April 23, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

Data Analytic Assesses Music Impact on Students

By Alexandra Walker

In honor of August as Artist Appreciation Month, TechPort asked Renae Rohde how important the arts are in education and how they can affect the community.

A recent graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Ms. Rohde had as her senior St. Mary’s Capstone Project a data analytic perspective on the effects of music study on students. The project studied and showed the importance of the arts in the community.

“It’s important to include music curriculum, as early as you can, in education. It’s good for students. It’s good for the community. It’s better for everyone in the long run,” she said.

Ms. Rohde is a junior data analyst at Smartonix, which is just around the corner from the TechPort facility in California, MD. Although her career is based in STEM, she is still very involved in the arts.

Ms. Rohde obtained her associate in computer science at the College of Southern Maryland in 2018 and continued at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in computer science. She graduated from SMCM in 2020 with a bachelor’s in computer science and a minor in applied mathematics and music.

At St. Mary’s College, she performed in the orchestra, continued taking violin lessons, and sang in the choir. The time she spent in the music department inspired her to be more involved with the arts.

“I kept finding that a lot of math majors also studied music or music majors who were interested in math. There was a lot of overlap,” she said.

Normally, students are required to take the minimal amount of arts and humanities. Some schools find the liberal arts to not be essential which leads to fewer students taking these classes. However, said Ms. Rohde, St. Mary’s thinks otherwise.

As a small liberal arts college, St. Mary’s urges their students to get involved with an array of courses and careers.

“You’re expected to sample from different categories,” Ms. Rohde explained.

Although her degree is in computer science, Ms. Rohde was able to explore different areas of learning. “St. Mary’s didn’t just allow me, but they also encouraged it.” This encouragement of learning led her to select a minor in music.

St. Mary’s College not only impacted her love of the arts but also greatly impacted her career path. An internship with Naval Sea Systems Command and involvement with the Computer Science Department at SMCM provided the tools she needed to launch her career. “Because of my internship experience and the help from my advisers, I was able to meet the qualifications,” she said.

She thanks Alan Jamieson and Lindsay Jamieson,  associate professors of computer science at St. Mary’s College and the music department’s instructor, José Cueto, and the chair of the St. Mary’s College Music Department, Jeffrey Silberschlag, for making it possible for her to “pursue a degree in computer science and applied math, while still participating in orchestra and furthering my skills as a violinist.”

As Ms. Rohde demonstrated in her Capstone Project, engagement with the arts is not only important in education, but also for communication and connectivity. “It helps develop both practical skills and soft skills that make people better functioning members of society.”

Check out Ms. Rhode’s St. Mary’s College Capstone Project on her LinkedIn Page.

For more information about TechPort at the Aviation Technology Park at St. Mary’s County Regional Airport, contact Tommy Luginbill at 44185 Airport Road, California, MD 20619. To learn more, visit TechPort’s Leader Member Page; or visit them on Facebook    Twitter      Instagram      LinkedIn

Email the author of this article at alexkathlynn@gmail.com.

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