A Q&A With Paige Sorensen
Paige Sorensen, Class of 2019, Music and Environmental Studies and Sustainability major with minors in Biology and Social Justice.
What drew you to creating a music major?
When I started at Merrimack, the only path for a student interested in studying music was to pursue a music minor—no music major existed yet. So, I began my path as a music minor and was immediately drawn to the curriculum because of my passion for the topic. I ended up acquiring a music minor within my first two years at Merrimack but wanted to continue exploring as many music options as I could. That’s when I discussed creating a ‘Contract Major’ in Music with Dr. Laura Pruett of the VPA department. We modeled the major off of the pre-existing theatre major at Merrimack and sought out approval from the administration. Shortly thereafter, I was granted approval to pursue music as my second major and Dr. Pruett leveraged the opportunity to establish an official music major at Merrimack.
What was your involvement with the Visual and Performing Arts?
My involvement with the VPA department at Merrimack continued even after my graduation, as I participated in the Jazz Ensemble for three years and the Concert Choir for one semester as an undergraduate.
Did you have a favorite class?
Honors Concept Album! In this class, students were challenged with new musical concepts and pushed to the limits to consider questions like “What should be considered music?” and “What is considered art?” and further encouraged to let our creativity loose by collaborating to create our own musical album as a class. The Honors Concept Album course, taught by Dr. Laura Pruett, inspired me to focus my senior Honors Capstone Project on concept albums and compose and perform my own original concept album.
When you weren’t in class or studying, what did you like to do?
As a member of the Women’s Ice Hockey team, you could almost certainly find me hanging around the Merrimack Athletic Complex or fueling up with my teammates and chatting in the dining hall. When we weren’t busy at practice or doing homework, it would be likely that you’d find us indulging in some Richardson’s Ice Cream in Middleton, only about 10 min off-campus!
What are you up to now?
After graduating from Merrimack, I continued my studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I received my Master of Science in Environmental Conservation in August 2020. Currently, I am working for Cargill—a global leader in the food production industry—in my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota as a Sustainability Associate where I am working to reduce the impact of the beef supply chain.
If you could give one piece of advice to Merrimack students what would you say?
Just because an opportunity doesn’t exist yet for you at Merrimack doesn’t mean you can’t create one for yourself. Shape your own experience! Talk to a professor, or an advisor, about what you’re envisioning and you never know what could happen!