A nudge from the president. That’s all it took for SJC Long Island senior Christian Szajna to apply – and then get accepted – to Berklee College of Music in Spain.
Szajna, 23, of Bayport said that during the fall when he was unsure of what to do after earning his bachelor’s degree, St. Joseph’s College President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., suggested he apply to graduate school.
“He was the one who gave me the idea to apply to Berklee,” said Szajna, a product of Bayport-Blue Point High School who will major in Scoring for Film, Television and Video Games, a one-year master’s program at Berklee’s international campus in Valencia. “It was a bit of a scramble to get everything ready and submitted on time once I decided to do that.”
Class with the President
Szanja took a music roots class with Dr. Boomgaarden during the spring 2018 semester. He also performed alongside the president during the student talent show and a College Board of Trustees event last year.
“I got to know Dr. Boomgaarden through the music class,” said Szajna. The history major and music minor is set to graduate from SJC Long Island in May.
“I was pleasantly surprised. He is a genuine person,” Szajna said of Dr. Boomgaarden. “It was very kind of him to take time to consider what an individual student is going to do after college.”
Berklee is a prestigious institute of contemporary music and the performing arts. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs at its main campus in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as in Valencia. Singer John Mayer, producer and musician Quincy Jones and singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge are among the many alumni who have had great success in the music industry.
“This was an opportunity that I could not say ‘no’ to,” said Szajna, who looks forward to forging a career in writing music for video games. “I’m looking forward to being around other people who are passionate about the same things that I am.”
Szajna said he hopes to visit the Valencia campus before he starts classes in September.