collegiate membership

The NAfME Collegiate Advisory Council is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Professional Achievement Awards and the Chapter of Excellence Award recipients. These individuals and chapters have worked tirelessly to advance the field of music education, and we applaud their efforts.

2020 Professional Achievement Award Recipients:

The purpose of the Professional Achievement Award is to recognize individual NAfME Collegiate members for their commitment and dedication to NAfME and music education. This recognition is given to Collegiate members who have served their chapters in an exemplary manner.

  • Marissa Altendorfer, University of WisconsinRiver Falls, River Falls, Wisconsin

Marissa Altendorfer has used her time in NAfME Collegiate to serve at the local, state, and national levels. She currently serves as President of the NAfME Collegiate Chapter at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where she has planned social events, conducted monthly meetings, and has overseen the chapter’s education initiatives. As a student leader for Wisconsin’s NAfME Student Advisory Council, Marissa is one of two student representatives on the Wisconsin Music Educators Association Advocacy Committee. Last summer, Altendorfer attended the 2019 NAfME Collegiate Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC, where she shared her story with national leaders in an effort to advocate for music education.

  • Alexis Newman, University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Alexis Newman has served as Social Media Chairperson on the University of Arkansas–Fayetteville’s NAfME Collegiate Chapter’s Executive Committee and is the chairperson for the Special Projects committee. Her dedication to music education continued when she represented her university at the 2019 NAfME Collegiate Advocacy Summit. During her participation in the summit, Alexis gained an increased desire to affect change in music education. From this experience, she created the first Music Education Advocacy Day in the state of Arkansas, working alongside the Arkansas Music Education Association’s board to plan and coordinate the event.

  • Brendon Culloton, University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, Urbana, Illinois

Brendon Culloton’s advisors regard his commitment and dedication to music education as a model work ethic. As President of the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign NAfME Collegiate Chapter, Brendon coordinated professional development events for his chapter members, which included inviting guest speakers to present on an array of topics and coordinating opportunities for members to teach in local schools. Culloton has facilitated travel to the Illinois Music Educators Association state conference, where he presented his research project entitled “Scratching, Beat Matching, and Phrase Catching: A DJing Workshop.” He has also served on the School of Music Director’s Advisory Board where Brendon has made it a point to advocate for diversity in support of undergraduate music education students.

  • Tai Knoll, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio

Tai Knoll is a remarkable leader, scholar, and musician, according to her professors. Tia currently serves as President of the Bowling Green State University’s NAfME Collegiate Chapter and has made recruitment a top priority, nearly doubling the chapter’s active members. During her leadership, Knoll has connected her chapter to the community via peer-teaching programs, sectional instruction at local schools, and fundraising for local music programs. She has also encouraged members of her chapter to participate in professional development opportunities, such as attending the Ohio Music Educators conference. Beyond her work with NAfME, Tia strives to personally connect with K–12 music programs by volunteering her time to teach students.

  • Kimberly Rosenbaum, Hofstra University, Long Island, New York

Kimberly has been a leader of the NAfME Collegiate chapter at Hofstra University since the beginning of her membership. She served as the Freshman Representative of their NAfME Student Board in 2018, was Vice President in 2019–2020, and will serve as the chapter’s newly elected President this coming school year. During her leadership, Kimberly has worked locally to manage student events in the community and has organized fundraisers and service events for her chapter. Rosenbaum’s work has also gone beyond the local level, organizing a trip for fellow NAfME Collegiate members to attend the annual Collegiate Advocacy Summit. As a representative for the NYSSMA Collegiate Chapters, Kimberly has brought together several universities in an effort to assist with further student initiatives.

  • Iris Ramirez, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Iris’s professors have noted she is an extremely hard-working pre-service music educator. She has served as President of the University of Tulsa NAfME Collegiate Chapter, tripling the number of chapter members, and working with her fellow officers to completely rewrite the chapter bylaws. Ramirez has also served as Editor of the Collegiate Oklahoma Music Education Association’s Executive Board. Her dedication and hard work in this role led to her election as President-Elect for the coming year. Her advocacy work to promote music education extends beyond NAfME through her participation in other organizations on and around campus and the community.

  • Christina Fray, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, New York

Christina is a leader of both The College of Saint Rose NAfME Collegiate Chapter and in her state. She has served as President and Vice President of her chapter and served as a representative of the Collegiate NYSSMA state board during the 2018–2019 school year. Christina also served as coordinator of presenters for the Collegiate NYSSMA professional development conference, working closely alongside the NYSSMA Membership Chair to organize schedules of presenters and volunteers during the conference. Besides her wonderful accomplishments with NAfME, Christina is active in mentorship and support of her chapter members and exemplifies what her advisors believe will be a life-long dedication to music education.

  • Samantha Bream, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, New York

Samantha Bream currently serves as President of The College of Saint Rose NAfME Collegiate Chapter. During her presidency, she organized a trip for her collegiate members to the 2019 NYSSMA Conference and began a mentorship with the NYSSMA Advocacy Chair that resulted in the first collegiate advocacy day in New York State. Samantha’s advocacy efforts continued as she designed a trip to the New York State Legislative Office Building where she organized housing for students from other campuses and provided transportation for her fellow chapter members. Bream’s hard work through her chapter and conference participation has allowed her to develop many valuable skills and become a strong advocate for music education.


2020 Chapter of Excellence Award Recipients:

The Chapter of Excellence Recognition was developed to encourage chapters to plan and execute successful chapter Music Programs, Professional Development Projects, Recruitment Techniques, Advocacy, and Service Projects. Recognition of excellent projects is conferred annually and is based on activities completed by the chapter between January 1 and December 31 of the year prior. Chapters are evaluated on participation, commitment, creativity, impact, organization, uniqueness, and visibility.

  • Music Program: VanderCook College of Music, Chicago, Illinois

The VanderCook College of Music NAfME Collegiate Chapter created a music event where the students of VanderCook College of Music and Illinois Institute of Technology came together to enjoy performances at their shared campus’s recreational area, The Bog. Selections from the evening included a wide variety of pieces from classical composers to mariachi songs, culminating in an exciting musical experience for students, family, and members of the community. In addition to the “Night at the Bog,” the chapter hosted their first ever Back to School Recital in an effort to welcome new students to the college and connect them with returning students.

  • Professional Development: Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio

The Bowling Green State University NAfME Collegiate Chapter has hosted many wonderful professional development opportunities for their members, including a bimonthly guest speaker series during which music teachers, alumni, and faculty are invited back to campus to present on a range of topics for music educators. Probably their most impressive development opportunity has been their simulation of a networking event. Members prepared by presenting on networking strategies and setting personal goals for their networking. Students, faculty, administrators, and local music educators then came together to practice networking in a professional manner and developed skills that could then be used at in-service conferences throughout the year.

  • Recruitment: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

During the 2019–2020 academic year, the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign NAfME Collegiate Chapter successfully grew their chapter membership to 60 students, encompassing 43% of the school’s music education students. The recruitment efforts of the chapter included a scavenger hunt for new students after their first chapter meeting of the year, hosting an information table during new student orientation, and increasing their online and social media presence. Chapter members have volunteered their time during School of Music events to make their chapter more visible and routinely host student-led professional development sessions to encourage attendance at meetings.

  • Service: University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, Fayetteville, Arkansas

The University of Arkansas–Fayetteville NAfME Collegiate Chapter collaborated with the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra to start The Classical Kids Club, a way to involve young children in the classical concert experience. While parents attended the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts, chapter members acted as teaching artists to provide a fun learning environment for classical music catered to children ages 5 to 12. Lessons included learning folk dances, playing games, creating compositions, and STEAM activities that corresponded with the pieces performed during the concerts. This service has allowed children to stay engaged while their parents enjoy the concert experience. Concert goers have regarded how much they enjoy the program and the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra has seen an increase in concert attendance from young families.


Learn more about the NAfME Collegiate program.

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

July 14, 2020


  • Uncategorized


July 14, 2020. © National Association for Music Education (

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