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SDSU music professor receives Fulbright to teach in Egypt

Yonce playing flute
Associate professor Tammy Evans Yonce of the School of Performing Arts has received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the Academy of Arts in Cairo, Egypt, this spring.

Associate professor Tammy Evans Yonce of the South Dakota State University School of Performing Arts is heading to the Middle East—again. She has received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the Academy of Arts in Cairo, Egypt.

Nearly two years ago, the flutist spent 11 days in Israel during Christmas break through the Winter Faculty Fellowship Program, sponsored by the Jewish National Fund and Media Watch International. “The experience opened my eyes to different approaches to music,” she said, and piqued her interested in exploring those differences in other countries.

“For 10 years, I’ve been interested in applying for a Fulbright. After that trip, I investigated awards for the performing arts,” Yonce recalled. When she submitted her proposal to teach flute and world music in Egypt, she admitted, “I didn’t think I would get it.”

When she received the award notification, Yonce said, “I looked at the email and thought, ‘wait, what?” Her semester in Cairo begins Feb. 1.

“This is a rare occurrence in the life of a professor and speaks highly not only of her but of the university,” said David Reynolds, director of the School of Performing Arts. Yonce is the first music faculty member in recent memory to receive a Fulbright Scholarship.

“This prestigious award gives Tammy a unique opportunity to improve cultural understanding through music and increase SDSU’s global reputation.  While in Egypt, she will share her talents widely and promote an understanding of American culture.  When she returns to campus, her new understanding of Egyptian culture will surely enrich our music curriculum and give it a truly global perspective,” said Lynn Sargeant, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. 

“My department head as well as the dean have been very supportive of my application and the award. I am also appreciative to my colleagues for covering my SDSU responsibilities in the spring,” Yonce said.

The Academy of Arts has a Western-style orchestra, so Yonce looks forward to learning more about how Western music is presented in Egypt. She also hopes to perform with other musicians and get some new flute pieces written, perhaps with a bit of Middle Eastern flavor.

Through an orientation conference call, Yonce learned that three or four faculty members from other fields and U.S. universities start their appointments in Cairo this fall for the academic year.