Gayle Elizabeth Arend '14

November 18, 2013

Major: Music

Minor: Education

Hometown: Wolcottville, Ind.

Leadership: Event Coordinator, Choir President, NAfME Vice President, Former Student Music Ministry Director

Are you receiving financial aid?

I received the Honors Scholarship, Alumni Scholarship (my mother attended SJC) and a Choir Performance Scholarship that I auditioned for. SJC awarded me scholarships automatically based on my grades and my standing and sat down with me personally to discuss what aid I would get based on how hard I worked in high school.

Why did you choose SJC?

While picking out a school to attend, SJC stood out right away as a welcoming college that would see me not only as a student but also on a personal level. I love that I am close to many of my professors and that they know me and can help me individually. It's also awesome that you can get to know so many students, especially those who share your interests.

The Core Program

I enjoy all of the classic literature that we read in Core. I love the classics and getting others ideas and opinions on them. Though many times students do not always agree, it is a great opportunity to hear others' opinions and to build strong foundations and arguments for what you believe and why. It challenges you to defend your thoughts and knowledge—and to understand others even if you do not agree.

The Core Program offered at SJC is great for spreading out all the required classes you would have to take at another university in your freshman and sophomore years into all four years. You can start working towards your major right away.

Help with deciding on a major

However, I did not declare a major until my sophomore year and since I had already been taking required classes, I wasn't too behind and could make up what I needed easily. SJC is a great place to get encouragement if you don't know what you would like to study and there are wonderful professors who see your potential and help you as best they can. My academics are busy, being a Music Education major, but all the Music professors have helped me so much. The Department of Music at SJC offers so many opportunities and ensembles to participate in and it's still growing! I love being able to sing for Mass in Concert Choir on special feast days. It's wonderful to be so involved.

The Choir also tours and sings at different parishes such as Saint John Cantius in Chicago. Next November, the Choir has the privilege of traveling to Rome and singing at St. Peter's Basilica. I'm so excited to have this opportunity!

Clubs and Activities

Being a part of the community at SJC allows you to be in any club you want, and if there is nothing to spark your interest, you can create your own! I am or have been a part of the following clubs and organizations:

  • Concert Band
  • Pep Band
  • Marching Band
  • Puma Pounders Percussion Ensemble
  • Jazz Band
  • Concert Choir (President)
  • Jazz Choir
  • Chamber Singers
  • The National Association for Music Educators (Vice President) Columbian Players
  • Alpha Lambda Delta
  • Cup o' Joe Coffee House
  • Right to Life Club (Going to the Right-to-Life March in Washington D.C.)
  • I hope this spring break to go on the Habitat for Humanity trip.

Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry has been a huge part of my career here at SJC. For the last year I have been the Student Music Ministry Director and have been a part of the Campus Ministry group. I really enjoy being able to meet with people who have the same beliefs I have and put together the best Mass we can provide for SJC.

I have also been a retreat and leader on the Kairos retreats that are provided here at SJC. It was one of the best retreats I've been on, and I love the relationships you build there. I hope to be more involved in the Right-to-Life club this year and to make the trip to Washington, D.C., a more inclusive trip, and get more SJC students to attend.

In many of the organizations I'm in, we do some sort of community service. It is a great feeling going out in the community and trying to build a good relationship with people in Rensselaer.

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Explore the Core
  • Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Like Elementary Education major Brittany Cooper ’12, you start your major as soon as you walk in the door, so you will have four years of knowledge and experience in your field.You can even change your mind about your major and still graduate on time with lots of experience.

    Core and the major work in harmony to develop the cognitive skills requisite for success in a competitive, global society. Students better understand the forces that shape the future by exploring the past. They discuss contemporary events; analyze the impact of science on our understanding of humanity and the universe; and investigate diverse cultures and world civilizations. 

  • Mentorship

    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors, such as Communication Professors Fred and Sally Berger, do more for you—they serve as mentors. Studies show that having a mentor leads to success in your field. Alumni often tell us how their professors not only played a major role in their success, but also became lifelong friends.  If you are undecided about what to major in, we help you decide.

  • High Quality Academics

    In the Core Program, you will be inspired to debate, analyze, and solve problems. Discussion of culture and society, the modern world, and Christian Humanism are just a few highlights of the Program. New perspectives will be gained, your worldview will expand, and you will graduate from SJC as a well rounded, highly marketable person.

  • Leadership

    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life. LaMichelle Sanders ’14, for example, has spent two summers helping Chinese study abroad students adapt to life in the U.S. and at SJC. If you want to start a club or activity that doesn’t exist, we encourage you to start one. At SJC, prepare yourself for what you want to do in life.

  • Real-life Skills

    Because of the skills you develop by having the Core Program interact with your major for four years in addition to internships, job shadowing, and service learning, you get hands-on experience in preparation for your career or graduate school. Students Hanna Kane ’14, Emily Baird ’15, and Alyssa Guarnaccia ’14 collect food in the SJC hoophouse to be distributed on campus. You will also get four years of analytical, writing, and speaking skills that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

  • Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Get a jump start on your career and have your resume ready to go at graduation.  

  • Mentorship

    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors do more for you—they serve as mentors.

  • High Quality Academics

    The Core Program is all about you and your role in the world.


  • Leadership

    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life.

  • Real-life Skills

    Get real-life experience and become an excellent communicator.