Hitting the right note with music and science
PC junior Jenna Seubarran has been singing since she could talk. When thinking about her earliest music experiences, she remembers her mom singing her songs from “Elmo,” and later, her own “big voice” activities like performing in elementary school choirs and shows.
By third grade, one of Seubarran’s teachers nominated her for the ARMES Program at the Fine Arts Center, where she was offered the choice of learning to play a string instrument. She picked the viola.
Her parents always joked with her about the day she brought the instrument home; they weren’t sure if they’d ever seen one before. But they were on board soon enough. After getting through the paperwork, she started playing in fourth grade and has been playing since.
Because music has been in her life for so long, she knew she wanted to study it in college, and she also became interested in helping others through the medical field.
“I came in wanting to do OT, but then I think it was two summers ago, I decided to go premed, because I had the opportunity to actually shadow surgeries, and I really liked the OR,” Seubarran said.
Music to Her Ears
She didn’t want to have to choose one subject over the other as her major. She kept looking for schools where she could do both. When she learned PC would allow her to major in both biology and music, she decided to apply.
“The biggest thing about PC is that they allow the time in your schedule to do both of the things that you love and especially want to major in,” Seubarran said. “I don’t think there’s been any overlap for me yet, in having to choose whether or not I need to take this biology class with this music class.”
Seubarran’s music major is a split focus in voice and viola, and she also has a minor in chemistry. Seubarran, a member of the PC Orchestra and PC Choir, has a schedule of lessons, lab, rehearsals and classes like music history.
“Music history with Dr. Buckland had to be one of my favorites,” she said. “Dr. Buckland is a really great professor, and music history is a very interesting and in-depth subject. I clicked with history after my junior year of high school, and I had a really good teacher then. So I just get it.”
Her professors are a part of the reason she says she “feels at home” within the departments. Dr. Richard Thomas, orchestra director, for example, hosts dinners and throws an end of the year celebration.
‘I Really Enjoy School’
Having the two majors, however, also means balancing her commitments.
“There are those stressful times,” she said, “but … I think about the fact that it’s enjoyable, and it’s going to lead to a degree and a bigger purpose in life. I try to hold onto that and the end-game aspect of it. I really enjoy the music side of it, and I can honestly say that I enjoy the science part of it. I really enjoy school.”
Her best friends also study biology or music, and she often enjoys piling into a car with them to grab dinner in town.
“That’s where I get the grasp of family from the school and the homey feeling, the real sense of community,” Seubarran said.
Her parents aren’t too far either, or those early music memories: Her instrument case is full of their pictures, which she sees before pulling out her viola for performance or practice.
Serving Others in Clinton and After PC
Outside of the classroom, she is involved in several organizations, from Blue Fish, Laurens Academy of Music to Student Volunteer Services.
Every week, between her other campus involvement, she spends time with residents at Presbyterian Home, playing games like bingo and helping with crafts. In the summers, she’s immersed back in science as a volunteer at the Roper Mountain Science Center in her hometown of Greenville, S.C.
The service component at PC is something she wants to continue in her career.
Currently, Seubarran is looking at med schools and possibly pursuing otolaryngology, a field that focuses on the ears, nose and throat. Otolaryngologists, or ENTs, often work with vocalists, something she feels would connect her with patients, though she knows she could change her mind and is still open to other opportunities.
“Med school and any graduate school, in general, is tough business,” she said, “so I feel like the classes at PC are tough enough to prepare me for what is to come next.”