McMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

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University of Cincinnati Awards Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence to Student in Neurobiology and Voice Performance


Elliana R. Kirsh has shown substantial leadership experience in the fields of science and music.

Date: 4/21/2015 4:00:00 PM
By: Zack Hatfield
Phone: (513) 556-5087
Photos By: Provided

UC ingot  
Elliana Kirsh



A passionate enthusiasm for understanding both the art and science of music is what keeps Elliana Kirsh driven.

Kirsh, who was one of the the winners of the Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence (PLME), will graduate with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the College-Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology from the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.

The PLME was established in 2002, and is awarded to graduating students who demonstrate scholarship, leadership, character, service and the ideals of the University of Cincinnati.

A musician for as long as she can remember, Kirsh served as the vice president of membership for Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music association dedicated to promoting fellowship among women in music. A talented soprano, Kirsh has performed in several professional operas, concerts and international music festivals in Italy and Luxembourg.

Kirsh attributes much of her success in her academic fields to teamwork. “Contrary to the popularized stereotype of the ‘opera diva,’ all musicians must learn to work as a team,” she said when applying for the medal. “I have learned to apply my experience in team building to help foster productive and respective relationships within my science classes and the community at large.”

A dedicated researcher, she has been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Voice, presented at national conferences and was a keynote speaker at the Cincinnati Music and Medicine Conference. Kirsh has volunteered extensively in the community, instructing at Cincinnati’s Music Resource Center and assisting in group therapy sessions at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Recently, Kirsh was able to bring her research interests to the MRC community, successfully implementing a songwriting and rap intervention program in order to study how music affects the mood, stress levels and self-esteem of urban, disadvantaged teens. She has studied three languages as well as centuries of music history and theory. Last year, she won UC’s Award of Highest Achievement in Organic Chemistry.

Kirsh plans to earn an MD at Harvard Medical School, where she will combine her passion for vocal performance with her knowledge of voice science to pursue a career focusing on the integration of vocal health, wellness and neuroscience.

“Thanks to the University of Cincinnati, I am confident that I have reached the intellectual and emotional maturity to enter medical school, and the professional world at large, as a leader in my field.”

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