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F&M Senior Takes the Musical Road Less Traveled

This story is part of our #FandMForward series documenting our students' and recent grads' resilience, adaptability and perseverance in navigating the obstacles that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.

Vanessa Robustelli '21

Vanessa Robustelli '21

When most people hear "music major," they hear "teacher" or "performer" as potential career paths. But Vanessa Robustelli '21, a joint music and creative writing major at Franklin & Marshall College, discovered a new one that fits the digital age: an internship with SiriusXM + Pandora.

"I've always loved listening to the radio, especially SiriusXM, and have hosted my own radio show with my sister at F&M's station, WFNM," she said. "This internship matches pretty perfectly with my studies and interests."

Robustelli was eager to begin her internship in New York City, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, her plans changed. Rather than journey to the Big Apple, Robustelli embarked on a remote opportunity, working and collaborating with her team via a company-loaned laptop and Zoom. Robustelli has now settled into her role as a music library intern, a position within SiriusXM's music programming department, working on a plethora of music research projects to assist with channel development for the music library and special projects team.

Robustelli noted her music courses at F&M have given her a unique edge to her internship duties. Her studies have focused on analyzing and dissecting specific genres and types of music from different cultures, which aligns seamlessly with her role at SiriusXM.

"SiriusXM also does such a deep dive in every genre imaginable, and having that facility that F&M has given me, to critically think and appreciate a diverse array of music, has been critical to my success at SiriusXM," she said.

Robustelli's music studies also helped her visualize how her academic interests can benefit her in the workplace and broadened her perspective of the musical career paths she hadn't initially considered.

"Often, people think that music majors can only become music teachers or full-time musicians," she said. "But I've been able to see the way a diverse knowledge of music is so crucial to a place like SiriusXM, which dedicates itself to being a place where anyone of any background, of any genre preference, can listen to and enjoy music."

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