Bulldog of The Month: Emily Borra
Emily Borra, the program coordinator for Bulldog Welcome Week as well as the coordinator for Kirby Leadership Institute, is a French horn player who performs with many local Duluth groups. The groups include the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra, Northern Finest Horn Choir and Northern Lights Music Festival.
Borra is also the assessment liaison for the programs within Kirby and has a small private horn studio where she teaches middle and high school students as well.
Borra grew up in Side Lake on Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. She attended Chisholm High School, where she graduated in 2007 with a class of 42 people. Afterwards, she enrolled in the University of Wisconsin with the intention of becoming an art and music teacher. According to Borra, after classes started at UWS, she decided to drop art rather quickly.
“Music was too crazy,” Borra said. “It was way to involved. Music majors take 15 classes for four credits.”
Borra said that she was a music education major for a long time but eventually changed her major and decided to attend graduate school for French Horn Performance.
“I love playing the French horn,” Borra said. “I got into my top grad school, the Jacobs School of Music, at Indiana University. It's one of the top three music colleges in the country.”
Borra said that once she started at JSM, she realized that she was “bored out of her gord” and needed more of a challenge.
“I decided to talk with an advisor at Indiana U about doing a double masters degree,” Borra said. “One in French horn and another in higher education and student affairs.”
Borra said that she really fell in love with the student affairs and enjoyed thinking about how she can make improvements on college campuses.
When Borra graduated, she moved back to Duluth and started her job at Advisement and Registration in 2016. When Borra started the position, it was under the Office of Students in Transition, which was dismantled in the spring semester of 2018.
Borra, who is now coordinator for Bulldog Welcome Week, said the transition from SIT to the Kirby Student Center was hard in the beginning. According to Borra, students involved in SIT were very hesitant at first about the program dismantling.
“It was very hard for students to be losing that space,” Borra said. “I know the students within the program felt a lot of grief and a lot of uncertainty with what was going to happen once [Bulldog Welcome Week] moved to Kirby.”
Borra thinks the transition ended up being very great, stating that she now has easier access to simple things that weren’t as available when the program was under SIT.
“I was able to print off gigantic schedules that were two-feet by three-feet and hang them in more places on campus,” Borra said. “We didn’t necessarily have this ease of access before in SIT.”
Borra also worked with students through the transition.
According to Borra, one of her favorite things about UMD is the diversity.
“We are all each our own unique humans,” Borra said. “There is a place for every person. There’s a lot of diversity within UMD that allows people to explore different parts of their identity.”
Some advice Borra would give students still deciding on a major is to embrace every moment.
“Take the time,” Borra said. “I feel that society right now is really rushing us to make decisions. Everything is so fast paced.”
Borra said to explore your options and figure out what is right for you as a student.
“It might be the right choice, it might be the wrong choice,” Borra said. “You’re not going to know until you figure it out.”