As part of YAA's Alumni Check-In Series, we ask Hayley Abramowitz ('13) how she's doing in her Junior year at college.

Current School: University of Maryland, College Park

What have you been up to recently?: Over the summer, I spent five weeks in Arezzo with Oberlin in Italy, singing in opera scenes and in Puccini's Suor Angelica. I'm now in my junior year at the University of Maryland, pursuing a dual degree in voice performance and music education, and gearing up for a recital in May with another YAA alum, Noah Calderon!

Tell us about something you learned at YAA and applied to your life today.: When I was singing in Phantom, I remember feeling my heart soar onstage for the first time. YAA taught me that not only is that feeling possible, it's something I should be seeking every day for the rest of my life. I also learned to trust myself - to trust my own voice to do its job and to love the art that I'm lucky enough to be a part of.

YAA was also the first place I ever really experienced opera. I didn't know anything about the art form at all, but at the Summer Institute in 2013, we would watch opera every day - Boheme, Traviata, you name it. I fell in love immediately, and I haven't looked back since.

Anything else you want to say?: I’m so unbelievably grateful to YAA for opening my eyes to an entirely new world - a world I’m lucky enough to live in now. There are days in my lessons when I still remember advice Rolando and Kris gave me five (wow) years ago in Phantom rehearsals, and I’m still singing the songs we learned at the Summer Institute. YAA is such an amazing foundation for classical singing and I’m so thankful I got to be a part of it.

Thanks for your awesome update, Hayley! If you're an alum, you could be highlighted in this series as well. Send us your update at this form.