Shine: Kendra Frey

Posted on May 11th, 2016 by

CORE VALUE: EXCELLENCE. Kendra Frey’s choice to perform at the highest level possible within her multiple passions made her an exceptional candidate for medical school. She was accepted into several programs, and heads to the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in the fall. (Photo: Becca Sabot)

(Shine profiles celebrate members of the Gustavus community who are shining examples of one of the Gustavus core values.)

Music and science.

Concertmaster in the symphony orchestra. Genetic tagger of yeast proteins using fluorescent markers. Soloist in the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra’s season finale.

Seven semesters of Russian. “I’m conversational,” she says.

It seems impossible that an undergrad could achieve so much across such divergent disciplines. And yet here is Frey, all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska, driven, serious, accomplished, and humbled by all of it.

Especially as she was initially unwilling to choose Gustavus. Her sister was studying sciences here. Her sister was the concertmaster in the orchestra. “I didn’t want to follow her,” Frey says. “I applied to mollify her.” But Frey’s primary criteria for a college were “small, with a good science program and good music.” It was hard to say no to a school that delivered both so effortlessly. Despite not wanting to follow her older sister, “I wouldn’t have to give up my involvement in music to be dedicated to the sciences at Gustavus,” Frey says.

She didn’t. And after a year on campus, when the older Frey graduated and headed to the University of Minnesota to study public health, she passed the concertmaster position to the younger Frey. (Yup. They are back-to-back Gustie sister concertmasters chasing health sciences.)

Frey double majored in biochemistry/molecular biology and chemistry, a challenging four years by itself. She also performed in chamber music ensembles, competed in the concerto and aria competition (she won in 2014 and 2016), and traveled with the Orchestra to Greece and Macedonia, playing contemporary American pieces. On the bus ride back from the airport, she started reading Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

She didn’t read it in Russian. But we had to ask.



Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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