School of Music Student Wins Marshall Scholarship

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Herman Chavez’ motto is, “challenge assumptions.” He has always created his own path to reach his goals. Herman’s journey toward being awarded the Marshall scholarship began at Colorado State University, where he studied cello and education.  While double majoring in comparative literature and ethnomusicology at UCLA, his impressive research and on-campus activism truly blossomed and have now been nationally recognized in his selection as a 2022 Marshall Scholar.

The Marshall Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships offered to American college students. The scholarship selects about 40 American students each year based on academic merit, as well as leadership and ambassadorial potential. The scholarship includes all costs of pursuing a two-year degree at a British university.

As a Marshall Scholar, Herman will have the opportunity to pursue an MSc in Global Affairs and an MMus in Musicology at King’s College London. His future aspirations include obtaining a Ph.D. in Musicology and becoming a professor of music at a public institution.

Herman credits his acceptance as a Marshall Scholar to his experiences as a transfer student at UCLA. While his decision to transfer to UCLA was not an easy one, it is emblematic of his ability to turn obstacles into opportunities. Transferring to UCLA created opportunities for him to accomplish that which would otherwise have been unachievable. 

Herman continues to rise to the challenges. The fact that the acceptance rate for a Marshall Scholarship is only 4% (up to 50 scholars are selected each year) did not dissuade Herman from applying. What drew him to the Marshall Scholarship was the focus on service, ambassadorial potential, and the possibility of fostering enduring relationships between peoples.  

According to Herman, “Humans are fundamentally musical.” At UCLA he made the conscious decision to dedicate himself to creative expression through artistry, education, and advocacy. To accomplish his service-centered and creativity-oriented path, he immersed himself in a variety of outreach and education engagements to develop his own artistry and enhance the lives of those around him. With his experience in non-profit and federal institutions, as well as in K-12 and higher education, he seeks to contribute to communities that value critical thinking, the deconstruction of oppressive systems and the support of individuals who have been institutionally underserved. Although he specializes in music, literature, education, and advocacy, he also has interests in the broader arts and the relationship that creativity has with public policy and social justice. He is committed to the advancement of social equity in his work, and actively pursues experiences in research and outreach that reflect this goal.

In October, Herman was named an NISTS (National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students) 2022 Transfer Student Ambassador for his commitment to improving the transfer process for other students. Herman is also an Elaine Krown Klein Fine Arts Scholar. The late Elaine Krown Klein was a long-time supporter of the arts at UCLA. Her philanthropy supported hundreds of talented students over three decades. Donors like Elaine make it possible for aspiring musicians and scholars to transfer to The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, ensuring that financial need is not an insurmountable barrier to a superior education.

Herman has benefited from the guidance of his thesis advisors, Cesar Favila (UCLA Musicology), Katherine In-Young Lee (UCLA Musicology), and Tamara Levitz (UCLA Musicology/Comparative Literature); scholarship advisor Rebecca Blustein; and the support from donors such as Elaine Krown Klein. We are proud to congratulate Herman as UCLA’s very own Marshall Scholar.   

Herman’s accomplishments bring great honor to The Herb Alpert School of Music, the Humanities Division, and to UCLA.