Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Music Major Receives Prestigious Texas Association of Music Schools Scholarship

KINGSVILLE - June 26, 2014

Contact: Lauren Pastran
or 361-593-3901


Paloma Pedraza is a small town girl growing up to do big things.

Pedraza, second year music major, is one of several 2014 Texas Association of Music Schools’ Clara Freshour Nelson Music Scholarship recipients.  The award gives $6,000 a year, $3,000 a semester, for seven semesters, as long as recipients keep up a GPA of at least 2.5 and continue majoring in music.

Pedraza, 19, was born in Brownsville. Her family soon moved to San Benito, Texas. Pedraza is the oldest of six children and the only girl.

She comes from a musically inclined family.

            Her parents participated in music through ministry, with her mother as a singer and her father as an evangelist. Pedraza joined her mother in singing during services. Her uncle, who plays every instrument, teaches music lessons and has his own musical group. Also, her cousin was a two-year Texas All-State tuba player and now plays for the Army Band.  Growing up around music, it was a very easy decision for Pedraza to join the middle school band.

           “Well, I got tired of singing, and all my friends were going to play flute,” Pedraza said, which motivated her to learn the flute. The instrument was the perfect fit for her.

           Pedraza had a successful high school career. Her junior and senior year, she made the Texas All-State band for the 5A division. Pedraza was ready for college—she just wasn’t sure which one. She had a few in mind. Texas A&M University-Kingsville was among them.

          “I was encouraged to move out of the valley for college. Part of my decision was because I received a lot of financial aid. The second reason was because Dr. Elizabeth Janzen, assistant professor of flute at A&M-Kingsville, wouldn’t stop calling me, like every other day asking if I had made a decision yet. No other professor emailed me or showed interest in me,” Pedraza said.

          She has completed her very busy first year at A&M-Kingsville. She participated in the Javelina Marching band, Wind Symphony and the Flute Choir. She has also found a love of history and decided to continue her education and work on getting her minor in that. Along with all of the busyness of the semester, Pedraza was nominated for  The Clara Freshour Nelson Music Scholarship by Janzen.

         “I nominated Paloma because from the minute she started at A&M-Kingsville, she demonstrated an exemplary work ethic and passion for learning music and improving herself,” Janzen said. “But what really impressed me was how she made every effort to share those gifts with her fellow freshmen, taking time to help others in areas where they struggled, to the benefit of the entire flute studio.”

        The scholarship is open only to college freshmen who receive a nomination. Also, students can only apply during their second semester. Applicants must submit an essay and a recording of them playing their instrument. Students from all over the state are nominated, but only a few are selected. The scholarship is open to students from four-year state universities, four-year private universities and two-year colleges.

        After getting her bachelor’s, Pedraza wants to continue her education in music and earn a master’s degree. For now, she is exactly where she wants to be.

       “It was really rough at first to adapt to the change, but at the end of my first semester, I’m glad I chose this place,” she said.

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This page was last updated on: June 26, 2014