When Alice Beals arrived at Roosevelt University in 2013, she knew no one and found herself very much on her own in building connections that would lead this month to her being selected as Roosevelt’s top senior and prestigious Illinois student laureate.
The 21-year-old music education major in Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) had developed a considerable network of engagement and service as a student at Franklin High School in Franklin Township, Somerset County, N.J.
Among achievements: the recent high school graduate had been student conductor for Franklin High’s award-winning Madrigal Singers, a member of the Honors Concert Choir, the chair of the Franklin Township Youth Council, a member of the National Honor Society, vice president of the school’s Amnesty International and a longtime active Girl Scout.
However, none of it prepared her for starting over at Roosevelt where she recalls being alone until a student colleague extended an invitation for Beals to join with other Roosevelt students on a group outing.
“I learned that all it really takes is the kindness of one person, and then the door can be opened. It’s a characteristic of the Roosevelt experience that I’ve come to love and want to pass on to others,” she said.
During her time at the university, Beals has excelled in her studies as a member of the dean’s list every semester, and has also achieved new heights on stage in singing roles, and as a director, choreographer and leader of CCPA’s Conservatory Chorus.
A founding member and officer of CCPA’s Mu Xi chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, co-president of the Music Conservatory’s chapter of the National Association for Music Educators and an alto in her free time with the St. James Episcopal Cathedral Choir in Chicago, Beals was nominated recently as Illinois student laureate with The Lincoln Academy in Springfield, Ill., jointly by three CCPA faculty members.
“Alice has been a phenomenal student to have in class. She asks thought-provoking questions, raises insightful points, encourages others and challenges us all to put forth our very best effort,” said Thomas Kernan, an assistant professor of music history and one of the CCPA professors who nominated Beals for the award.
“The music education major at Roosevelt is exceptionally demanding,” added Cheryl Frazes Hill, associate professor of music education and director of the CCPA Conservatory Chorus where Beals has been a leader in the alto section as well as a choral soloist.
“To see the things she’s achieved in such a short time on top of a busy schedule and some very demanding coursework is truly amazing,” added Frazes Hill.
Recently receiving the Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Medallion and the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award, Beals is now preparing for student teaching next semester at two Chicago public schools and for graduation in May 2017. She credits Roosevelt and its spirit of camaraderie for much of her success.
“It was literally a matter of someone extending an invitation to me. From there, I made a lot of friends and built an amazing web of support that’s gotten me to where I’m at today,” said Beals. “I learned it’s a Roosevelt tradition for students and professors to be kind to one another, and that’s something I strive as a Roosevelt student to always pass on to others.”