Arielle Korman '17

Major: Undeclared
Hometown: New York, N.Y.

A songwriter and performer, Belk Scholar Arielle Korman views music as a language and crossroads for creative writing. She grew up with musician parents and began singing and playing violin at a young age.

At Davidson she has expanded the musical and literary genres she studies both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities such as freeword and theatre. Although she customarily plays violin for the jazz band and ensemble, Korman played the fiddle for Providence Gap, a Theatre Department production, to create country and bluegrass music.

"Coming to Davidson from New York has introduced me to new southern musical influences and different kinds of musicians," she said.

The summer after her sophomore year, Korman brought the style and fiddle techniques she learned at Davidson to the "This Land is Our Land" event at New York's National Dance Institute. She also used her summer stipend to record an EP at Boomcrack Studios in Harlem, which will feature a set of her original songs. "A loud, resounding thanks to the Belk Family for allowing me to work with such talented musicians and really spend time to make the songs sound right," she said.

In addition to music, personal and academic interests in religion have led her to work with the interfaith and Hillel groups on campus and take courses with a religious or cultural focus. Courses such as Humanities and Survey of Western Art, have helped her to better understand Christianity.

"Having gone to secular schools, I feel it's important to discover what it means to attend a college with a Presbyterian affiliation and how that affects the community," she said.  

On campus, Korman has explored her own identity through the course Asian American Communities, which involves analyzing historical and modern issues of Asian immigration to the United States.

She recalls, "The professor said, 'You don't have to be half something and half something else,' I wrote that down in capital letters. I realized that I could have a fluid identity rather than trying to quantify myself as something like half Asian and half Jewish."

As the Davidson population changes and minority populations grow, Korman views it as crucial to hire faculty who are sensitive to and interested in those minority populations. She joined the Student Initiative for Academic Diversity, which she heard about from many other Belk Scholars who are involved, and hopes to participate in a future faculty search.

Korman will spend her junior year studying Arabic, Hebrew and literary theory at University of Haifa's international school. The year of study will prepare her to translate a text by Iraqi-Jewish writer Samir Naqqash from Arabic to English for her senior thesis.