Your Gifts at Work

Honors College Inspires Young Musician

Catrina Kim, a University of Houston Honors College graduate, credits the college’s Human Situation course with shaping her academic career. “The Human Situation courses were by far the most important, exciting and personally challenging classes I took as an undergraduate. It’s because of Human Situation that I added the Honors minor, Phronesis, and wrote a senior Honors Thesis on political philosophy.”

Catrina, who graduated UH with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in May 2013, grew up in a Chicago suburb as one of four daughters. Her older sister is completing the second year of medical school while the next youngest sister plans to follow in Catrina’s footsteps and attend UH next year as a Creative Writing and Linguistics double major. The youngest sister is in high school “still figuring it all out!” Catrina feels she and her siblings were very fortunate to have parents who supported each daughter’s abilities and passions, with one stipulation: pursue your dream with discipline and hard work. Catrina’s love of music was deepened and honed on her instrument of choice: the piano. She sent her audition tape and application to UH’s Moores School of Music, ranked nationally as a leading music college by World Ranking Guide.

“I received a letter in response inviting me to apply to the Honors College. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but I was intrigued by The Human Situation and attracted by the promise of smaller class sizes,” she says. Her decision to attend UH came to a crescendo when she discovered the scholarship opportunities. Although she was already a recipient of the National Merit Scholarship, that award did not cover all her living expenses. Through the Honors College, she received the Jane Cizik Scholarship and the University Community Scholarship, allowing her to pursue a stellar academic career. During her undergraduate years, Catrina performed three piano recitals, completed an Honors minor and Senior Honors Thesis, secured a UH Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and presented an original paper at a professional conference for music theory scholarship.

“It is because of generous UH alumni that I have been able to focus 100% on my academic goals,” she says. “Honors College scholarships have been critical to my success.”

Today, Catrina Kim is in the combined M.A. /Ph.D. program in Music Theory at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. She has been awarded the University of Rochester’s prestigious Sproull Fellowship, which will fund her studies for the next five years.

“I plan to give back to the Honors College, so that it can award scholarship assistance to deserving students,” she explains. “It is my obligation now to help the next generation of talented students.”