Although he was homeschooled, Austin Philemon ’17 says his transition to college was more difficult for his parents than it was for him. His decision to accept the Levine Scholarship and attend UNC Charlotte was based on summer experiences, opportunities beyond funding and the faculty. He also enjoyed that Charlotte is big enough so that there is always something to do, yet small enough so that a simple undergraduate student with a lot of ambition can make some difference in the community as a whole.
The music performance (with a concentration in organ) and German double major was awarded the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) student scholarship and a German Department scholarship, both of which helped him study abroad in Austria. While there, Austin worked as a substitute organist and choirmaster. He also performed his original composition “Purple Sans Serif” in Paris. Austin has applied his musical talents as a student accompanist, organ scholar for Christ Church Charlotte and organists at Weddington United Methodist Church. He has organized and performed in several silent film fundraisers and worked for Opera Carolina as the assistant to the General Director.
Austin praises the faculty of UNC Charlotte, which he says is full of individuals who care about helping students achieve their ambitions if they simply show a desire to learn. He says his favorite class, Arts and Society, opened his mind not only to the many different ways of thought, but also led to personal breakthroughs of what culture really is and what it means to be part of one. Austin plans to use his civic engagement grant to put together a week-long series of classes or rehearsals for UNC Charlotte students and local musicians taught by a music expert. The week would culminate with a concert fundraiser for a local Charlotte charity.