Student Spotlight: Kirsten O'Donnell
Kirsten O'Donnell's career goals are plain and simple.
"I want to sing whatever music is thrown my way and continue to learn as much as I can," she said. "I'd love to perform at the Lyric or Metropolitan Opera, but I'd be satisfied singing just about anywhere.
"Singing and performance allow me to be someone else for a while, and experience, feel and see through their eyes. It's a complete out-of-body experience. I know that I'll never know everything there is to know about music and singing, which is what I love about it. There's always something new to discover."
At College of DuPage, O'Donnell is discovering much about music and life.
"I needed to save money but still wanted to progress with music," she said. "I honestly never expected for it to have this big of an impact on me, but it has been one of the best decisions I've ever made.
"I'm learning to function on my own, without being completely detached from my family. I'm figuring out how important scheduling and time management are. I'm learning more than I ever expected and not paying $50,000 a year for it. I've had countless opportunities to sing and perform at this school, which doesn't usually happen for freshmen."
O'Donnell also earned the John Belushi Memorial Scholarship in 2011. The $1,000 award helped boost her confidence, as she was thrilled to be recognized for her hard work. In 2012, she received the Belushi Scholarship a second time.
She's an active member in Chapappella, an a cappella group that she and other music students started. She worked on a recital with Lee Kesselman, Trisha Greiner and Steven Krage singing works of Aaron Copland, in which O'Donnell and Greiner split the 12 Poems of Emily Dickinson. In Buffalo Theater Ensemble's production of "Tuesdays with Morrie," O'Donnell is playing the part of Janine.
In summer 2012, O'Donnell plans to earn her Associate in Fine Arts degree. After that, she will transfer to Lawrence University's Conservatory of Music with a scholarship and plans to obtain her bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance and then her master's degree. She thanks College of DuPage and its teachers for providing her with the best possible education.
"For a lot of high school kids, it's hard to see all of your friends going off to school and know that you're going to be staying at home," she said. "Yet, in the long run, it will save you so much money and set you up to be extremely successful in every area of your life. This has been one of the best experiences I've ever had."