Outstanding Grad: Annie Koppes

Annie KoppesAnnie Koppes

Major: Bachelor of Arts in Music (thesis track, cello)
Minors: French; Women and Gender Studies

As a first-generation student and founder of the CSU Musicology Club with a strong interest in musician representation, Annie Koppes has left a legacy of ambition, drive and resiliency here at CSU. Her outstanding grad nomination comes from two professors, Dr. Pippen and Dr. Shupe, who have had the pleasure of mentoring Koppes and watching her undergraduate journey unfold. Whether she is presenting her research at musicology conferences or advocating for intersectional representation, Annie Koppes takes on her passions with confidence and zeal.

Learn more about her story below:

1. Why did you choose to study at CSU?

“I have always felt so incredibly lucky to have been born and raised in Fort Collins. On top of that, I always felt so fortunate to have such a wonderful institution right in my backyard! The decision to stay in Fort Collins for my undergrad was made easy by CSU. I was further inspired by the welcoming community and faculty in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, all of which sealed my decision to study here.”

2. How has your background shaped your experience here at CSU, and what advice would you give to students of similar identities?

“At CSU, I found a sense of support in being a first-generation student. I was constantly motivated and inspired by my advisors who offered encouragement and support when the path did not always feel clear-cut. Additionally, through the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, I found empowerment in being a woman in higher education. Through WGAC, I was able to take feminist studies courses that proved invaluable to both my research on underrepresented musicians and in my daily life. I would encourage students who feel underrepresented to seek guidance through the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, First Generation University Initiative, and more. It’s always worth reaching out.”

3. What accomplishments from your educational career at CSU are you most proud of? How were you able to accomplish those things?

“Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mentors at the School of Music, Dr. John Pippen and Dr. Abigail Shupe. They—along with countless other faculty members—have offered endless support and opportunities that have helped me cultivate a research focus in social justice.

Throughout my undergraduate career, my research has focused on intersectional and labor analyses of underrepresented composers throughout history. I have been fortunate enough to have presented my research at the American Musicological Society Rocky Mountain Chapter Conference in 2021 and Colorado State University Undergraduate Research Symposium in 2020. My experiences presenting this research have kept me driven to advocate for social justice within the musicological field. Recently, I finished my undergraduate thesis discussing an intersectional and Bourdieusian labor analysis in the judicial case of Bessie Smith v. Columbia Records, Inc. By bringing intersectional perspectives to the lives of underrepresented musicians, I have experienced a personally cathartic and empowering phenomenon that continues to drive my passion.”

4. What has been the most challenging aspect of your educational career so far? How have you overcome those difficulties?

“Being a first-generation student can be challenging. In my freshman year, I was overwhelmed with concerns surrounding fiscal logistics while navigating uncharted territory. Seeking out supportive and trustworthy mentors and advisors has allowed me to overcome my apprehensions. Asking questions, reaching out to the Financial Aid office, and seeking support through the First-Generation Student Initiative have all proved beneficial in overcoming various challenges.”

5. What are your post-graduation plans and goals?

“I plan to pursue my PhD in Historical Musicology. My research focus will be centered on the exploitation and underrepresentation of musicians throughout the twentieth century, specifically women composers, Black blues and jazz musicians, and LGBTQ+ musicians. I am excited to see what the future has in store!”