Current Fellows

Cat Bennett

Cat Bennett

Cat Bennett is a vocal coach and choral director currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Miami. Her research interests evolve around multicultural, transcultural and intercultural methods and philosophies in the choral classroom. Cat is passionate about promoting cultural awareness in music programs worldwide and to helping educators be authentic, innovative and global in their approaches. Over the past 10 years, Cat has taught and studied music in many countries around the world. She has taught K – 12 general and choral music in Japan and Thailand and has worked as a volunteer music teacher in Honduras and South Africa. She has studied Hindustani Classical voice in India, Shona choral music in South Africa, Tembang in Indonesia and Ewe music in Ghana. Cat has a B.M. in music education from Ithaca College and a M.M. in music education from Indiana University, where she assistant directed the International Vocal Ensemble for two years. She has presented workshops at SEASAC and ISTA festivals in Thailand and her research was recently published in the International Journal of Music Education.

Sheerin Berte

Sheerin Berte

Sheerin Berte is a music educator from Boston, Massachusetts pursing a PhD in music education at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a Master of Arts degree in music education from Boston University. Sheerin taught band and general music at the elementary and secondary levels in Massachusetts. French horn is her primary instrument, and she currently is the instructor of record for the undergraduate Brass Techniques course at the University of Miami.

Nicolas Coffman

Nicolas Coffman

Nicolas Coffman is a music educator and technologist living in Miami, Florida. His work focuses on the use of technology to create engaging musical experiences for performers of all skill levels. A classically trained String Bassist, Nicolas has combined his expertise as an improvisor and performer with a passion for computers and wires into creating new paradigms for the creation, performance and education of music. Recent projects include performances for Women's Choir and Digital Quartet and "Connected Instruments for Community Musicians and Music Educators" which will be presented at the Community Music Activity Seminar at the International Society for Music Education World Conference in Edinburgh this July. His research interests are centered around the creation of engaging and adaptable physical interfaces and the mining of performance data for machine learning and artificial intelligence. Nicolas has degrees in Music Performance and Music Education from the University of Iowa and the University of Miami and will begin doctoral work at the Frost Forum for Research in Music, Education, and Sociocultural Context at the University of Miami this fall.

Melissa Eick

Melissa Eick

Melissa Eick has been a music educator in various settings for 10 years and counting. As a general music teacher, she taught in Hawaii, China, and Tennessee in elementary classroom settings. Melissa recently received her Master’s in Music (Music Education) from the University of Miami, and will continue with her Ph. D. studies there as well. During her time in Miami, she has expanded her teaching repertoire to include teaching general music in many afterschool programs with the Shalala MusicReach at the University of Miami, as well as working with middle school and high school students in a popular music program at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. Her research interests include music teacher education and mentoring beginning teachers within and without those programs. Melissa had the opportunity to present some of her research at FMEA as well as at the 2017 Thompson Research Symposium at Penn State University.

Former Fellows

Johanna Abril (Ph.D. '17)

Johanna Abril

Johanna Abril is an Ecuadorian pianist and music educator and holds a B.A. in Piano Performance and a M.M. in Music Research and Pedagogy from University of Cuenca. In 2013 she was awarded with the “Senescyt” Scholarship from the Ecuadorian government, which sponsors her Ph.D. studies in Music Education at the University of Miami, where she is in her third year of study. She is currently a Teaching Assistant at Shalala MusicReach, and teaches modern band and mentors student instructors at the Leadership Learning Center and Centro Mater school in Little Havana. Johanna recently presented her research at the 2016 NAfME Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference, and is currently a co-evaluator of the music program at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. She was also recently invited to teach a course on Music Learning and Curriculum for a master’s program in Music Education at the University of Cuenca. Prior to her studies at the University of Miami, Johanna was a Teaching Assistant at the University of Cuenca and led the elective music history course at an exchange program offered through the University of Taylor at Indiana (U.S.) in Cuenca. Her research is mainly focused on sociocultural issues in music education and she was recently published in the Argentinian Journal Enseñar Música and the Ecuadorian Journal Tsansa.

Vimari Colón León (ABD)

Vimari Colón León

Vimari Colón-León is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Miami. Currently she works as a teaching fellow at Bridgewater College in Virginia. She has been teaching for 10 years with experiences including being a choral conductor, general music and early childhood specialist, and a woodwind instruments teacher. Her main instrument is the flute, with much experience in voice, piano, and oboe as well. For 7 years she served as the director of several choirs at the San Juan Children's Choir in Puerto Rico. Vimari received her Master in Music Education, May of 2014, her Graduate Artist Diploma in Flute Performance, May of 2012, and her Bachelor in Music Education, May 2010 from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. Her teaching and research interests are teaching music to special populations, parental involvement, and body awareness in vocal performers. She completed her first two levels of the Kodaly Methodology Certification with the use of Latin American music. She has also participated in Orff and Dalcroze courses. 

Candice Davenport (Ph.D. '16)

Candice Davenport

Candice Davenport is the Area Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Florida International University where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in music education. She holds degrees from the University of South Alabama (B.M.) and Northwestern University (M.M.), and earned her Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Miami in 2016 for her dissertation, A Model of Classroom Environment and Social-Psychological Factors Influencing Computer-Based Compositional Creativity. Her research interests include musical creativity, technology integration, blended and online teaching and learning, social issues, and project-based learning in music education. Candice has presented her work at regional, national, and international conferences including the International Society for Music Education World Conference, the NAfME Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference, and the International Association for K-12 Blended and Online Learning Symposium. During her doctoral studies at UM, she interned with the Music Technology Leadership Academy, sponsored by TI:ME and NAMM, and earned certification from the Smithsonian Folkways World Music Pedagogy. Prior to pursuing her doctoral studies, Candice was Chair of Fine Arts and taught secondary general music, electronic music and studio production, and contemporary instrumental and vocal ensembles in Chicago Public Schools and outreach programs throughout the area. She was also the co-recipient of the 2012 Next Generation Learning Challenges Grant, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her earlier teaching positions include high school band and WGI indoor percussion ensembles throughout the Gulf Coast.

Donna Hewitt (ABD)

Donna Hewitt

Donna Hewitt is a teaching assistant at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Music Education. Previously, she served in the New Jersey public school system as an elementary music specialist for 13 years. As someone always fascinated by different approaches to learning, she has incorporated concepts of Music Learning Theory and Orff-Schulwerk in her classroom, as well as delved into research involving parent attitudes and child aptitudes. Fueled by a passion of music for all, she continues to explore how we can improve upon our classroom practices through her interests in well-being, popular music education, curriculum, and informal music-making.

Kat Reinhert (ABD)

Kat Reinhert

Kat Reinhert is an accomplished performer, songwriter, voice teacher, and educator. Her sophomore album, Spark, was released to critical acclaim in August 2015, and a third album, Home Movie, is set for release in 2017. Kat has taught general music and contemporary styles to students in grades K – 12, as well as conducted and taught private lessons, ensembles and classes in both the jazz and popular music genres as an adjunct professor at several universities. She has presented at both national and international conferences, including the International Jazz Vocal Conference, The Symposium for Music Education, and The Association for Popular Music Education Conference. Kat holds a B.M. in Jazz/Commercial Voice, an M.M. in Jazz Pedagogy, and is currently ABD for a Ph.D. in Music Education, specializing in Popular Music Performance and Pedagogy in Higher Education. She currently serves as Vice President on the board of directors for the Association for Popular Music Education and is the Head of Contemporary Voice at the University of Miami.

Rob Saunders (ABD)

Rob Saunders

Robert Saunders is a strings specialist interested in informal music making, music cognition, and secondary and collegiate curriculum. In addition to teaching primary and secondary level strings classes, he received his Bachelor of Science degree at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and a Master of the Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Since joining the Ph.D. program in Music Education at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Robert has presented posters and sessions at several state and national conferences on a wide variety of topics. Growing up in a family of highly skilled musicians and educators, he developed his passion for music performance within American Vernacular and classical music and his interest in discovering musical development. Robert continues to maintain an active career playing country, bluegrass, modern western art, and classical musics and teaching studio cello and violin. While pursuing his Ph.D., Robert has also helped with evaluating and subsequently restructuring the musical curriculum at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind to better address the needs of their clients. 

Group Photos
  • 2016-2017 Group Photo 2017
  • 2015-2016 Group Photo 2016