Shanna Tobar Lank '09

November 18, 2013

Shanna Tobar Lank '09 and FamilyMajor: Music

Minor: Education

Current Residence: Auburn, Ind.

What are you doing now?

I teach 6th through 8th grade concert bands at DeKalb Middle School. I also have the opportunity to work with these great kids in our middle school jazz ensembles. Along with working at the middle school, I am an Assistant Band Director to the Baron Brigade. I focus on marching basics and adding in visuals to the marching show. During the winter, I work with one of two high school jazz bands, Jazz Too. Jazz Too competes all over Indiana at places such as Purdue, Ball State, and various high schools.

I am also working on my graduate degree at Purdue University in Instructional Design and Technology.

Why did you choose SJC?

I felt it was important to have small class sizes and professors who were willing to talk after class. It was great to know professors were interested in how well I was doing in and outside of the classroom.

What was your experience like at SJC?

The first time I walked on campus, SJC instantly felt like home, and it still feels that way every time I return. The faculty, staff, and administration take it upon themselves to get to know you—not just your major, but who you are. They all go out of their way for you and the same can be said for the student body.

The Department of Music has so many opportunities for students to bond and make the SJC experience fantastic. It was through the Department of Music that I met my best friend and sister, Lisa Guzman '09.

What experiences did you appreciate most in the SJC Department of Music?

I loved being a part of the band. I felt like I had a family to lean on when things were difficult and had 100 people to celebrate my success with. It is a great feeling when you walk across the stage at graduation and your entire band family is yelling your name, or at least the name they have given you.

Along with being a part of a huge family, I really enjoyed the musical selections of the wind ensemble and the pep band. Being able to tour with both groups was an absolute blast. Being able to cheer on my fellow Pumas in the GLVC tournament is something I will never forget.

How did the Core Program integrate with your major?

First and foremost, Core helped me discover my world views. Instead of going along with the views of my parents, Core gave me the knowledge to form my own thoughts and opinions on societal and religious views. The program showed me it is okay to think outside the box and be different.

Core also gave me the skills to be a proficient speaker. Through the various papers and presentations that were required of us, I learned how to skillfully and tactfully share my views with others, especially those who may not agree with my views.

What advice would you give to a prospective student looking to major in Music at SJC?

Understand that SJC is not a big school atmosphere. You are not just a number. The professors are willing to go out of their way to make sure you understand the material and are there for you outside of the classroom. They make the Department of Music feel like a family.

How were the faculty members in your department helpful to you?

Associate Professor of Music and Director of College Bands Robb Thiel and Professor Emeritus of Music Dr. John Egan had the greatest impact on my life. I came to SJC with a scholarship in Music but was a Biology-Chemistry major. I spent all of my extra time in the band room or Robb’s office. Both professors sat down and had a talk with me. They noticed I was not as dedicated to my major as I was to music. They convinced me to switch. Without them, I would not be spending the rest of my life doing what I have a passion for.

Robb continues to be invaluable in my life. He is someone who pulled me in his office and scolded me for misbehaving in college and has now graduated to someone I call when something momentous happens in my life. The professors and staff at SJC continue to care about you after you graduate.

How prepared did you feel for employment after graduation? 

Shanna Tobar Lank '09 at workRobb Thiel did a great job preparing us for employment. He was in constant contact with us when job openings became available. He would tell us what jobs to watch; he showed us how to make resumes that stood out from the rest; and he never lied to us about what life in education is like. He was not afraid to share horror stories with us and tell us what is like to work with boosters. Not having any experience in running our own band programs, his information was invaluable.

Explore the Core
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    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. 

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  • High Quality Academics

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    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.

  • Images of Students

    Start Your Major Freshman Year

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

  • Images of Students


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

  • Images of Students

    High Quality Academics

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


  • Images of Students


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

  • Images of Students

    Real-life Skills

    Get real-life experience and become an excellent communicator.