Visual and Performing Arts Student Awards

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts has announced its student award and scholarship recipients. Each year, a nomination and selection process is conducted by VPA faculty and staff with input from department students to identify outstanding student achievement. Below is a list of recognized students.

Jos Olson smiling

Student of Promise: Jos Olson

Jos just finished his second year at Tech as an Audio Production and Technology Major. He is honored to receive the Student of Promise Award. He can also be found playing drums in the jazz program, and working in the Rozsa Center as the Head of Living Streaming. 

Allison Lewis

Art Award: Allison Lewis

Allison Lewis is a second year Theatre and Entertainment Technology major with a minor in Art. She enjoys creating and sharing her artwork, with her favorite subject being people. She’s worked with paint, sculpture, and traditional drawing but plans to explore many more mediums. During her time at Tech, she has been a Carpenter, Lead Painter, and is a soon-to-be TA for Scenic Art and Illustration. Allison plans to one day become a scenic artist and muralist. In her spare time she enjoys listening to music, hiking, and kayaking.”

Elijah Sierra

Music Award: Eli Sierra

Eli is a Senior at Michigan Tech majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Aerospace Engineering. He loves music and has been a percussionist for almost a decade. 

He works in the Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL) completing research for NASA’s Artemis program. And in the summer of 2024 he will be a mechanical engineer intern on the Starlink program at SpaceX. 

Eli also enjoys the outdoors and partakes in sports such as: running, mountain biking and hiking. 

Cora Moyers

Sound Award: Cora Moyers

Cora is a 5th year and graduating Sound Design student. Cora has spent her time at tech growing the SoundGirls MTU Chapter, and has served multiple e-board positions, but currently serves as President. Cora has worked on multiple productions while at tech including The Haunted Smelter, A Christmas Carol and The One Act Festival. She is very honored to have received the VPA Sound Award. 

Theatre Award: Audrey Schulte

Audrey is completing her fifth and final year this spring as a Theatre and Entertainment Tech major here at MTU. Throughout her time spent here, she has gained incredible experiences and friendships within this department that have set her up for great success after graduation. She is extremely excited to take a step forward into the next chapter and owes a lot of gratitude to her classmates, professors, and colleagues for the work on all the shows and displays she has been a part of. Audrey has excitedly accepted an intern position at Walt Disney World this summer and can’t wait to put all the skills she has gained from MTU to work!

All Arts Award: Aidan Conrade

Aidan Conrade is a fourth year Sound Design student with a minor in Music Composition. They enjoy putting their knowledge of sound design together with their music to create unique and creative pieces for all types of projects. On top of this, they also play bass guitar and upright bass in a variety of groups at Michigan Tech, including the Playtesters, MTU’s video game jazz ensemble, which is a student-lead group that specializes in arranging their favorite video game tunes into various styles of jazz and adjacent genres to grow as musicians! When they are not working on a project or writing/listening to music, they are exploring the outdoors or discovering the latest indie games. Their goal after university is to join the video game and/or film industries as a sound designer and composer, where they will work to curate immersive and expressive experiences for others to enjoy!

Irish Award for Environmental Art: Connor Ford

Connor Ford is a College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (CFRES) student graduating with his bachelor’s in Applied Ecology this Spring. After years of traditional STEM coursework, he had an opportunity to enroll in “Art and Nature”, a contemplative photography course taught by Professor Anne Beffel in the Visual and Performing Arts Department. Upon taking the class, he soon realized the benefits of learning skills about mindfulness and its interplay with visual analysis.

Working to apply this knowledge, Connor created two works of art that guide viewers along an immersive photographic journey across the Keweenaw Peninsula. His photos are accompanied by audio tracks rich with environmental insight, adorned by poetic titles, and analyses of the work using the language of visual principles and elements (gestalt principles of visual interaction and Getty elements of art).

In addition to communicating the science behind the beauty in nature spaces, Superior Influence is Connor’s attempt to better grasp how gestalt principles can inform our perception of ecosystem function and reveal aspects of personal emotion in relation to the land. With assistance from the University, his project was temporarily installed in Wadsworth Hall during the Spring student art show, but it can also be accessed online through a website he created for the general public. Looking ahead, he’s excited for new opportunities in ecological research and watershed management, and can’t wait to further explore and incorporate these art practices into his work. In the meantime, you might find him wading in a stream, rock hounding, staring at a bug, or simply enjoying a quiet moment at the beach.

Milt Olsson Music Award: Benji Doerr

Benji is a Biochemistry student at Michigan Tech. He loves making music and has been playing violin and singing in choirs since he was young. In the summers he is a summer camp photographer, and he loves spending time outdoors with the kids. He’s the third in a family of 8 kids who all also love music.