Hunter's Muse Scholars are proud to be part of one of the college's most exciting honors programs. Read below to hear what they have to say about their experiences in the program, as well as to read a message from Muse Scholar Program Director Dara Meyers-Kingsley.
Class of 2017
Emily Levkovich experienced a transformation during the Muse Freshman Seminar, which took Scholars to the Asia Society, Guggenheim Museum, Judd Foundation, New York City Center and to Broadway and Off-Broadway stage shows.
"Overall, I believe that being a part of the Muse program has really changed the way I see art and the way I see myself as an artist," she said.
Krisha Mehta discovered an appreciation for new art forms while enrolled in the Muse Freshman Seminar.
"The Muse Scholar Program has inspired me to follow my passion ... It brought back the art within me. I loved the journey we have been sent through," Mehta said. "I learned about many new art forms and how to appreciate them. I realized how, at the end, they are all part of the same pool of art. It really has been a life-changing experience for me."
Maureen Murray said her freshman year in the Muse Scholar Program was "the best year of my life."
"The program has exposed me to so many amazing people, opportunities and works of art," she said. "It has challenged me to explore new things and to think more deeply about the world around me. My year at Hunter, as a Muse Scholar and in this amazing city, has totally changed my life. It has helped me to realize what I am most passionate about and given me the courage to pursue it. "
Class of 2016
Marie Coneys raved about the Muse Scholar Program in Huntington Headlines, the news source for New York's Huntington Public Schools, of which Coneys is an alumna.
“'My favorite [class], by far, is Explorations in the Arts (Muse Freshman Seminar),'” she told the publication, which described how the Muse Scholars "studied dance (students even took a dance class), photography (including field trips to the Met), illustration (students participated in a drawing class at the Society of Illustrators) and enjoyed dinner with award-winning author Colum McCann, who penned Let the Great World Spin.
“'Although it sounds like a lot for one semester, we haven’t even covered half of our curriculum yet,'” Coneys told the publication. Click here to read the full article.
Dennis Lay described his experience in the Muse Freshman Seminar as "an eye opener" that gave him a new appreciation for the world around him, both the places and people he encounters every day in new York.
"The most important lesson I learned this year was to keep my eyes and my mind open to new experiences ... Through being honest and kind, the world becomes a more beautiful and vibrant place."
Class of 2015
Music Major Juella Baltonado opened up about her experience in the Muse Scholar program during this interview.
"The scholarship allowed me to have courage in pursuing my passion in music. I was exposed to not only professional music performances such as concerts in Carnegie Hall, but several other fields of art as well. It revealed the inner workings about how art is produced and financed in the real world. On a social level, not only have I made connections to professional institutions, I've also made close friends easily," Baltonado said.
Colleen Cash has become something of an ambassador for the Muse Scholars at Hunter College, speaking during the Fall 2012 New Student Convocation (photo, left) and the Fall 2012 orientation for incoming Muses.
A member of the Thomas Hunter Honors Program with a special interdisciplinary arts major and public policy minor, Cash told the Muse Class of 2016 that it was lucky to be part of a program and college that celebrates the arts.
"At Hunter, I can do it all. Now, I know that tonight we are here to celebrate the arts at Hunter, a most wonderful event, but as all artists know, no art has just one facet. I, instead, propose that tonight we celebrate the multifaceted beauty of the arts: a beauty that Hunter College has recognized and has held as its cornerstone as we progress into a new academic and artistic age." Read more here.
Dara Meyers-Kingsley, Muse Scholar Program Director
"These first years of the Muse Scholar Program have been an amazing experience for the students chosen as Hunter's first Muse Scholars and for myself, their director, mentor and teacher. Commuting students from all five boroughs, Long Island, Westchester and beyond have come together to study the arts and to bond during their year-long Muse Freshman Seminar in the arts. We spent a lot of time together experiencing art exhibitions and performances and engaging in lively dialogue and creative endeavors both inside and outside the classroom.
The Muses are a very committed group of academically-strong students whose interests and talents in the arts are diverse; but they share a passion for creative practice and a commitment to excelling at Hunter.
The Muses went to museums and galleries, to Carnegie Hall to hear one of the world's great symphony orchestras, New York City Center for dance and other venues in Manhattan. They got a behind-the-scenes tour and private drawing class with the director and curator of the Society of Illustrators, along with a delicious lunch in the Society's historic dining room. They met other professionals working in the arts, too: the chief conservator at the Guggenheim Museum, the attorney for Alvin Ailey Dance, the entrepreneur/musician who started Le Poisson Rouge in the Village, Broadway composer Jeanine Tesori and many more.
These types of intimate and unique experiences, coupled with the Muses' larger exposure to the arts, are critical to helping these young scholars become lifelong lovers of the arts."