Sawyer Strickland, a first-year graduate student from Morris, is pursuing a masters degree in music education, instrumental. In addition to working as a graduate assistant with JSU Bands Program, he was just appointed to the Randy Owens Center for the Performing Arts Planning Committee as the graduate student representative.
When did you know that JSU was the right school for you?
My parents both marched in the Marching Southerners and graduated from JSU in the 80s, so I grew up coming to JSU football games and Southerners Reunions. I always knew that I wanted to go to JSU to march in the Marching Southerners, so I only applied to JSU when the time came to choose a school to attend.
What are some benefits of your major?
As a Music Education major, the benefits of attending JSU are outstanding. Not only do you receive high quality instruction in music classes and education classes, you also create connections all across the country.
What is your favorite thing about JSU?
My favorite thing about JSU is the students. Everyone is friendly and helps solidify JSU’s saying of “Friendliest Campus in the South.”
What clubs/organizations are you involved in?
I am currently one of the Graduate Teaching Assistants for the Music Department. This job allows me to work with the Marching Southerners, Chamber Winds, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and many more groups in an administrative role. I also play French horn in the JSU Civic Orchestra, JSU Brass Choir, and JSU Horn Choir.
What is one way that you have grown during your time at JSU?
In my time at JSU, I have grown to become more outgoing and personable. Coming in as a freshman, I was shy and quiet, but through the years, I have grown to be more confident in myself.
What is your favorite course that you have taken?
My favorite course that I have taken is Advanced Conducting with Dr. Bodiford. Not only did we conduct, we also did a lot of preparation for being a band director.
Any recent accomplishments?
I was recently hired as one of the Graduate Teaching Assistants for the Music Department, I graduated from JSU with my Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in May, and I recently got engaged!
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
After I graduate, I plan on beginning a job search to be a band director.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
A fun fact about me is that my fiancée and I have a mini schnauzer named Margot.
What advice do you have for first-year students?
Be yourself and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are made so that we can learn from them and be better!