• Social Innovation Fellowship


Premed / Undecided

Award Year 

Share The Spotlight

New York City
Share The Spotlight is a free summer music program started in 2014 aimed at empowering young adults ages 11-17 from low income backgrounds through performance. Students take part in an eight-week season during July and August, rehearsing in bands twice a week to prepare for a final concert at a real New York City rock venue. For the past two summers, Share The Spotlight has partnered with School of Rock New York City, where students work with professional musicians and experienced student mentors to develop their skills on guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboard and vocals during private lessons and group rehearsals. Through the experience of playing in a band and performing, students become part of a supportive community of musicians, developing their skills and gaining the confidence to rock on and off stage.


Ever since I can remember, I have loved to sing. According to my family, I sang before I could talk. But as I grew up I became increasingly self conscious and began to cower away from my passion. Through turbulent awkward middle school years, my love for singing became my deepest darkest secret. I told everyone that I sounded like a dying cat and didn’t sing (outside the shower) for years. At 15, I joined a performance based-music program called School of Rock as a guitar player that became a second home. After a year surrounded by teachers who supported me and friends who constantly pushed themselves beyond their musical comfort zones, I finally worked up the courage to sing in front of an audience. After belting my heart out at one of New York City’s storied venues, The Bitter End, I felt a sense of pride I had never experienced before. After a year, I was able to tour the country with the National School of Rock All Stars as a vocalist. I could not believe that I had hidden my greatest talent from the world for so many years.

A moment of great realization came for me when one of my best friends had to drop out of the School of Rock program because his family could no longer afford it. I suddenly recognized my own privilege; I would never have developed the self esteem to share my passion if my family had not been able to send me to a music program. I started Share The Spotlight in 2014 in partnership with School of Rock New York City in order to make the opportunity to learn music and perform available to students from every background. Young adults far too often do not have the self-esteem to embrace and share their passions, and I believe that every young adult deserves the opportunity to be part of a supportive community where they can truly excel. Share The Spotlight not only aims to teach music but to inspire each of our students to see the rock star in him or herself and develop the confidence to reach his or her potential.