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Ayanna Harden

Ayanna Harden


Hometown: McDonough, Georgia

Major: Senior Music major

Graduating: Summer 2021

Why did you choose to attend GSW?
I didn’t really know where I wanted to go to school. I toured several schools, but none of them felt right to me. But when I visited GSW my senior year in high school, I immediately felt like I belonged here. My mom asked if I got that ooey-gooey-chocolate-chip-cookie feeling about this school. I said “yes” and made GSW my home ever since.

University involvement, achievements, awards:

  • GSW Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, 5 years (2016-Present)
  • Music Department Officer, 3 years
    • Treasurer (2017-18)
    • Secretary (2018-19)
    • President (2019-20)
  • Financial Aid Desk Assistant, 4 years
  • Dean’s List, Spring 2019

Why did you choose your major?
Music has always been a passion of mine since I was child. And I have participated in my schools’ middle and high school choirs and participated in All-State choir for several years and did many activities involving music and performance. So it only felt natural for me to go to school for music.

Who is your favorite professor and why?
My favorite professor is Mr. Beau Palmer in the music department. He started teaching at GSW the same year I started school here, and I was placed as one of his vocal students. We clicked and have been inseparable ever since. Not only does he have experience in opera performance (which is what I’m aiming to be), but he understands my personality and talent and cares enough to nurture it.

What’s your favorite spot on campus and why?
My favorite spot on campus is the Centennial Plaza fountain between the Jackson Hall and the Storm Dome. Most of my classes have been in the music building, so it was always a hangout spot for me and my peers between classes. And when I’m by myself, I just like to lie across the bench and enjoy the peace and tranquility. It’s even better when the fountain is on and running.

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?
My advice would be to stay focused. It’s ok to get distracted by new friends and going to parties and stuff. It’s even ok if a class is too hard and you need to drop it, or you fail the class. Just don’t make a habit of neglecting your work. You don’t want to be in school longer than you anticipated over something you could’ve prevent early on.

What are your plans after graduation?
I live in Americus right now, but after I graduate, I’ll be moving back to McDonough or somewhere closer to Atlanta. I will be going to graduate school, presumably up around there unless I get accepted out of state. I will be continuing my pursuits in music. The main goal is to get into opera, but I’m ok with any stage as long as I get to sing my heart out.

What is your favorite series to binge watch?
I can’t get enough of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s a Nickelodeon animated series, but it’s so much more than a kid’s show. It brings the eastern world and culture to a western audience, and the characters are well thought out and developed. The animation is gorgeous. The world building is phenomenal. I could honestly go on for hours talking about this show. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, give it a watch. It’s on Netflix.