Jena Nahnsen to Serve as Aspire2STEAM Advisor

Jena Nahnsen, Advisor to

Jena Nahnsen, Advisor to

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Student leader and advocate for applied emotional intelligence in the arts helps guide nonprofit as it provides STEAM-focused scholarships and mentoring

Applying the arts to help power STEM and other academic and life pursuits, as well as to strengthen emotional intelligence, is something Jena knows well and practices daily.”

— Cheryl O'Donoghue, CEO & Co-Founder,

DES MOINES, IOWA, UNITED STATES, March 3, 2021 / — Aspire2STEAM announced today that Jena Nahnsen, music educator, emotional intelligence in the Arts advocate and graduate student in clarinet performance at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM), has joined their advisory team. “Jena was instrumental in our recent decision to expand our scholarship program to underserved and often overlooked young women and girls pursuing STEAM-related careers, as well as helping us with our name change,” said Cheryl O’Donoghue, Aspire2STEAM CEO and Co-Founder. “Applying the arts to help power STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics—and other academic and life pursuits, as well as to strengthen emotional intelligence, is something Jena knows well and practices daily.”

In addition to providing scholarships for STEAM-related education, Aspire2STEAM offers its scholarship recipients ongoing one-on-one mentoring. Applying tips and techniques to strengthen one’s emotional intelligence and resiliency is a major focus. “Emotional intelligence study can be the missing piece for giving an unforgettable performance,” said Jena. “Whether you’re preparing for a music recital, engineering project or hackathon event, you raise your performance when you consider the positive emotional impact you want to have on your audience and teammates.”

Jena recently submitted a proposal to UWM’s music department chair to create and participate in an independent study “apprenticeship” designed to apply emotional intelligence practices to music performance. The University approved her proposal and Cheryl O’Donoghue, Aspire2Steam’s CEO, is serving as Jena’s apprenticeship mentor. “It’s quite remarkable what Jena’s been able to accomplish since the semester started just a couple months back,” said Cheryl. “In addition to creating online workbook materials and video tips for other students to apply emotional intelligence principles to their musical performances, she’s launched a social media emotional health awareness campaign and is planning a virtual recital where the audience will create an emotional intelligence-building experience together.”

The virtual recital is entitled “The Path is Peace” and will be streamed on Facebook live at 1 pm on Sunday, April 25. The concert features music by Beyond Boundaries—a clarinet and piano duo Jena created with her fiancé, Jacob Metzler (@Beyond Boundaries Duo on Facebook). The duo focuses on creative music programming to bring awareness to social issues and inspire audiences to work towards a kinder tomorrow.

In the process of preparing for The Path is Peace recital, Jena and Jacob are infusing emotional intelligence practices in four areas—program planning, preparation, performance, and post-performance. “Musicians have a natural ability when it comes to using emotional intelligence,” said Jena. “Using emotional intelligence can help break down the complex nature of putting together a single performance, taking a seemingly abstract concept and making it more approachable and useful to the performer.”

In addition to her work with Beyond Boundaries, Jena is attending University of Wisconsin Milwaukee as a first-year graduate student. She currently plays principal in the UWM orchestra and wind ensemble. She also plays in the Black Cat Quintet, a chamber group that put on a virtual recital to raise money for Street Angels Milwaukee. As a musician in her undergraduate studies, each year through competitive auditions, Jena won spots as principal clarinet in both the Iowa State University Wind Ensemble and orchestra. She was a prizewinner at the Schubert Club competition in St. Paul, MN and served as a performance fellow at The Cortona Sessions for New Music, Bay View Chamber Music Festival, Philadelphia International Music Festival, and Fresh Inc. Also, she appeared as a soloist with the Iowa State Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and jazz ensemble as well as executed an effective virtual senior recital.

About The Path is Peace virtual recital…

The Path is Peace recital, featuring the music of Beyond Boundaries, will be streamed on the Western Illinois University School of Music Facebook page ( and YouTube channel on Sunday, April 25 at 1 pm. The Path is Peace explores the destruction and transformation of humankind through a powerful multimedia performance experience. The event is open to all; there is no charge to attend. Free-will donations are encouraged, and all proceeds will go to help provide scholarships to young women and girls served by

About Aspire2STEAM… (formerly known as Mission Sisters Who Work) is in its fourth year of operation and was founded on the belief that when you give young women and girls access to an education and mentoring to become self-empowered, you lift them up, those around them…and ultimately the world. Donations fund scholarships for young women and girls experiencing financial and opportunity barriers as they complete their STEAM-related education.

Also, 100 percent of all royalties earned from books written by co-founder and CEO, Cheryl O’Donoghue, including How to Be an Emotionally Intelligent Leader, How to Be a Woman in Technology and How to Be a Woman in Business are donated to Aspire2STEAM.
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Cheryl O'Donoghue
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Source: EIN Presswire