Melodie Sun

Melodie Sun

Dean's Scholar

Major: Mathematics and Music Education
College of Science and College of Humanities & the Arts

Why did you choose your major?

Ironically, when I was in high school, there were two subjects I told myself I would never, ever major in: music and math. I didn't want to major in music because I hated having to practice every day, and I didn't want to major in math because I thought I was really bad at math. When I started taking classes at my community college, I wasn’t able to get into most of the classes I needed. Long story short, my mom talked me into taking a music theory course because she studied music and could help me if I needed. In my first semester, I wasn't able to practice violin as much because I was transitioning from being home schooled to being a full time college student. By the end of the semester however, I had discovered how important music had become in my life throughout my years of practice and how much I actually missed playing my violin. I also realized that I actually really liked music theory after taking the course. I decided then that I would not be able to survive without continuing to study music. My story with math is not quite as dramatic. From 5th to 9th grade, I was part of a home school math club. I trailed behind the group, so naturally, I thought I was bad at math. As I took more math classes to satisfy my GE requirements, I began to realize that all the kids in my math club were just really smart and super above average. In addition, my first math professor told us that doing math is like solving puzzles, which changed my whole view on math since I love puzzles. Math started becoming something I really enjoyed doing, and I decided to go with it to see where it would take me. It sounds a bit backwards to most people, but in short, I chose music because it's something I love, and I chose math because it's something I can do for fun on the side.

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

While I am honored to be a Dean’s Scholar, I must give credit to my family, friends, and especially my professors. I would not have received this award if it were not for their support. I also would not have received this award if it were not for my faith in God. My parents have always taught me to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). I have tried my best to balance school and other extracurricular activities with my faith and ministry activities, giving priority to the latter, and this award is a testimony to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ that when we honor God, He will honor us.

Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life? In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.

Without doubt, my parents have been the greatest influence on my life. They are the most amazing people I know, and without their support, I would not be receiving this award today. I hope I can be half the amazing woman my Mom is by the time I get to be her age, and I hope to marry a man that is as patient, as loving, and as great of a leader and cook as my Dad.

As for SJSU faculty members, there are so many who have contributed to my academic success, but if I could only pick one, I would have to thank my violin instructor, Diane Nicholeris. I have grown so much as a musician in the last three years because of her. Every time I go into my lesson, however musically I think I’m playing, she always has a way of making me sound even better than I thought I could. Diane is magical, and all I can do is hope that I’ve picked up a bit of her pixie dust to share with my own students.

Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.

Coming to SJSU was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. To be honest, I didn’t want to come here at first. Now that I have been here for three years, however, I am so glad I did. In my first semester, I joined a Christian club which eventually led me to be a part of Alabaster House of Prayer, San Jose (named SJSU Prayer Family at the time). I found like-minded students there, and I have grown so much in so many ways through being part of that uplifting community. I have no idea who I would be today had I not come to SJSU.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

I think one of the most important things to learn in life is to prioritize. If you have your priorities straight, then you can put more time and energy into the things that are truly important to you. I believe it’s better to do a few things well than to do everything poorly. Also, don’t be afraid to take breaks every now and then. Everyone knows that life isn’t all fun and games, but life is also not all about school and work. Take the time to figure out what is more important, not just right now, but also in the long run.

What makes you a Spartan?

As I mentioned earlier, choosing SJSU was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love all the faculty here who are so passionate about the things they teach, and I love the community that I’ve been able to find here. I’ve gained a lot of experience from the many opportunities that SJSU has provided me, both socially and professionally. I know there’s still a lot of space for me to grow, but nothing can replace the relationships and experiences I’ve had here at SJSU, and I am proud to be a Spartan.

Nominated by Bem Cayco