Preston Wilson Music PhD candidate honored with Mizzou 18 award
Photo Credit: Allison Davis
G. Preston Wilson, PhD student in Music Education, has been chosen to receive a Mizzou 18 Award. This award is given to 18 University of Missouri graduate and professional students in the last year of their degree eligibility. Students are chosen for their excellent research, collaboration with faculty & staff, and demonstrated leadership.
Preston came to Mizzou in Fall 2018 after visiting with the Music Education faculty and feeling like Mizzou was a good fit for him. Looking back, he knows Mizzou was meant from him. One event in particular proved this to him. He remembers, “Having a solo at the 2019 American Choral Directors Association with the University Choir was pretty amazing. And ironically enough, once I walked off stage, I received a tap on my shoulder. Once I turned around, it was Mrs. Scott Hill: my high school music teacher. She is half the reason I decided to become a music educator. That was a full circle moment for me: the woman who inspired me was able to witness a return on the investment she made in me years ago. Cementing yet another reason why I know my presence at Mizzou was not sheer happenstance.”
Feeling very humbled and honored to receive this award, he comments, “I really was just trying to be a good scholar, a good student, and a good person. I try my best to put positivity out whenever and however I can, and so far, favor and good fortune have found me: for that I am grateful.”
One person instrumental in his success at MU is his advisor, Dr. Wendy Sims, director of Music Education at Mizzou. He shares, “If ‘Excellence in Music Education’ was a person, it would be Dr. Sims; her word carries so much weight in the field, and her influence reaches far beyond [Mizzou]. And with all of this authority in the world of music education, she thinks that my perspective is interesting and valid. I remember one day I stopped by her office, and she asked me, “Preston, what do you think about this?” (referencing an idea she had) And I’m like, “Why is she asking me: does she know that she is Wendy Sims?” Even with all the knowledge she produces and possesses, she still is open to learning new things and discussing fresh viewpoints. I am privileged to get to learn from such a phenomenal instructor who is still meek [and] willing to share her time and wisdom.”
Dr. Sims in turn holds high esteem for Preston, “Preston is very deserving of this award, having excelled in a rigorous doctoral program and also completing the Minor in College Teaching. I have no doubt that his research about urban music education will make important contributions to the field. Student evaluations of his teaching are consistently high, noting his enthusiasm, approachability, and command of content. He has also generously helped orient new teaching assistants to the courses he has been teaching and shared resources with them. Preston has garnered respect on campus through his leadership with student government and by serving on high-profile committees. Even with his busy schedule, Preston continually maintains a warm, relaxed, outgoing personality. He has enriched the School of Music as well as Mizzou with his presence and clearly exemplifies the criteria for this awesome award.”
The School of Music would like to congratulate Preston on this fantastic achievement and we look forward to seeing all the future holds for him.