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Musician Followed Her Dreams 5,000 Miles Away From Home

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When Nina Crecia was a teenager, she decorated her bedroom in Germany with a poster of the Golden Gate Bridge and several tiny Post-it notes with English words: ceiling, window sill.

“I wanted to go to America, and I did everything in my power to make that dream come true,” she shared. “I learned English by watching ‘Gilmore Girls’ and taking notes. I applied to be an au pair. Two days after my high school prom, I boarded a plane to New York.

“My going to America was not just a random dream, but an act of freeing myself from years of hearing such talk as ‘You won’t amount to anything’ and ‘You are a waste of time and space.’ I decided to find a different space and to create a new life for myself.”

Working as an au pair, Crecia made her way to California. She studied vocal performance at Santa Monica College before transferring to Cal State Fullerton, where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in composition in 2019. 

This spring, Crecia is completing a second degree at Cal State Fullerton — a Master of Music — and preparing to be a teaching candidate in choral music in the fall.

“I would not be here today if it hadn’t been for my amazing host family, the Parskys, who gave me a home and made it possible for me to go to school here,” said Crecia.

A first-generation, international college student, Crecia made the most of her college experience, serving CSUF’s School of Music as an assistant prospective student coordinator and in leadership roles for the music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon. She continues to be an active member of the National Association for Music Education, American Choral Directors Association and Collegiate Council of California Music Educators Association.

Crecia also credits music faculty Nicole Baker, Kenneth Walicki, John Koegel, Christopher Peterson and Katherine Reed as well as James Hussar, chair and professor of modern languages and literatures, for supporting her during her academic career.

“Sometimes it takes someone else believing in you for you to believe in yourself, too. And I was very fortunate to have had people in my life who clapped for me.”

Lynn Juliano