Undergraduate Receives Research Award

Jane Sylvester captures first-place honors in MSU research and arts forum.

A senior in the MSU College of Music was among the top award winners at the 2014 MSU Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum in early April.

Jane Sylvester received first place in the Humanities and Performing Arts Oral Presentation for her musicology research. Nearly 700 students from 13 different colleges participated in the annual forum that provides MSU undergraduates the opportunity to share their scholarship and creative activity with faculty, peers, and external audiences. The UURAF is co-sponsored by the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and the Honors College.

“I was really honored and very surprised,” says Sylvester who graduates this spring. “I have a lot of confidence in my research, but it was rewarding to see others see the value, too.”

Sylvester presented The Miller and the Brook: Distinctions Between Man and Feminized Nature in Schubert’s Song Cycle Die Schöne Müllerin (1823). Her research, she says, examines the various social and historical forces that affected the themes, nuances, and song cycles of Schubert's work, while also addressing the role and treatment of women in the early 19th century.

Sylvester only recently began her study musicology in addition to earning a double major in music education and saxophone performance. She says musicology allows her to explore a multitude of disciplines in relation to music and to increase her versatility as a performer and educator.

“Jane is especially remarkable since we've only been working together for the last three and a half months,” says Assistant Professor of Musicology Marcie Ray who served as Sylvester's presentation adviser. “The fact that she won this award so early in her career as a musicologist is testament to her native abilities and her hard work.”

As a first place recipient, Sylvester's presentation is eligible for the UURAF grand prize awarded in June. Sylvester plans to student teach elementary education this fall and to explore options for graduate studies in musicology.

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