at Northwestern University, she was portion of the university’s famed Pinkett Lab as properly as the SONIC/ATLAS lab, collaborating with NASA’s lengthy-variety space missions by conducting cognitive study in each Russian and English. 

Straight from the Laboratory

How Breen ended up with 4 years of lab experience—without a single undergraduate science class—is a story we’ve covered prior to, and worth reading. But it was not just an undergraduate job. Breen presently conducts stem-cell study at the Zamudio Lab within UCLA’s Division of Molecular Cell Developmental Biology.

“Science is crucial to me,” stated Breen. “It feeds a portion of me that music does not. And I do not see a will need to make a selection among the two. I know that in some cases people today assume if you are not laser-focused on one particular factor you can not do it properly. But I disagree.”

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