The Catholic University of America

Meet our Student Ambassadors

Our Student Ambassadors are a unique group of outstanding students who help prospective students and their families gain valuable insight into life in the School of Music at The Catholic University of America. They are here to share their love of CUA and the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, share their personal experiences, and answer any questions you may have from the student perspective.

If you have any questions, please email Elise Morrow-Schap and indicate which ambassador you feel would be the best contact for you. Someone will be in touch soon!

Alexandra LaMastra

Major: Piano Performance
Year: Freshman, Class of 2018
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

About Me: I am from a western suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, very close to Valley Forge. I have been playing piano for the past 10 years and have always been an avid music lover. Before coming to CUA, I was homeschooled and was able to learn and enjoy playing both piano and violin. I am so very grateful to be able to be a part of the CUA community by being involved in campus ministry, the honors program and the music school! I plan on graduating with a BM degree in Piano Performance and continue my studies through the doctorate level. Eventually, I hope to have a career performing and teaching at the college level. 

Why I Love CUA: So far, my experience at CUA of being able to combine my faith, music and overall education has exceeded my hopes and expectations. I felt at home as soon as I stepped on campus mostly because of the strong sense of community. I've found both the professors and students to be unbelievably supportive – they never cease to inspire me! Through the music school, I have discovered a very special community of people who are both talented and passionate about what they do and believe. I have been able to learn about and get to know so many different people both inside and outside my major who have led me to a much greater appreciation of music than I ever thought I could have!  I love the CUA campus, the friendly environment, and the many opportunities to get involved.  I can't say enough about how happy I am with my choice, especially with the music program - I absolutely love it here and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Fun Facts: My favorite composer is Franz Liszt and I love all things Dante and Tolkien! When not practicing, I enjoy traveling (one of my dreams is to visit all 7 continents), movies, classical music, the beach, reading, writing and spending time with friends and family. I also enjoy participating in the homeless food runs and the 9PM Sunday Mass at St. Vinny's. If you have any questions about the audition process or about what it is like at CUA in general, feel free to ask me because I love to talk about it!  
 

 

Jonathan Matthews

Major: Violin Performance
Year: Senior, Class of 2015
Hometown:Southern Virginia

Why I love CUA: I picked CUA partly because it was the only school my parents would pay for, but also because of the great faculty. CUA is great because the faculty really care about your success after you graduate and will take an active role in helping you with recommendations and such. There are also so many different areas of concentration outside the school of music in which to minor or double major. The location of the college is also a great plus.  

What makes Catholic unique: The students are always there to support you no matter what. I am not kidding when I say that I have made friends for life at CUA. Also, we are REALLY goofy; there are so many jokes and pranks going around, it almost feels like a big family. 

Fun facts: 
I love fencing, archery, horseback riding, martial arts, football, and cooking. I've played soccer for CUA and also participate in the annual March for Life. 

 

Emma Cooley

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Freshman, Class of 2018
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD  

About me: I am from Ellicott City, Maryland (20 minutes from Baltimore), which is 45 minutes away from campus. I have studied dance since the age of three. I was "bit" by the musical theatre "bug" when I was in the third grade as a part of a production of "Annie." I haven't been able to stop dancing, singing, and acting ever since. I chose to study musical theatre and chase after my dreams because I could not imagine doing anything else! It is what I love to do, and I want to make a career out of it.

Why I chose CUA: I chose CUA because their musical theatre program is unique. I get to work on becoming a musician on top of dancing, acting, and singing, which I think is important for the professional world. For example, if I got a callback for a show and was handed music that I needed to prepare within a few hours, I would need to be able to sight read it and play it in order to learn the notes. Because CUA's program requires all students to complete a series of courses in music theory and become proficient in piano, I would be prepared with the necessary skills.

Why I love CUA: I love CUA because there is a great sense of community throughout the music school. Not only do I belong to a great musical theatre family, but I belong to a great music school family. It is nice that everyone gets to meet people outside of their major since everyone takes music theory and is a part of an ensemble in the school of music. Also, there are many opportunities to be involved in the school's productions, whether it is being a part of the cast, crew, or orchestra. From my experience of being in "Carousel," I grew close to my fellow cast members, along with others from the music school on crew and in the orchestra since we were spending a lot of time together during rehearsals. It creates a close community where everyone feels involved and included.

Other campus activities: I am a company member of Pure Alignment, the student-run dance company on campus.

Fun facts: I love Starbucks. You can probably find me there every morning before class (I reached the gold rewards status because of it... oops). I love tap dance. I could do it all day long! Pierogies are my favorite food, but my favorite kind of food is German food. During high school, I was a part of the Madrigals choir, and we wore Renaissance outfits during all of our performances. We even went caroling in them! I also attended the Rockette Summer Intensive for three years before coming to CUA.

 

Kenneth Lautz

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Freshman, Class of 2018
Hometown: Bantam, CT

About me: I'm a freshman Musical Theatre from Bantam, CT. I fell in love with Musical Theatre, and music in general, during my freshman year of high school. From then on, I knew that I wanted to go into music because it became my passion.  

Why I chose CUA: I ultimately chose CUA because they have a phenomenal music program and even at my audition, I felt a very familial environment. Since coming to CUA, I have definitely felt that familial connection and I have made many friends. The MT department has become a great home away from home and I would not trade the friends that I have made for anything.  

Other activities: Outside of the MT department and the Music School, and all of their happenings, I also am in one of the a cappella groups on campus, Redline. I am also in the University's Honors program.
 

 

Victoria Corona

Major: Music Education (General-Choral)
Year: Junior, Class of 2016 (transfer)
Hometown:  Derwood, MD

About me: My name is Victoria Corona. I am a transfer student at The Catholic University of America. I am a Music Education Major with a concentration in Choral Music.

Why music: Since elementary school, I have been involved in music. It wasn't until middle school that I found a true passion. That was due to an amazing middle school choral teacher.
 

Why I chose CUA: I choose CUA for a number of reasons. The main one being the family significance the Basilica and the school had to my family, but also the beautiful campus.
 

Why I love CUA: I love CUA, and more specifically the school of music, for the students and staff. I have found numerous friends here as well as interesting professors.
 

Fun Facts: I sang with the National Philharmonic Chorale at Strathmore for three seasons; I love to salsa dance! And I speak Spanish fluently.


Maria Veres

Major: Music B.A., Viola
Year: Sophomore, Class of 2017
Hometown:Pittsburgh, PA

Why I chose music: I chose music because I couldn't imagine living life where music wasn't very alive and present. I also have an appreciation for the viola that most musicians don't have, and what better way to show that than by majoring in it?

Why I love CUA: I love CUA because it truly is a special place where you can grow into the person you've always wanted to be, while being surrounded by wonderful people.

Fun facts: Besides music, I love digging around for the most underground music I can find, eating Italian food, and reading historical fictions.



Allison Verhofstadt

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Sophomore, Class of 2017
Hometown: Seattle, WA

Why I love CUA: I love CUA because since my first day of freshman year I have been welcomed into this growing, crazy, loving, supportive family of CUA students! There's nothing better than walking around a school that feels like a HOME even when you're away from home. There's always something going on here in the music school, whether its recitals, concerts, shows, music excursions, or random music school lobby singing, this place is full of energy and never boring! And the program itself is wonderful because it’s the perfect balance of challenging and encouraging. The family aspect carries into the faculty here because they always have your best interests at heart and will care about you as a person not only as a performer. Also…the squirrels on our campus have their own Twitter account which just goes to prove how awesome this school really is…what's NOT to love?

Other activities: I really enjoy rolling down the hills on campus. I'm a very enthusiastic participant of campus ministry activities, especially praise and worship adoration and I love how many daily masses are available. I sing for the Sunday mass services and love worshiping with my fellow students! Other than that I basically live at the music school, and focus on not tripping over inanimate objects which is a full time activity.

Fun facts: I'm from Seattle, Washington (the state!) which is halfway across the country. So that's cool I guess. I really like Starbucks. I am an aunt of 10 kids, which is my favorite role to play. I am obsessed with Christmas (secretly I'm an elf). I am constantly singing…I like to make up theme songs for daily life that I will sing…constantly. And this one time, I went to the gym here and I think that deserves a standing ovation. Come talk to me at your audition if you want to or if you have any questions or want to just talk about anything at all…I will probably sing to you.

 

Lauren Fitzpatrick

Major: Instrumental Music Education
Year: Senior, Class of 2015
Hometown: Vienna, VA

Why I chose music: My parents were both once-upon a time music majors, so it was a natural progression for me to be drawn to music. After flirting with other instruments for a couple of years, I finally settled down with flute in 4th grade band, and have been in a committed relationship since.

Why I chose CUA: I looked into CUA because the two band teachers who made the largest impact on my life as a student and as a musician were both CUA music school alumni, and I very much wanted to stay in the DC area where there is always something for everyone. I fell in love with the university as soon as I visited, especially with the music education faculty and the overall welcoming, homey feel CUA has. It was a perfect match for me. 

Fun fact: I train for and run marathons for fun! And thanks to two years of instrumental techniques classes, I'm quite proficient at "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" on almost any instrument.  

 

Elizabeth Andrew

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Freshman, Class of 2018
Hometown: Holland, MI

Why I chose/love CUA: Right from the beginning CUA caught my eye. I am constantly surrounded by people who inspire me to be a better person, and a better performer. From the faculty to the student body, CUA is one large and loving community that everyone feels welcomed into the moment they walk on campus. On top of all that, the musical theatre training that I am receiving at this school is preparing me for the life I want to lead. I am being trained by professionals who are out in the community working as well. It is as if I am at a small conservatory with room to explore other classes if I so desire! 

Fun Fact: Even though musical theatre is my passion and I love dancing, singing and dressing up, I am also a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. So don't let anyone tell you that theatre kids aren't tough! I am also a HUGE fan of naps. If there was a napping Olympics, you could bet your bottom dollar I would take gold!?

 

Alexis Krey

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Sophomore, Class of 2017
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Why I chose CUA: I chose CUA because of the sense of community I got when I first visited campus. The campus seemed to be a tight community where anyone passing by was helpful and kind. I even saw monks and nuns playing frisbee with students! CUA, especially the Music School, seemed to be one big family, and I know now that that is completely true through all of my new freshman experiences. 

Other campus activities: I am a company member of Pure Alignment, which is the dance company on campus. We perform at many different events, including our spring showcase. I also am a part of the CUA Ballroom Team. I just recently performed in my first competition at the University of Maryland! 

Fun Fact: I performed in the finale of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 2012.


Julia Capizzi

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Sophomore, Class of 2017
Hometown: Baltimore, MD

About me: I am a sophomore from Baltimore, MD pursuing a BM in Musical Theatre. So far in my time at Catholic, I have performed in productions such as Side Show (Violet), Parade (Factory Girl) and Company (Pit Singer/Susan u/s). I also had the opportunity to perform in several cabarets and the CUA Fringe Festival.

 Other activities: On campus, I am a member of Pure Alignment Dance Company, the CUA Improv Performance Team, and a cantor with CUA Music Ministry. In my free time, I enjoy writing, exploring DC with my friends and watching shows like "Gilmore Girls" and "Arrested Development."

What I love about CUA: I love the warm and welcoming environment here.  Everyone in the music school is always supportive and loving. 
 

 

Paige Wearmouth

Major: Music B.A., Violin
Year: Sophomore, Class of 2017
Hometown: Port Tobacco, MD

About me: I am from southern Maryland, not too far outside of DC. I started playing the violin when I was five, and have been in love with music ever since. I love listening to Indie and Alternative music and learning new instruments. I want to have a career teaching music/orchestra in a high school. My biggest dream is to travel to as many new places as I can.

Why I chose music: Music has been a major part of my life since I was in kindergarten, so I saw no other way to take my life. I love everything about music, from making it to listening to it.

Why I chose CUA: I absolutely love being in the city! Also, CUA has such a beautiful campus and great people.

Why I love CUA: I love the feel of community at CUA. Even though we have all the benefits of being in a large city, we have the feeling of closeness you get in a small town. Anywhere you go on campus is beautiful and exciting.

Fun Facts: I love baking, traveling, and reading books. I also consume massive amounts of green tea. My favorite place to be on campus is in the Mullen Library Stacks. More than anything, I wish I could play the cello.

 

Meredith Eib

Major: Musical Theater
Year: Sophomore, Class of 2017
Hometown: Kingston, New Hampshire

About Me:  Originally from the Seacoast of New Hampshire (about an hour north of Boston), I’m loving my experiences in DC and studying what I love at CUA!  I’ve had a wide range of performing experiences from singing at televised NASCAR races, to performing “The Prayer” with singer Josh Groban, to being a local titleholder for the Miss America Organization.  In addition to performance, I love to play the piano, celebrate my faith and volunteer for service projects in our community.  In the summer, I work for a repertory theater in New Hampshire, directing and creating children’s theater and teaching various workshops on the different aspects of music and theater performance.  After my time here at CUA, I hope to spend some time doing long-term service and work towards a graduate degree so that I can teach at the secondary school level; ideally building a music and theater program at a school that doesn’t have one. 

Why I chose CUA: I chose CUA because it was the only school that met my wide range of interests. I feel like I am getting incredible training musically, I am part of a community, I am able to take classes outside of my major, be actively involved with my faith and serve the community in a wide range of ways. I only toured here for two hours on a cold, rainy February day during my junior year but when making the college decision, it was the only school that was sticking on my mind and heart. 

Why I love CUA: So far, I love CUA because I am able to work with incredibly talented people every day who constantly push me and inspire me to improve my own art yet I am also with people who are incredible examples of faith and what it means to be a good friend. I am constantly in awe of the wide range of amazing people and experiences I have here at CUA.

Fun facts: In addition to spending approximately 30 hours a week in the classroom as an MT major, I have fallen in love with the many communities and on campus groups at CUA.  I was a member of CUA’s Freshman Retreat Team, I spend my Wednesday nights with the mentally handicapped at Bethlehem House and am a current buddy through CUA’s Best Buddies chapter, I love to visit the elderly at Little Sisters of the Poor, and share my faith with my dorm’s Renew Group.  I am a certified campus ambassador for Catholic Relief Services and love working for social justice causes on campus.  I also love to cantor at Sunday Mass!  
    

Alexandra De Bard

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Freshman, Class of 2018
Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY

About me: My name is Alexandra De Bard and I am a Freshman Musical Theatre major! I LOVE CUA!

Why I chose CUA: I have always loved doing Musical Theatre and when I was looking for a place to grow in my craft, I knew immediately that CUA was the place to do just that. Everyone is so supportive and close, and the faculty here is unlike any other. CUA also offers so many opportunities to explore other campus activities outside your major. 
 

Other activities: I am a member of Redline Acappella!
 
 


Katelyn Hannel

Major: General-Choral Music Education (piano principle), Theology Minor   
Year: Senior, Class of 2015
Hometown: South Riv
er, NJ

About me: I started taking piano lessons when I was six, quit once, went back, hardly ever practiced enough, and then at some point realized that I actually really loved it. Going to CUA has given me opportunities like performing with the Chamber Choir at the National gallery of Art, going to Mass at the National Shrine, and participating in Friday night events like Metro Madness and Luaupalooza. I'm involved in a Catholic women's group called Gratia Plena, and this year I'm president of the CUA chapter of the National Association for Music Education.

Fun Facts: I like crossword puzzles, Mozart and playing the ukulele!
 

 

Caroline Eldridge

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Sophomore, Class of 2017
Hometown: Wellesey, MA

About me: I am from good old Wellesley, Massachusetts (30 minutes outside of Boston) and I have been acting, singing, and dancing from the day I saw Annie when I was three years old. I made the decision to study musical theatre in college because I cannot imagine a day without it. I want to learn more about my craft not only because I love it, but because I want to make my livelihood out of it. It's what I'm passionate about.

Why I chose CUA: I chose CUA because of the intense music concentration within their musical theatre degree and the ability for me to take classes outside of my major. With a degree in musical theatre from CUA, I will be able to go into an audition and sight sing any piece a director gives me, increasing my likelihood of booking the job. Additionally, I love the conservatory within a university setting and cherish the fact that I can go from my small concentrated music classes to an English or Biology class; I’m learning a lot.

Why I love CUA: I love CUA because of the family I was instantly welcomed into when I arrived. Each student is so supportive of one another, and being in a loving space where we know we can take risks, overall enhances our learning as students. There are also multiple opportunities here to get involved with campus activities. In addition to being a super busy musical theatre major, I am an Orientation Advisor as well as the Secretary of Redline A Cappella, the oldest a cappella group on campus. 


Fun facts: Autumn is by far my favorite season, I’m oddly really good at making animal noises, and I enjoy climbing trees (though not very good at it). I also love telling people all about CUA so let me know if you have any questions at all or just want to say hey!

 

Leanna Pizzo

Major: Music Education (General-Choral)
Year: Junior, Class of 2016
Hometown: Brookfield, CT

Why music education: I chose to study music education because some of the most influential people in my life have been my music teachers. I want to inspire students like my music teachers have always inspired me.  

What I love about CUA: Being in the music school has challenged me to becoming a better musician while also helping me grow as a person. At CUA there is opportunity for everyone both on and off campus; always something going on and always something to do!  

Other activities: Outside of the music school I am on the rugby team and work in the Centennial Village residence hall Office. 

 

Micaela Mannix

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Junior, Class of 2016
Hometown: Draper, UT

Why I love CUA: I was very nervous coming to  CUA because I was so far away from home, but within a matter of weeks I was able to establish a new family within the music school as well as get involved in some activities in other parts of campus. I love service as well as participating in the Friday night activities The House sets up every weekend. 

Why I chose CUA: I chose Catholic because I believed it would be a program that would help me to grow as a performer and I feel that I have accomplished things here that I never thought I'd be able to do. I've also made some pretty cool friends along the way! :)
 

 

 
Audrey Enright

Major: Musical Theatre
Year: Freshman, Class of 2018
Hometown: St. Louis, MO 

About Me: I am from St. Louis, Missouri and am a freshman at CUA getting my Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre. Since the age of three, I have loved singing and dancing—specifically performing on our family room coffee table. I began doing musicals in sixth grade and have never stopped since. Besides theatre, I have been playing piano since age seven and am an endorphin junky. I love to run and go to yoga when I have free time.  

Why I Chose CUA: I fell in love immediately with the conservatory style of CUA's program. I love how almost all of my classes are centered around music or dance, yet I can still have the option to try classes outside of my major. I also really love how I can pursue a musical degree but still get to experience the typical college life. But, the main reason I chose it was the sense of family you get the moment you walk on campus. Within a week of going here, I already had found my place and felt like I fully belonged to this wonderful family away from home.