Jennifer Rodriguez Awarded Aspire2STEAM Scholarship

Jennifer Rodriguez

Jennifer is pursuing a Master's in Chamber Music at UWM

Aspiring arts and education advocate brings passion for chamber music to students of all ages.

I would love to gain not-for-profit status in a chamber group I am affiliated with, performing in schools and interacting with students in music programs to teach them about chamber performance.”
— Jennifer Rodriguez
DES MOINES, IOWA, USA, November 25, 2021 / -- “In a world where words can start wars, music without words is a shared language with the power to bring peace personally and globally when we let it,” said Cheryl O’Donoghue, CEO at “And that’s just one of the reasons we awarded Jennifer Rodriguez an ASPIRER scholarship. She’s an extraordinary musician who works tirelessly to teach, perform, and create through her musical artistry and education leadership. On behalf of our donors, we are honored to support her.”

Jennifer Rodriguez is a Flutist and Music Educator. She graduated from Ball State University in Fall 2017 with a degree in Music Education. Upon graduation, Jennifer worked for the Muncie Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Education Coordinator and Classical Music Indy in Indianapolis as the organization’s Community Programs Assistant. She also had a thriving practice teaching private flute lessons and woodwind sectionals at Indianapolis area schools.

In 2019 Jennifer moved to Milwaukee to pursue her Master’s in Flute Performance at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). She is a founding member of the Microcosm Ensemble and Black Cat Woodwind Quintet in Milwaukee, and current President of the Flute Player’s Guild at UWM. She is pursuing another year in the Master’s in Chamber Music program at UWM to provide her the opportunity to continue to build her flute studio, experience more in-person musical interactions, and strengthen her chamber music performance.

Outside of school, Jennifer teaches lessons at Brass Bell Music Store, Brookfield Academy, and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. She has also taught elementary music, group piano, and bucket drumming—a style of music which involves utilizing drumsticks and buckets as percussion instruments to provide accessible musical experiences in a variety of settings.

In Spring 2021, Jennifer organized and promoted MOVE MKE, a collaborative fundraiser recital featuring flute and dance. “I enjoyed the whole process from finding dancers, collaborating with composers, and organizing rehearsals to promoting the event, facilitating a gift-basket raffle, and working with area businesses,” said Jennifer. “Most satisfying was that we were able to raise awareness and funds for Hope House of Milwaukee, a not-for-profit that serves the homeless community.”

In Fall 2021, the Black Cat Ensemble, which Jennifer founded, held “Black Cat Gives Back”—a fundraising concert to support Street Angels of Milwaukee. Street Angels is an outreach program that provides meals, survival resources, connections, and friendship to Milwaukee County's homeless population.

One of Jennifer’s most recent creations is the formation of Microcosm Ensemble alongside her fiancé and trumpet player Alec Burke. In Spring 2021, Microcosm commissioned and premiered "Wasteland," a work for flute, trumpet, and piano by composer Steve Darling. Microcosm has also commissioned a new work for flute and trumpet by Minnesota-based composer Erika Malpass to be premiered in Spring 2022.

Five years from now Jennifer envisions a future where she is holding both an administrative role and flute position in a chamber ensemble, balancing chamber music performance and teaching private flute lessons. She plans to use her experience with Microcosm Ensemble as an outlet to continue to commission and build collaborative flute and trumpet repertoire.

“Eventually, I would love to gain not-for-profit status in a chamber group I am affiliated with, performing in schools and interacting with students in music programs to teach them about chamber performance,” said Jennifer. “Our chamber group would offer different services and residencies for K-12 programs, and incorporate ‘give-back’ concerts into our performance seasons to help local organizations or school programs.”

Jennifer also aspires to collaborate with an author and illustrator to create a book that features live, play-along music that her chamber group can tour with and perform along with readings. Ultimately, her aim is to have a portion of the books donated to schools in need during book-reading tours.

Jennifer has produced a series of music and visual arts videos featuring fellow musicians and dancers which can be viewed on YouTube. Her performance to "Love Divided By" by Philip Glass is featured below and spotlights videos, images, and Instagram posts pertaining to George Floyd and the trial of Derek Chauvin. The visual material accompanying her performance aimed to depict the social and community response to George Floyd's death, through community art and social media.

ABOUT… is a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We provide scholarships and mentoring to young women and girls who are working hard—aspiring—to achieve careers that require education in science, tech, engineering, the arts, or math…and they could really use a hand up over the incredible barriers of student debt and rising education costs, and the real, ever-present opportunity barriers that keep them out of most male-dominated industries. These young women are doing their part, let’s help them by doing ours.

Scholarship Applications Accepted Year-Round! Share this online application today.

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Cheryl O'Donoghue
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Jennifer Rodriguez Performing Philip Glass' Love Divided By