Conservatory of Music alumnus receives graduate school fellowship

Lynn University alumnus Joseph Augusto Guimaraes ‘16 received the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, a graduate school fellowship for outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants. Selected from 1,775 applicants, he is one of 30 recipients chosen for his potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture or academic work.

“When I looked at the list of past fellows, I was able to relate not only to their stories but also to what they were trying to do to better the country,” says Guimaraes.

Originally from Recife, Brazil, Guimaraes came to the U.S. in 1998 at age 10. His family established themselves in Boca Raton, and from an early age, he learned the concept of hard work through what his parents accomplished.

In addition to joining the prestigious community of past recipients, each honoree receives up to $90,000 for their graduate program. Currently, Guimaraes is a master’s student at the Yale School of Music. (Several Lynn music students have received scholarships to Yale, including Amy Nickler who graduates this week and Wynton Grant ’15.)

“[Apart from] receiving the financial aid, joining the Paul and Daisy Fellowship program and the class of [past fellows] will be an invaluable tool to get closer to achieving my goal,” says Guimaraes. “I’m trying to push for a national music-education reform where every child should take—and hopefully will take—a music class.”

 “I’m trying to push for a national music-education reform where every child should take—and hopefully will take—a music class.”

Joseph Augusto Guimaraes ‘16

Guimaraes started playing the tuba when he was in the sixth grade and continued throughout high school.  He went on to study music education for two years, but he also had an affinity toward sciences and mathematics, and switched to biology. But he changed paths once again. 

“One day I was reading a book, and was humming and moving my fingers to the notes that I was humming and said, ‘I don’t think this is my passion, I want to do music.’” He subsequently secured one of the only two tuba spots at Lynn University’s Conservatory of Music

“Lynn was the start of my professional life,” he says. “The majority of the professors that I came in contact with were very inspirational, and they really believed in what we could do. I am forever grateful for that.” 

As an advocate of music education, Guimaraes launched his company, The Valve Beanie, in 2015, and also founded The Mouthpieces for All Initiative (TMPFAI), the cornerstone of his work with youth and education reform. TMPFAI donates musical tools to underprivileged children to empower and engage them through the performing arts. In the next year,

Guimaraes plans to graduate and marry his fiancée, Nicole Kukieza, also a Lynn graduate and tuba player. 

“I credit Lynn, and especially my mentors and professors Kenneth Amis, Dan Satterwhite, Marc Reese, Thomas L. McKinley, Sophia Stone and Greg Miller, and the entire Conservatory of Music for all their support. They played a large part in my acceptance to Yale,” Guimaraes says.

Article contributed by Maria Cardenas, graduate assistant. First published in iPulse May 5. 

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