Baron Hits High Note With Watson Fellowship

June 1, 1997

W. J. Keith (T '98)

"I can't believe that they are paying me to follow my dream!" That is how Newcomb senior Julie Baron describes her feelings when she received the prestigious Watson Fellowship this spring. The fellowship, awarded annually to graduates of small liberal arts colleges for overseas research projects, will support the New York City native in her study of operatic training techniques.

The program funds 12 months of study, and Baron will divide her time between France, Italy, Germany and England. In Europe, Baron will observe classes and teachers, studying directly with teachers and attending operas weekly. Through her research, she says she hopes to decide where she would like to continue studying opera.

"My real hope for this year is that I will be able to decide where I want to continue studying music," said Baron. "And I am hopefully going to continue music so long as I don't starve."

She jokes about a future without opera: "If I find myself starving, then I'll come home and get a job at a bank or something and hang my head in shame that I wasn't a good enough musician." Baron, who is a political science and economics major, began singing opera during high school and has been taking voice lessons while here at Tulane.

Initially, she came to Tulane to major in vocal performance, but said that she changed her major when she found the music curriculum to be more composition based. During her four years at Tulane, she has been involved with the residential review board and has been the business manager of the BrouHaHa. Additionally, she works as the advertising manager for Papa John's Pizza.

Baron says she is thrilled to have won the fellowship, and was rather shocked at how prestigious it was: "I received the senior packet over the summer, and my Mom read about the fellowship and said, 'Hey, this looks like a pretty good fellowship,' and so I decided to give it a shot. I had no idea that it was such a big deal. I didn't know that it was nationwide and that there were so many applicants. If I had known that, I probably would have never applied," she said.

"Dr. [John] Baron, the chair of the music department, was really helpful and very supportive from the beginning, and Dr. [Elizabeth] Poe, who was on the original selection committee, gave me a lot of support. Plus, having to write so many papers for the political science department really prepared me for the application process," Baron said. She is the 44th Newcomb student--and one of only 60 students in the country this year--to win the award.

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