How would you describe your sense of style?
I would describe it as “yassified grandma.” I really like wearing skirts and turtlenecks. I like to wear basics, but I try to dress up in more than just t-shirts and sweats for all occasions. Nothing wrong with sweats! I just like wearing things that I think a grandmother would wear for her “Sunday brunch” except just every day.
Do you have any specific inspirations for how you dress?
I really am inspired by Elle Woods from “Legally Blonde.” Despite the judgment, she never failed to be proud of how femininely she presented, even in male-dominated fields. I don’t think there’s enough femininity in computer science, so I try to bring that energy in.
How do you think of an outfit to wear for the day? Do you have a process you go through?
I usually dress for comfort or based on what the weather is like. But if I have a big common or final on that day, I make sure I dress extra femininely. I’m trying to channel Elle Woods in that final scene where she absolutely slam-dunks the case she’s working on. So, I figure if I dress like her, maybe I’ll pass the test, and if I don’t pass, at least I look cute. Haven’t failed a common yet, so I’m gonna keep up that strategy!
What’s your favorite piece of clothing to wear?
My newest favorite addition to my clothes is my “cookie clips!” I found these clips that I can pin in my hair and they look like those Danish Butter Cookies. I’m going to be wearing them all the time this semester! So excited. However, my Velcro Nike Strawberry Shoes come in a close second. They’re Velcro so I don’t have to worry about laces. It’s the best!
Do you think there’s a connection between the way you dress and your musical interests?
Whenever I do a concert, the director usually requires us to wear concert black and white. Even though concert attire is very basic, I try my best to add a little “Hope” flair, like a little red bow to accent!
What were some of your first interactions with music? How did you first get into it?
I’ve been playing classical piano since 2nd grade. Midway through high school, I took up percussion. I took piano lessons with an incredible woman named Dr. Mariam Alunkal all the way through high school. She was actually the one who recommended I apply to NJIT. I really started getting into music after listening to my high school’s marching band. I was stunned at how physicality interlaced with musicality on the field. Particularly, I loved the sound of the marimba, and the strength and discipline it takes to produce that warm sound. It sounds dorky but since then, I would watch DCI performances in my high school’s library and literally sob. I’m talking open mouth, ugly crying; this was in public, might I add — not my proudest moment. I was just so moved by the dedication these musicians put into their craft. Since then, I’ve been hooked on music and all things with percussion.
Who are some of your musical inspirations in your personal life?
In my personal life, I really look up to my friend Oladipo George. He was a major mentor figure in my high school life and the one who taught me four-mallet techniques when I first started getting into it. He was there to push me to be better and help me bandage the blisters on my fingers after practicing so much. Because I decided to pursue computer science, I couldn’t pursue the marching arts. But Oladipo is a student in Temple University and has marched competitively. Even though I play music recreationally now, I see the work Oladipo puts into his competitions and music composition degree. This motivates me to replicate that passion when I study for my exams.
Who are some of your musical inspirations outside of your personal bubble?
I really look up to Evelyn Glennie. She’s this extraordinary percussionist who is almost completely deaf. Despite this, she finds different ways to experience music. It’s really indescribable — the work she does. I have several musical inspirations besides her. I would love to see Jacob Collier or Gary Burton in concert. Silk Sonic’s newest album is something I’ve had on repeat since it’s released. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a groove like Silk Sonic’s on the radio. When I’m on campus, I usually have my headphones blasting Kendrick Lamar or Jack Harlow, so if I look menacing, now you know why. Also, Dua Lipa and Doja Cat? I would die for those women. They’re unbelievable.
What are some of your favorite parts of being in music ensembles?
By far the best part of being part of music ensembles is the people I get to meet. In each group, all members have an appreciation for music, and it’s nice to have the opportunity to share it with others. I now have an incredible group of friends to share inside jokes with and music recommendations too. The closest friends I’ve ever had I made through musical ensembles. Like my best friend Ivy Sosing! When I was a high schooler, I was that band kid and would read her sheet music in class. But it turns out that a lot of the people in Pep Band, Jazz Band and Wind Band were also band kids. It’s nice to know despite our differences, there’s a small community in NJIT where the dorky band kids can reunite.