Endless Opportunity:  Valpo STEM Students Pursue Multiple Passions



Thanks to the tenacity of Alison Norris ’17, Valpo is home to a chamber music ensemble nicknamed the “STEM-quintet,” enabling a group of five individuals with varying interests to incorporate their love for music into their arduous academic schedules.

“I chose to attend Valparaiso University for countless reasons — my mother’s alma matter, premier engineering program, and endless opportunity,” Alison says. “At Valpo, I have not only been able to explore my interests, I have been encouraged and inspired to do so.”

Alison, who recently graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering, was a member of the Symphony Orchestra throughout her four years on campus. While Valpo’s music department offers an array of options for non-majors, when Alison sought to expand her musical involvement by joining a woodwind quintet, there were no openings for a flautist. Thus, with the approval of the music department, Alison took initiative to create an additional quintet.

“Many music departments are hesitant to allow non-majors to participate in their ensembles, but at Valpo, it is not only allowed, it is encouraged and supported by other departments and the University at large,” says Ericka Grodrian, D.M., associate professor of music. “Students here are inspired to create their own opportunities. When students take initiative, some truly incredible and fulfilling things can happen for them.”

Launched in fall 2015, the quintet is comprised of all STEM majors — Brian Thomson ’17, mathematics major, clarinet; Timothy Henderson ’20, engineering major, oboe; Sarah Kuchel ’19, electrical and computer engineering major, bassoon, Janelle Wigal ’18, electrical engineering major, French horn; and Alison, mechanical engineering major, flute.  Read more…

 Valpo Welcomes Visiting Faculty Organist


Valparaiso University is pleased to welcome Dr. Sunghee Kim as Visiting Assistant Professor in Music and the Interim Director of Chapel Music, beginning in Fall 2017. She will additionally serve as University Organist and conductor of the University Kantorei.


Dr. Kim holds degrees from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the University of North Texas and Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea.  An accomplished organist, she is a former first prize winner in the Fort Wayne National Organ Playing Competition.  She comes to Valpo, having served in a faculty appointment at Pennsylvania Sate University at Abington and as Director of Music at Concordia Lutheran Church in Wilmington, Delaware.