Joseph Augusto Guimaraes 16’ has received the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a graduate school fellowship for outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants. Selected from 1,775 applicants, he is one of 30 recipients who were chosen for their potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture or academic work.
“When I looked at the list of past fellows, I was able to relate not only to their stories but also to what they where trying to do to better the country,” said Guimaraes.
Originally from Recife, Brazil, Guimaraes came to the United States in 1998 when he was 10-years-old. His family established themselves in Boca Raton and from an early age Guimaraes learned the concept of hard work through what his parents were able to accomplish.
“Hard work typically yields whatever it is that you what you want,” he said.
Guimaraes started playing the tuba when he was in the sixth grade and continued throughout high school.
Guimaraes studied music education for two years, but because he also had an affinity towards sciences and mathematics, he decided to switch to biology. He changed paths once again when he said, “One day I was reading a book, and was humming and moving my fingers to the notes that I was humming and said ‘I don’t think this is my passion, I want to do music.’”
While he was not accepted the first time he applied to Lynn, he auditioned a year later and got one of the only two tuba spots at the Conservatory of Music.
“When I got to Lynn, that was the start of my professional life,” he said. “The majority of the professors that I came in contact with were very inspirational and they really believed in what we could do. I am forever grateful for that.”
In addition to joining the prestigious community of recipients from past years, each honoree receives up to $90,000 for their graduate program. Currently, Guimaraes is a master’s student at the Yale School of Music.
“[Apart from] receiving the financial aid, joining the Paul & Daisy fellowship and the class of [past fellows] will be an invaluable tool to get closer to achieving my goal,” said Guimaraes. “I’m trying to push for a national music-education reform were every child should take and hopefully will take a music class.”
“Music has the ability to teach lessons; lessons that cannot be taught in traditional classrooms,” he continued. “Music, in conjunction with our current education system, would be able to create people that are not only intellects and scholars but are also able to be human.”
As an advocate of music education, Guimaraes launched his company, The Valve Beanie in 2015. He is also the founder of The Mouthpieces For All Initiative (TMPFAI), whose mission is to donate musical tools to underprivileged children to empower and engage them through the performing arts.
TMPFAI is the cornerstone of his work with youth as well as education reform. The organization’s work is only possible with the help of private supporters and donations can be made via their website under the TMPFAI tab.
In the next year, Guimaraes plans to graduate and get married to his fiancée, Nicole Kukieza, who is also a Lynn graduate and tuba player. He is looking into pursuing a doctorate degree, and in the future hopes to get a performance job or college professorship.
“I credit Lynn, and especially my mentors and the professors that were closest to me as a large part of why I was able to be accepted to come to Yale,” Guimaraes said. He would like to thank the following Lynn faculty: Kenneth Amis, Dan Satterwhite, Marc Reese, Thomas L. McKinley, Sophia Stone and Greg Miller, and the whole Conservatory of Music for all their support.
To learn more about Guimaraes and his initiatives, visit www. JosephGuimaraes.com.