Graduate and Professional School Student Appreciation Week profile: Nyssa Brown


Graduate and Professional School Student Appreciation Week profile: Nyssa Brown

The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students sponsors this week's celebration of graduate and professional student contributions to our campuses, government and communities. Throughout the week, Bulletin Today is publishing short profiles of St. Thomas graduate students, courtesy of Brian Dusbiber, director of the Student Affairs Life/Work Center on UST's Minneapolis campus. Here's the fourth profile.

By Brian Dusbiber, director, Student Affairs Life/Work Center (with excepts from Indiana University's Web site)

Looking to improve her professional practice and teaching, Nyssa Brown is pursuing a Master of Arts in music education at St. Thomas . She readily admits that she came to St. Thomas because she believed so strongly in Dr. Jill Trinka as a music educator.   Balancing a full-time job as a elementary school music specialist, family responsibilities and going to school has been challenging at times, but she believes the challenges are worthwhile.

One of Brown's biggest obstacles has been finding and dedicating sufficient time to produce quality work and teaching herself. She believes that her professors have impacted profoundly her teaching and how she approaches the pedagogy of music education. She has grown in her ability to practice meticulous methodology. At UST Dr. Douglas Orzolek has been particularly effective in introducing her to constructivist education, and Dr. Bruce Gleason has a source of strength for her writing development. She has also come to a deeper understanding of “putting things in context of global perspectives.” Brown believes her education has prepared her well for her next career transition -- to a statewide position that impacts the staff development and coaching of teachers.  

Brown is an elementary music specialist at Park Spanish Immersion School in St. Louis Park .  Last year she was chosen by Education Minnesota, a state affiliate of NEA and AFT, to represent Minnesota at the national level in NEA’s Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. Brown was one of 10 finalists for 2004 Minnesota Teacher of the Year and received a prestigious Milken Educator Award in 2004 from the Milken Family Foundation.  She is a faculty member of the Kodály Levels Courses at Indiana University and James Madison University .  She also has spent time in Namibia and South Africa teaching and learning music and has participated in the Eastman School of Music's Umculo: The Kimberley Project.  She also studied in Hungary at the Kodály Institute's summer seminar.  She released her first CD in October 2000, "Packwood or Paradise."

Her experience working on state wide and national music education boards and her education has prepared her for future professional responsibilities. Her master's thesis will be written in the coming months, and she hopes to complete it in December.