GVSU student achieves education while taking advantage of opportunities

GVSU student achieves education while taking advantage of opportunities

Mary Mattingly

While some students spend college going through the motions to obtain the necessary degree to pursue their chosen career, others find ways to achieve a college education while still engaging their passions. Grand Valley State University student Alexa Kroonblawd is one of these individuals.

“She (has) a beautiful voice and is a charming colleague,” said Min Jin, Kroonblawd’s voice teacher at GVSU. “She loves to learn brand new culture, and she loves learning new music, as well.”

A fifth year senior at GVSU, Alexa Kroonblawd is majoring in vocal performance and minoring in Spanish. As a singer pursuing a country-pop music career, Kroonblawd has been approached by both Capitol and Atlantic Records. Aside from studying music academically, she has also taken advantage of traveling while at GVSU, including living in both China and Spain.

Kroonblawd maintains that all goals can be reached through perseverance.

“Nothing is impossible if you have an aptitude for something and are willing to work for it,” she said. “Growing up, I always wanted to be a singer, so I auditioned for a lot of things. Sometimes I succeeded, and sometimes I failed. Those failures just made me work harder and finally, while I chose not to take it then, I had my shot.”

During her senior year of high school, Kroonblawd was selected to partake in an international modeling, acting and singing competition in Los Angeles. Following a solo performance, she was approached by Capitol Records, which indicated a desire to be a part of a potentially successful singing career for Kroonblawd.

“I felt like I was dreaming,” she said. “Capitol Records stayed in touch with me after the competition and encouraged me to go to New York after I graduated from high school. This was when I realized that singing didn’t have to be only a passion of mine, but could actually turn into a career.”

After meeting with a manager of Atlantic Records, it was suggested that Kroonblawd had the look and sound for country-pop music.

“Thus far, everyone I have met in the country music scene has been welcoming and genuine — nothing like what I had anticipated the music business would be like,” she said. “I decided that if I was going to work in the industry, I might as well work with people who treat me well.”

So far, Kroonblawd has recorded a single, received airplay on several podcasts, and has given a radio interview at Reba McEntire’s studio in Nashville. Instead of plunging into a professional career once she graduated from high school, Kroonblawd chose to first pursue a degree at GVSU.

While at GVSU, Kroonblawd has been active in extracurricular activities. Currently, she is an alumnus of Gamma Phi Beta and an active member of Sigma Alpha Lambda. She has also been active in several clubs, including Groove Acapella, GVSU Pom Pons and the SVSU Swing.

Kroonblawd grew up in Asia, living in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and when her parents moved back to Shanghai, she took time off from GVSU to live with them.

“After I returned from China, I had the traveling bug — bad,” she said. “I have loved traveling since living in Asia when I was little, and now that I’d had a taste of it again, I wanted more.”

To fulfill requirements for her Spanish minor, Kroonblawd spent the past semester in Valencia, Spain. While living in China, she had the chance to travel more.

“I think the things I miss the most are my friends and family,” Kroonblawd said. “ I’ve discovered that nearly everything can be replaced: new favorite food, new local coffee shop, new study spot, even a new brand of shampoo. But the people are what make a place feel like home.”

Traveling has allowed Kroonblawd to see situations from a multitude of perspectives.

“The more places I see, the more accepting and understanding I have become not just of other cultures, but of my own, as well,” she said. “I’ve learned that it’s hard to notice the flaws in your own society until you see them through the eyes of someone on the outside. After I saw some of the stereotypes that foreigners have about Americans, I paid more attention to my actions and how others perceive me.”

After graduation, Kroonblawd plans to work in the music field professionally and attend graduate school to obtain either a Master of Arts Administration or a Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management.