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Student Combines Love of Engineering and Music to Forge Unusual Career Path

Posted 09/19/2014
Posted by Meagan Fazio

Julie Mundy '16 poses with a pipe organ she helped refurbish.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question we’ve all asked, but have you ever heard someone say, “I want to build pipe organs?” Julie Mundy ’16 admits that answer surprised people when she talked about her career plans in high school.

“I love music but I have an engineering brain,” she says. “I wanted to find a way to mash the two together. When I was looking at colleges, I realized the University of Hartford was the only place where I could do that.”

Mundy is a junior in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture’s acoustical engineering and music program, the only one of its kind in the country. To be accepted, students must fulfill CETA’s math and science requirements and the requirements of The Hartt School, the University’s performing arts conservatory. Once accepted, they start preparing for jobs in such fields as architectural acoustics, performance space design, and musical instrument design.

Mundy has had many opportunities to put her lessons to the test. She got a job with an organ builder while she was in high school and still works there when she goes home to Knoxville, Tenn. for summer and winter breaks. While helping to refurbish an organ, she was allowed to “voice the pipes,” which means she altered them to ensure they make the perfect sound.

Mundy puts her skills to the test at her job with an organ builder.

It’s a job usually reserved for senior members of the company, but Mundy was ready thanks to her ear training classes. She says she also gained new skills through her sophomore project, during which she and her classmates worked to improve a restaurant’s acoustics under the guidance of Professor Robert Celmer and Assistant Professor Eoin King.

These experiences have made Mundy even more confident in her career path.

“I’ve been doing music since I was a baby,” she explains. “Both of my parents were in band and choir when they were younger. Now they are both engineers and they miss the music. I didn’t want to give that up and I found something so I didn’t have to.”