Marshall music students selected to study in Brazil

Marshall University faculty members Dr. Ben Miller (left) and Julio Alves; music students Brittany White, Dylan Elder, and Michael Pitaniello; and Dr. Jeff Pappas, chair of the music department, pause for a photo after the FIPSE fellows were named at the 2010 College of Fine Arts Award Convocation in April.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Three Marshall University music students have received fellowships to study in Brazil during the spring semester of 2011 as part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The fellowship awards were sponsored by the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) United States-Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program. Marshall’s Department of Music was awarded $500,000 to implement this consortium.

The three FIPSE Fellows are Dylan Elder, a trumpet/music education major from Huntington, W.Va, and Brittany White, a flute/music performance major from Princeton, W.Va., both of whom will be studying at the Universidade Federal de Goias (UFG) in Goinia; and Michael Pitaniello, a guitar/music performance major from Barboursville, W.Va., who will be studying at the Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (UDESC).

The students were selected as a result of a competitive application process that included musical ability, academic achievement, a written essay and references from faculty members.

During the coming fall semester, the American students will be receiving Portuguese language instruction as well as classes in Brazilian culture. In January 2011, the students will travel to Brazil for an intensive, month-long cultural and language immersion to prepare them for classes, which begin in February.

The FIPSE Fellowships are one part of the MAGNETS (Music Abroad Generating New Experiences for Talented Students) Exchange Program funded by the U.S. Department of Education and its counterpart in the Brazilian Ministry of Education. Marshall University’s American partner in the program is Morehead State University. The four-year program includes Brazilian students from UFG and UDESC studying at Marshall and Morehead State as well as exchanges of music faculty from the American and Brazilian universities.

In October 2009, Brazilian faculty visited Marshall and Morehead State and presented a series of concerts, as well as clinics and master classes, and gave private lessons. Brazilian students will be studying at Marshall and Morehead during the fall semester 2010 and music faculty from both American universities will be traveling to the two Brazilian universities during the 2010-11 academic year.

Elder says he is taking this opportunity as a great learning experience. He said there are several advantages to studying abroad and he hopes to get the most out of his experience.
“I hope to gain a better command of the Portuguese language, an understanding of the culture of Brazil, to grow as a musician, person, and well represent Marshall University,” Elder said.

The three students will spend a little more than five months abroad.


Contact: Jaye Ike, College of Fine Arts, 304-696-3296