AVERY DAVIS ’16 was active in his high school music program in Gary, Ind., and intended to study music in college. After a visit to his school by Valpo’s Jianyun Meng, director of the Confucius Institute, Avery saw his future a little differently.
“Professor Meng came to my high school to teach Chinese music and Chinese language,” Avery says. “He was putting together a Chinese ensemble and suggested I join.” As a member of the ensemble, Avery traveled to China to study at the Shanghai Conservatory.
That experience inspired him to attend Valpo, where he explored his passions for both Chinese language studies and music. He also had the opportunity to return to China with Valparaiso University’s Concert Band.
A recipient of the C.V. Starr Scholarship, Avery received bachelor’s degrees in music and Chinese and Japanese studies. Demonstrating his belief that music is a universal language, he plans to teach English to Chinese students, using music as a common denominator.
At Valpo, Avery immersed himself into a learning environment that was a perfect fit and extended that experience across the University. He was an orientation assistant, a critical point of contact with incoming students, served on the Student Senate, and was a student photographer for the integrated marketing and communications office.
As a capstone to his undergraduate career, Avery integrated his music and Chinese studies into a research project titled “Ritual Music in China,” earning the Deans’ Choice Award at the 2016 Celebration of Undergraduate Scholarship.