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Emma Nussman receives Masini scholarship for leadership in marching band and beyond

A student plays the trombone during a recital

The Department of Music’s prestigious Toni Christine Masini Memorial Music Scholarship was awarded this year to Emma Nussman, a senior majoring in genetics and minoring in music performance and psychology. The Masini scholarship—the largest music scholarship offered at NC State—is awarded each year to one student who exemplifies academic and musical excellence, as well as leadership in the marching band. 

The scholarship is named in memory of Toni Masini who was first chair flute and piccolo in the Wind Ensemble during her time at NC State in the early 90s, and was actively involved in the marching band. 

“It has been an honor to be recognized by the Masini family in their daughter’s memory as the 27th scholarship recipient. It means a lot to me to know that my involvement in the music department has made an impact during my time at NC State,” said Nussman. “I, like many other previous recipients of this award, have spent countless hours in the practice room that was once Toni’s favorite and that now features a plaque in her honor. It is a very special feeling to be connected to her not only through this scholarship, but also through so many shared musical experiences at NC State.”

Nussman is similarly dedicated to her music studies at NC State and has actively sought opportunities to contribute to her ensembles and to the music department as a whole. She is a trombone section leader in the marching band and the principal trombonist in the Wind Ensemble. She has also performed with the music department’s jazz ensembles and orchestras, as well as in the pit orchestra for University Theatre’s production of Hairspray

“My experiences with the music department are what have truly made my experience at NC State so enjoyable,” she said. “Every fall, I have a blast with the Power Sound of the South supporting our athletic teams. Each semester it is a privilege to play excellent literature alongside other talented musicians in the Wind Ensemble. And each week I got to meet with my trombone professor to make strides towards perfecting my craft as a music performance minor.”

Nussman plans to pursue a career in medicine, but her music experiences at NC State are some of her fondest memories of her time here. “In the music department, I have made some of my closest friends and am surrounded by supportive mentors, admirable role models and passionate teachers in an environment that facilitates my growth as both a student and a musician,” she said.

Nussman’s academic achievements include being on the Dean’s List in the College of Sciences for the past six semesters as well as receiving the Wendell H. McKenzie Genetics Undergraduate scholarship for her academic achievements. She is involved in the Genetics Club and has worked as a Genetics Teaching Assistant and as a tutor for student athletes.

Emma Nussman with her music minor advisor Dr. Wes Parker during a marching band trip to France in the summer of 2019. Photo by Dan Jahn.

Though things have looked different both last spring and this fall, Nussman has continued to stay involved in her ensembles following the shift to online instruction. “In the wake of the pandemic, being able to make music virtually with both the marching band and the wind ensemble has given me a continued sense of connection to the groups that have come to mean the most to me,” she said. “Although it is not the same, our virtual performances will serve as a lasting representation of the resilience that my classmates and I have displayed in order to continue to do what we love. My senior year of band may not be anything like what I had imagined, but the pandemic has encouraged me to cherish the incredible musical experiences I have had at NC State that much more.”

Traditionally, Masini’s parents, Bob and Mickie, present the scholarship award to the recipient during halftime at a football game. This year, due to the pandemic and the shift to online classes, the Masinis came to campus to share their daughter’s story with the band and present the scholarship award during the last in-person marching band class in August. It was an experience Nussman said she’ll never forget. 

The Department of Music awards a variety of scholarships for its programs, including renewable performance scholarships. For more information on music scholarships at NC State visit https://performingartstech.dasa.ncsu.edu/scholarships/.