September 25, 2018

Scholarships and the chance to double major in music and electrical engineering brought Jay Appaji ’19 to SMU. Now his music cognition research is gaining an international audience.

As a high school student, Jay Appaji was on the radar of multiple colleges.

They liked that he was an accomplished musician, having mastered the South Indian classical mridangam (“mrih-dun-gum”) by the time he was 13. They liked that he was performing in Texas and in India, and helping raise funds for music education in underprivileged communities in both countries. They noted that he received the 2013 Percussive Arts Society’s M&J Lishon/Franks Drum Shop national scholarship in his junior year, and the Texas Commission on the Arts Young Masters Award his senior year.

Then there was his interest in the sciences. He had already started doing research while still in high school, working with music cognition veteran Dr. Jay Dowling at The University of Texas at Dallas.

All of the colleges pursuing him offered him scholarships.

When Appaji thought about college, he wanted to major in music but he also wanted to study the sciences. “You can double major in music and the sciences at SMU,” he says. “A lot of other schools, especially music schools, won’t let you double major. If you’re doing music, then you’re only allowed to do music and nothing else.”

Read more at SMU Meadows.