Alyssa Santiváñez is a senior from Fresno, California. Alyssa studies flute with Mihoko Watanabe and was recently announced as the 2021 Presser Undergraduate Scholar.

“I began to play the flute when I was 10 years old and I credit my family for being so supportive to me. As one of the few musicians within my family, I am very lucky to have such a strong support system like my family gives me. I also give my music teachers growing up within California huge credit for my inspiration when beginning music. They truly went out of their way to keep us musicians inspired to go beyond expectations and continue music as a career.

“I chose Ball State University because of my wonderful flute professor Dr. Watanabe. I first met her when I was 13 years old and attending our Fresno Orchestra and Opera Summer Festival within my hometown. She is constantly encouraging her students to not only be the best musicians possible, but the best people and versions of themselves possible. She is more than a professor, but rather a strong and inspiring mentor for us all. It is through her that I have made such progress both within my musical and personal growth.

“One of my favorite memories so far at Ball State is when Kyler Altenhof and myself pitched our ‘Mental Harmony’ entrepreneurial certificate project to our School of Music faculty during my junior year. I will never forget how big the smiles of the faculty members were when we finished our presentation. It was right at that moment that I knew this University had some of the most open minded, positive, and supportive people I could have ever asked to be surrounded by!”