Kaylee Bernard is a 2016 recipient of the Blair F. Collings scholarship.

Please introduce yourself and what you currently do.
My name is Kaylee Bernard and I am currently a first-year PhD student in Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. In addition to being a full-time student, I serve as a teaching assistant and tutor for undergraduate music courses. I love teaching and it brings me a lot of joy to help students gain confidence in their skills and make meaningful connections between theory and practice. When I am not teaching or studying, I enjoy going on runs with my dog, Scout. A fun fact about me is that I have run several ultramarathons and hope to train for another in the coming years!
How has the Blair F. Collings scholarship impacted your educational journey?
Pursuing a college degree is expensive, particularly considering rising tuition and housing costs. I received the Blair F. Collings scholarship multiple times during my undergraduate studies and this not only alleviated much of the financial burden of finishing my degree, but it also allowed me to take more time away from my part-time jobs and focus on my academics. This included having the opportunity to compete in national chamber music competitions and travel to conferences around the world to network, perform, and learn more about my field. Those opportunities were invaluable in my preparation for graduate studies.
What is your advice to students who are interested in applying for the current Blair F. Collings Scholarship Program for 2024?
I know it can feel difficult to take the time to fill out the application, but there isn’t a single part-time job that can offer this amount of financial support with this amount of time investment. I had worried that I shouldn’t apply for this scholarship as a music education major, but I’m so glad I didn’t let that stop me. When the committee says anyone is welcome to apply, regardless of career choice, area of study, or grade level, they really mean it. In addition, articulating your goals is helpful in focusing your efforts. Each person is unique and has something special to offer. Your goals and dreams are valuable—share your passion with the committee!