May 17, 2024

At this year’s undergraduate Commencement, Music Education major Zoë Cohen is being honored by the university as one of ten 21st Century Leaders in recognition of her strong academic record, exemplary achievements, and intellectual accomplishments. In addition, Zoë has also been selected as the sole recipient of this year’s College of Humanities and Fine Arts’ Senior Leadership Award by Acting Dean Joye Bowman.

Zoe Cohen studying music scores

During her time at UMass, Zoë served in a Drum Major leadership role for four years with the Minuteman Marching Band, assisting directors with leading rehearsals and conducting hundreds of musicians. She has played trumpet in UMass wind ensembles, and she helped to found the university’s first all-female trumpet ensemble, as well as performing as a vocalist in the UMass Chamber Choir. Last year, she was co-recipient of the department’s Howard Lebow Memorial Scholarship for achievement in performance, and was also the first recipient of the Jeff Poulton and Suzanne Jessee Scholarship awarded to an outstanding Drum Major in the Marching Band.

She further honed her conducting credentials through an internship with the Smith College Wind Ensemble and by leading the pit orchestra for South Hadley High School’s production of “The Wedding Singer.” Zoë also served as president of the UMass Amherst collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education, and social media manager for the Pioneer Valley Trumpet Guild.

Zoe (left) with fellow drum major Marielle Chrupcala
Zoe (left) with fellow drum major Marielle Chrupcala

Trumpet professor Eric Berlin describes Zoë as a “great leader and brilliant scholar,” and one of the best young educators to come out of the department during his 23 years here. Both Berlin and Marching Band Director Timothy T. Anderson also credited her with working tirelessly to keep the band connected during the pandemic, until in-person rehearsals could resume.

Zoë will earn her Massachusetts Initial Educator License in Music in June and plans to pursue a career as a high school band director. She looks forward to inspiring the next generation of musicians; among her teachers and colleagues, there is no doubt that she will succeed!

Marching Band photos from Multibands 2023 by Eric Berlin.