Becca H., 21 – FUNDED

As a musician on the autism spectrum, Becca H. brings a unique artistic perspective — one that is incredibly important, but one that has also presented some challenges along the way. Learn more about this Paliwal Club of 100 Music Scholar, who is currently studying piano performance and music composition at Florida State University.

What is your professional dream?

In the future, I wish to perform, collaborate, teach, and write music.

What does being in the Paliwal Club of 100 mean to you? 

Being part of this makes me feel supported, having my projects recognized as worth it, and also encourages me to continue pursuing music as a career.

Women are underrepresented in the S.T.E.A.M. (science, tech, arts or math) fields and music industry. How can we change this? 

Studying in STEAM must become more accessible financially and socially, both of which I believe these funds are contributing toward.

Socially, we must educate and reframe ideas about these industries for future generations — as well as people of all ages — that women belong in these fields and will be successful. Holding true to our values and becoming role models for future students, I hope more women will be empowered in these fields.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

Many of the daily challenges I face are related to my experiences being on the autism spectrum. Needing to practice piano for hours in rooms with fluorescent lights, near others playing many loud instruments, is incredibly exhausting because of my sensory issues. I advocated for myself this year and was designated a quieter, dimmer practice space I can use for part of my practice time (though not all).

That many of the accommodations which would help me are quite simple, but often not fully granted, makes me feel very unwelcome. Maybe it is a bit strange to be a musician who is hurt by sounds and bright lights. However, my experiences give me a unique artistic perspectives, one of the many reasons why many of the outrageous barriers to music academia need to be dissolved.

How will this grant from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

This grant will help me complete a creative project I’m doing at school that’s incorporating self-expression of my neurodivergent identity and special interest in fungi and biodata sonification, as well as education on these topics. I will also be applying to piano performance summer programs to challenge myself in a different environment.