This piece was written by Alice Crogan and originally featured on the College of Arts and Media’s website.
As Diana Lee looks forward to CU Denver’s graduation and heading to Master’s studies at Sunway University in Malaysia, she is also looking forward to opportunities–– not just for herself but how she can provide opportunities to musicians and artists through economic policy. She’s already prepared to make an impact in this niche of the creative economy. At CU Denver’s College of Arts & Media (CAM) she studied Music Business, and honed her studies in the local music ecosystem through internships and self-led research examining the incredible measurable impact music can make on a community.
Expanding Horizons in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
In fall of 2020, Lee will be attending Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur, earning a scholarship towards a Masters in Creative Arts & Media. It’s huge investment in her commitment to reaching her goals–she has been accepted to prestigious graduate programs in the U.S., but connections to Sunway through a CAM partnership for cultural and scholarly exchange and a graduate program that aligns with her professional ambitions have led her to take on the challenge of international study.
Malaysia is home to one of the world’s most robust and well-supported creative economies. Lee is looking forward to “immersive study of the global creative industry and how music, policy, and economy can impact any community.” As the creative sector is becoming more global and interconnected, understanding the international factors that affect arts, economics, and quality life is critical.
Student, Scholar, and Leader
Lee found pathways to grow as a student and scholar on and off-campus. Earning a Fellowship Award for Undergraduate Research, Lee investigated the economic impact of the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) on Denver and the area neighborhood. Her findings report on both the financial and civic impact of the festival. These types of studies influence city planning and demonstrate the relationship between music ecosystem and the local economy. Lee also interned with Take Note Colorado, a charitable collaboration between former Governor John Hickenlooper and CAM alumni and singer of The Fray, Issac Slade.
Looking beyond her home in Colorado, Lee took the opportunity to expand her horizons on a recent study abroad trip to Cuba; what she describes as an “amazing experience to discover how music interprets and drives culture.” On campus, Lee is peer mentor at Lynx Connect and at CU Denver’s Peer Advocate Leader Program, supporting other students in their journey through college life.
“I got to where I am because of the CU Denver community that supported me.”
Lee credits her academic experience and mentors for becoming a critical thinker and researcher, and helping her discover her passion– which is to “build a community that supports creatives.” Her professional goals support this passion and she credits CAM Music Business Professor Storm Gloor for demonstrating how music can be a change agent.
As CU Denver offers opportunities to develop knowledge and skill, it also offers self-awareness to turn passions into professional goals. That same growth means understanding the kind of support that made their student experiences possible. As a Reisher Scholar (a scholarship only awarded to second-year students who have demonstrated academic success), Lee says the “assurance that others had in me to succeed the gave me the confidence to believe in myself.”
Lee’s passions lead her to look to how she can one day lend professional support to others coming up in music business. She says she wants to take her international experiences and come back to Denver because it was a community that has given her so much and where “no one ever let me down.”