QEP Excellence Award in Innovative Instruction

with TTU Provost Ghorashi 

I am very honored to be a recipient of the QEP Excellence Award for Innovative Instruction for my project during 2013-14. I first came across the QEP during my first year at Tennessee Tech when I attended the new faculty orientation. This program was implemented in early 2000s by TN Board of Regents and provides a significant amount of funding to encourage innovative instructional projects. The goal is to help students cultivate critical thinking, real-world problem solving, and communication skills. I have received funding from QEP for the past three consecutive years (over $10,000) that made several dream projects come into reality. Here are some examples, and you can read more about them here:

  • "Cultivating Musical Entrepreneurship through Chamber Music Ensembles"
  • "Reed-Making Workshop"
  • "How to Develop and Maintain Successful Private Studios" (to be implemented during 2014-15)

My foremost goal as a teacher is to help students develop the highest standards of musicianship and proficiency. But I also strongly believe that we need to do more:

  • Providing opportunities and seed projects for students to become self-driven 
  • Teaching all aspects of music entrepreneurship, including programming, publicity, fund-raising, soliciting, development, etc.
  • Giving students exposure to all available resources, technology, and cutting-edge ideas
  • Helping students develop specific goals for the next decade and long-term vision for the future
  • Instilling a sense of responsibility and vocation for their lives as musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs
  • Helping them to build their professional network early on 
  • The list is endless and is keep growing...

I feel very fortunate that my own teachers showed me many great examples back in school. I hope I can do the same. There are many challenges ahead for students pursuing musical career, but I am also genuinely excited for the tremendous opportunities awaiting them. 

Who doesn't like being given a plaque (and a $1,000 cash incentive)?

Reubin O'D Askew Young Alumni Award

Pictured at the 2014 Young Alumni Awards Dinner (left to right): Shayne Mifsud, Kevin Garvey, Wonkak Kim, Donna Lou Askew, Layla Dowdy, Carisa Champion-Lippmann and FSU Interim President Garnett Stokes.

I feel both incredibly honored and humbled to be one of the six recipients of the Florida State University's Reubin O'D Askew Young Alumni Award:

"The Florida State University Alumni Association’s Thirty Under 30 Award was created to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of FSU’s young alumni. Each recipient must show exceptional achievement and significant contributions to his or her profession, community/society or university. The recipient must exemplify outstanding professional and personal development either through traditional channels or innovative approaches.

"Up to six honorees may be chosen to also receive the Reubin O'D. Askew Young Alumni Award by members of the FSU Alumni Association National Board of Directors' Awards Committee. The Askew Award, presented for the first time in the spring of 2012, is the highest honor bestowed upon young alumni by the Alumni Association. "


The most exciting part was to meet with and get to know the fellow awardees and other Thirty under 30 inductees. They all had amazing stories to share, and the reception dinner was one inspiring evening! I look forward to continue making the best out of my career for many decades to come. I also feel immensely proud to be a Nole!

FSU Grads Made Good at FSU Alumni Center

Since I was in Tallahassee, I drove by the old apartment I used to live while in grad school. Nostalgia...

Alumni Dinner Reception. Nice food, isn't it?

Some goodies I get to keep!