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Isabelle Olmeda, 19 – FUNDED

“Music education is an important foundation for children, and it has taught me independence, dedication, and a dream in what I want to achieve in the future,” says Isabelle Olmeda, a Paliwal Club of 100 Music Scholar. “Music is life-changing, and I would love to have the ability to extend my love of music to many young women!”

In pursuit of that mission, Isabelle is currently attending the University of Miami, where she is majoring in Music Education with a minor in Education.

What is your professional dream?

I would love to become a high-school orchestra director who teaches students how to love music.

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

It means that who I am becoming is someone to be proud of. I feel motivated to continue to pursue my dreams of making music my lifestyle and spreading my passion to so many around me. This means I am on my right path and that I should continue to push forward.

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

Symphony orchestras around the world have a history of being predominantly white male, and there is a strong lack of diversity in the music field today. I aspire to become a music teacher who encourages young girls to become involved in music and to not abide by societal standards.

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

Losing my mom has been the worst pain I’ve had in my life. I started to lose my love for music and did not care much for the cello. However, I know that she would want me to keep living and pursuing things I love. I am still in the process of finding my way back to loving the cello, but I am simultaneously loving the journey back to that passion, as well. This process is a discovery of what I love, and I am enjoying my time on the way.

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

This grant will immensely help financial hardships I am going through. My mom recently lost her fight to breast cancer and passed away last October. I have taken the responsibility of paying my own tuition and applying for many scholarships to get through university.

However, now that I have to constantly worry about financial stresses, I have not taken the time to apply my knowledge to opportunities outside of school — and this grant allows me to pursue those and encourages me to keep exploring different experiences that life has to offer. I am excited to embark on my academic journey.