Dominique Robinson, From Learning To Teaching

Dominique Robinson '24
Dominique Robinson '24
Dominique Robinson ’24 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education.

Note: Dominique Robinson is part of a small group of high-achieving seniors to be highlighted in the 2024 Hatter Headliners series.

For Dominique Robinson, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education, teaching was always the path to take.  

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, that’s never changed,” she said. “Before, I wanted to be an art teacher. Then I wanted to be a general education teacher. It wasn’t until I got to middle school that I realized I wanted to be a music teacher after I joined an official choir. My middle school choir director inspired me because I always had so much fun in choir. I wanted to be that teacher for someone else.”

Despite teaching being her forever calling, Robinson’s love for music has always burned brightly, even during her early years, when she used to sing for church choir. Fun fact about Robinson: Choir was her favorite class at Stetson.

Robinson discovered her love for music during her early years.

“That’s a class I took every semester,” she said. “I love going to choir; I love the teamwork that goes into it. It’s such an emotional experience for all of us, and we get to bond in a special way that you can’t do in other classes.”

Being the first in her family to attend college, Robinson has brought many smiles and undeniable pride to her family — whom she acknowledges has been by her side on every step of her journey.

“My family has been so proud of me being able to get through college,” she said. “When touring colleges, they were just as excited as I was. They’ve always been along for the ride, visiting all the schools, coming with me to the auditions. They’ve supported me through every decision I’ve made.”

Learning to Let Go

Robinson, 22, moved often during her childhood years, living in cities such as Tampa, Las Vegas and Orlando — where she ultimately obtained her diploma from Dr. Phillips High School prior to arriving at Stetson.

Robinson: “I learned that life is life, and it should be taken lightly, when appropriate, and things will happen the way they are supposed to happen.”

Being a perfectionist, Robinson excelled in all her classes both in high school and in college. One thing she learned at Stetson that has made a lasting impact in her life? Letting go.

“One of the big things I learned at Stetson was to not take life too seriously,” she said. “I’m very Type A, I’m very perfectionist, everything has to be right. But, I learned that life is life, and it should be taken lightly, when appropriate, and things will happen the way they are supposed to happen.”

During her time as a Hatter, Robinson was showered with opportunities to conduct for the Stetson choir and other choirs outside of the university.

Karen Coker-Merritt, DM

“I have witnessed this firsthand in many choral rehearsals, and even on a grand stage,” said Karen Coker-Merritt, DM, Stetson’s assistant professor of music, voice. “But I have also heard effusive praises from many colleagues in this regard, including her work as stand-in conductor at the First Presbyterian Church in DeLand with Professor Jane Christeson (MM), as well as in sectionals in our upper-level choirs. Her preparation of each piece is careful and detail-oriented, and her choirs exhibit this consistently.”

One major resource that aided Robinson during her college years was the faculty at the School of Music.

“Faculty was a great resource and support,” she said. “They almost always had an answer, and if they didn’t, they would point you to someone who did. I always reached out for help, either to the dean or some of my professors, and they would always be willing to help in finding a little job or by letting me join work study.”

While at Stetson, Robinson was part of the Stetson NAfME Collegiate association (chapter of the National Association for Music Education) and the Pi Kappa Lamba music honor society.

“The connections and relationships I made here, those are the things I will always cherish,” she said. “If I need help, or if I want to share my achievements or if I need someone to go to when I’m struggling, I love there is always people at Stetson that are willing to help. I love that we have a community here.”

As part of the experiential learning opportunities Stetson offers, Robinson interned at Beachside Elementary School, where she demonstrated her singing abilities as well as her empathic nature, which will certainly provide her the necessary tools to become an incredible music educator.

Gregory LeFils, PhD

“She worked closely with her cooperating teacher, Mrs. Sarah Jones, and made a significant impact on both, the students and the school community,” said Gregory LeFils, PhD, Stetson’s visiting assistant professor of music, music education. “Her dedication and passion for education were evident in the innovative and effective teaching techniques she employed.”

Moving forward onto the professional world, Robinson is excited to pursuing her passion and dedicating her life to passing on her love for music to young minds. She has accepted an offer to be the music teacher at Sawgrass Bay Elementary School in Clermont, where she will be teaching K-5 Music.

“She is kind, supportive and inspirational,” Coker-Merritt said. “She is a spark that literally provides light to all those around her. She is a leader in every sense of the word. She is one of those special humans that you know is going to succeed and excel in any career path she chooses. Any school, and any student, would be lucky to have her as a mentor, educator and teacher.”

“As Dominique embarks on this new chapter of her life, I want to remind her that she has all the tools she needs to succeed,” LeFils said. “Her compassion, intelligence and unwavering determination will undoubtedly guide her to accomplish great things.”

Robinson became the first one in her family to earn a college degree.

Robinson’s Q&A

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?
My advice would be to get a planner. There are so many events, so many classes, so many things going on that it is so hard to keep track of all of them. A planner will safe your life. I always tell anybody who is struggling with time management: “Do you have a planner?”

Why did you choose to attend Stetson?
I chose to come to Stetson because they have one of the most esteemed music schools and they have the first music education program at the collegiate level in the United States, so that’s part of the reason. The faculty is great and, as a private school, you get one on one instruction with actual professors with doctorate degrees whereas in other schools, you get instruction from master students. So, I liked that professor student relationship and I love the small class sizes.

– Andrea Mujica