Gary Ortega

“Teaching challenges you to be a better person, for yourself and for others.”

No more waiting tables for Gary Ortega, ’12 BA, ’14 MA, Jazz Studies. Receiving the Katherine Peterson Alumni Association Scholarship meant completing his master’s degree carrying “a lighter financial burden,” he says. The scholarship also allowed him to focus on what he loves: teaching instrumental music to third through eighth graders at St. Leo the Great School and jazz improvisation at SJSU. The university’s “music department is close-knit. You are dependent on each other for ensembles; your music and your livelihood are reliant on it. It’s a community—a music family. Thank you to all of my teachers for keeping me inspired.”

Department: Music
Program: Jazz Studies
College: College of Humanities and Arts

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

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