Department of Music and Theatre

Outstanding Student Awards

Summa Cum Laude —No more than the top 1%
Page Whittle
Brooklyn Becker
Kevin Ripperger

Magna Cum Laude
Maija Dindzans

Cum Laude —No more than the top 5%
Roanne Su

Nick Ellena Aspiring Music Educator Award - Brooklyn Becker

headshot of Brooklyn Becker

I am incredibly honored and grateful to have been chosen to receive the Nick Ellena Aspiring Music Educator Award! These past four years at Chico State have been so impactful to me and I will cherish them forever. I am so thankful for the MUTA faculty and staff who have mentored me and invested in my educational journey during my time at Chico State. Without you all, I don’t think being considered for this award would be possible! I have found a home here at Chico State with peers and faculty that have deepened my love for music and passion for music education. I am so thankful to have a community here that makes it so hard to say goodbye!

This award will help me tremendously as I enter Chico State’s Credential Program in the fall. Because of the nature of the Credential Program, the time I have available to work part time each week will decrease. This award will significantly reduce the financial stress I anticipated for next year. It is truly a blessing! As I continue to pursue a career in music education, I will be reminded of, and thankful for, this award and the people who made it possible.

With immense gratitude,

Brooklyn Becker

BRAVO Award - Tessa Kelly

headshot of Tessa Kelly

I am extremely thankful and honored to have been chosen to receive the Bravo Award this year! I want to thank Dr. Scholz and the Department of Music and Theatre for choosing me for this award and providing me with support, endless opportunities, and kindness throughout my time at Chico State. Even though my Chico State experience began online, I have been fortunate to have made many amazing memories here and have cherished my time here greatly. I have made a home here and gained a second family here, so it will be hard to say goodbye in a few weeks! 
This award will help me pay for the credential program this fall and allow me to continue my education. My parents both received extreme pay cuts because of COVID-19 and are putting two kids through college, so finding the money for tuition has been challenging. The time I had available in the past to work each week has decreased as well. I am grateful that you chose me to be a recipient of this award, and I appreciate the opportunities it has given me! 
With extreme gratitude, 
Tessa Kelly 
Outstanding Student Award: Recording Arts - Grant Bolstad
headshot of Grant Bolstad
I would like to thank the Department of Music and Theatre for choosing me for this award as well as for the support, opportunities, and services it has provided me during my time at Chico State. I would also like to thank Dann Sargent specifically for the amount of knowledge he has poured into his Recording Arts classrooms each day. He has kept me not only engaged in the Recording Arts major but also inspired, motivated, and hopeful for my future in audio. None of us could be outstanding students without amazing professors like Dann who have supported us since day one. 
Thank you!
Grant Bolstad
Outstanding Student Award: Musical Theatre - Sydney Baichtal

headshot of Sydney Baichtal

I am incredibly grateful to be chosen for the Outstanding Student in Musical Theatre Award by our amazing department. Throughout my time here, I have learned so much and am leaving not only as a stronger performer, but a more well rounded person. Thank you so much to my friends, peers, and professors for creating a safe learning environment, allowing me to follow my passions, and being a home away from home for the past four years. Chico State will always hold a special place in my heart and is definitely an emotional goodbye.  Special thank you to Matty Miller, Megan Glynn Zollinger, Dara Scholz, and my parents for all their continuous love and support. I cannot wait to continue my love for theatre when I move to Santa Rosa for the summer to pursue a stage management internship at Summer Repertory Theatre Festival. 

Thank you again,

Sydney Baichtal

Outstanding Student Award: Theatre Arts - Laura Johnson

 Headshot of Laura Johnson

Thank you so much for selecting me as the recipient of the Outstanding Student in Theatre Award. I appreciate the recognition of all my work over the last four years.

I have had a truly amazing time with Chico State’s Theatre department. I’ve made many wonderful memories and have grown so much, both as a performer, and as a person. While I will miss all of the professors and classmates who have impacted me, I am looking forward to applying what I’ve learned here as I move forward into the next chapter of my life.

I am proud of the work that I’ve done at Chico State and am so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had here. Thank you for all of your dedication to students and for supporting them as the go out into the world after graduation.

Sincerely, Laura Johnson

Outstanding Student Award: Music Industry - Roanne Su

student smiling in front of the beach 

I am so grateful to have been selected for this honor. First, I want to thank Dr. Paul Young for giving me all the support throughout my journey at Chico State. Thank you for believing in me, giving me advice and challenges, and bringing me the courage to keep me going. I wouldn’t have such fulfilling and varied experiences if Dr. Young weren’t here. I’d also like to thank Judy Hamamoto-Cory, Dr. Michelle McConkey, and Dr. David Scholz, who have shown support and kindness during my time at the music department. Thanks to the people I met along the way whom I created memories with, I learned so much from every professor, student, and experience. It was an incredible honor to receive the Outstanding Student in Music Industry award this year and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Outstanding Student Award: Music Education - Julia Daijogo

headshot of Julia Daijogo

I would like to take a moment to thank not only Dr. Tracy Butts of College of Humanities
and Fine Arts, but also to Dr. David Scholz and Dr. Michelle McConkey of the Music and
Theatre Department, for awarding me the Outstanding Student in Music Education award. In my
time here at Chico State, I have made professional relationships and friendships that will last a
lifetime. To my professors, thank you for always having your door open for questions, jokes, and
even stories. I am extremely grateful for your lessons and guidance. To my friends, thank you for
being a second family. Family comes in all forms, and I am so fortunate to have you as a support system. 

Sincerely, Julia Daijogo

Outstanding Student Award: General Music - Anthony Paneno

headshot of Frank Paneno

Over the past 5 years I’ve had nothing but boundless support from more people than I can count and I honestly can’t imagine receiving this honor without them. First of all I’d like to thank my parents, John and Anne Paneno, and siblings, Laura, Rose, and Johnny, for all of their patience and support for my musical endeavors. Additionally I’d like to thank the Department of Music and Theatre and all of the professors and faculty that have been relentlessly encouraging and always keeping doors open for me, whether it be through their office hours, personal time, or work opportunities. Specifically I’d like to thank Dr. Paul Young for his inspiring tenacity (especially during the pandemic when being part of a musical community was harder than ever),  Prof. Rocky Winslow for his boundless creativity, patience, and love for his students no matter who they are and what part of their life journey they are on, Prof. Chris Navarrete for his passion, patience, knowledge, and wisdom, Dr. David Scholz for his quiet determination and structural integrity, and Prof. David Dvorin and Dan Kinkle for their years of private instruction and inspiration. I’d also like to thank my community of friends and peers from all over the university and finally the ARC department for their dedication to education accessibility.


Anthony Paneno

Edith Gould Award - Jasmine Saechao

Jasmine pointing to Performing Arts Center sign

I am beyond grateful to be a recipient of the Edith Gould Award. It is a great honor to be able to accept this award. My hometown is Redding, just North of Chico. I chose California State University, Chico not only for the close proximity to home, but also for the impressive Music department. I am a senior majoring in Music Industry, as music is one of my main passions. At Chico State, I play in many of the bands, and also am an active member in Band Staff. I am also a part of the School of the Arts (SOTA) Productions team.

After finishing my bachelor’s degree in Music, I plan to earn a multiple-subject teaching credential at CSU, Chico. My goal is to teach elementary students and positively impact the next generation. Eventually, I would eventually love to start a non-profit music youth center, based around creativity of the arts.

To emphasize again, I am highly honored to be a recipient of the Edith Gould Award. This grand act of kindness means the world to me. Thank you.