Elyse Smith

Elyse Smith
Major: Music Education – Vocal Concentration


Clearwater, Florida

High School

Cedar Ridge High School


Music Education – Vocal Concentration

Career Plans & Goals

After graduating, I plan on teaching for a few years to gain experience in the choral classroom. Afterwards, I will be pursuing my masters degree (and eventually my PhD). For my long-term vision, I hope to create my own business which will include spaces for all the arts to gather and collaborate.


Undergraduate Researcher (2018-2021) Lloyd International Honors College (2017-2021) Lead Singer/Lyricist for a local rock band Grabbing lots of coffee at Tate Street Coffee House

Why did you choose UNCG and specifically UNCG for the Arts?

I chose UNCG School of Music for the vast amount of opportunities, connections, and experiences. Each day, I wake up and I am so grateful for everything that I experienced here. Between the life long friendships, memories, experiences, and challenges, I am just forever grateful that I was able to be a part of it.

Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?

As a first-generation college kid, I had no idea what to expect coming to UNCG! I will say that it has been greater than I could ever imagine. It is worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears!

Peak experience?

Impossible to pick one… My top two are presenting my own research project at the Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo and performing my Senior Voice Recital.

What surprised you?

How much the professors care and pour into each of their students. Every one of my professors knew me by name, and consistently cared about how I was doing as an individual. I was never just another “face in the crowd”.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I would not be here without the support of my parents, my family, Dr. Nolker, and all of my loving friends. I truly have the best support system in the world!

What do you think you will miss the most after you graduate?

The people, the sound of music filling every corner of the building, the laughter, the conversations… the list goes on. The community of the School of Music is so special. When you are within those walls, you feel like you are at home.

Advice for the incoming class?

Be brave and fearlessly pursue your passions.

Describe the moment you knew you UNCG was for you (or alternatively the moment you knew you were in the right major):

I honestly felt it from day one. The faculty played a huge role in supporting me and making me feel known.

Your favorite place on campus and why?

The koi pond outside of the School of Music. There was something magical about sitting and staring at the water trickle down into the pond.

Your favorite professor or class and why?

Dr. Nolker is one-of-a-kind. He is brilliant, compassionate, and thoughtful. On a daily basis, he pushed me to my creative and intellectual limits. He introduced me to the world of research, and supported my curious mind from day one. He never let me quit or settle for less. I am forever grateful for him, and know that he will be a life-long mentor!

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