Caroline Couch ’20 Receives Fulbright Award to Study Sustainability in the Netherlands

Caroline Couch ’20 will study the intersection between the creative sector and climate at Radboud Universiteit in the Netherlands.
On her daily car rides from Hernando, Mississippi to Hutchison, Caroline Couch ’20 fell in love with opera. Now, her dream is to develop the Metropolitan Opera’s first-ever formal sustainability program, where she currently works as a production assistant. She recently received a Fulbright Award to research, explore, and develop new approaches to climate sustainability through the lens of opera. She is finishing her time at New York University, and in the fall, she will move to the Netherlands to attend Radboud Universiteit and pursue a master’s degree in Arts and Culture, specializing in creative industries. 

“By bridging the information asymmetry found between artistic and scientific stakeholders, I want to help create a working model of tangible sustainability practices for opera companies as the content of my master’s thesis,” Couch said.

In May, Couch will graduate from NYU with bachelor’s degrees in Public Policy and History and a minor in Chinese. In addition to working for the Metropolitan Opera, she serves as the executive director of Village Verein, a classical music chamber ensemble. 

Couch also has another incredible opportunity to celebrate. She received an international scholarship from the Wagner Society of New York to attend the Bayreuth Festival, one of the world’s leading opera festivals. Before she moves to the Netherlands, she will head to Bayreuth, Germany, and learn from arts professionals during the Richard Wagner Scholarship Program in August. 

The career Couch is pursuing feels like a synthesis of what she participated in during high school, she said. She was involved in civic activities including Girls Nation, Model UN, and Youth in Government, while also being heavily involved in the arts. She credits Hutchison’s opportunities for helping her throughout her journey. “Hutchison has prepared me to be confident, hold my own, and take risks,” she said. “Now I have found a sweet spot between my background in public policy and the creative arts by doing research in the realm of cultural policy and public administration for arts organizations.”

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