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Celebrating women: Meet Rutgers University’s first female band director

Julia Baumanis' students call her Dr. B, and her passion strikes a major chord among the students.

Matt Trapani and Roxanne Evans

Apr 13, 2023, 8:06 AM

Updated 432 days ago


Rutgers University – one of the oldest colleges in the nation – has never had a female band director. That is until now.
Julia Baumanis is helping to wipe out gender bias.
“It just makes sense. So, it doesn’t feel like this giant active conquering that I have done. ‘I conquered Rutgers.’ It feels like it makes sense… Like, OK, I can do this because my passion for leading the students trumps anything else,” Baumanis says.
Her students call her Dr. B and her passion strikes a major chord among the students.
Baumanis serves as the Rutgers assistant director of bands – the marching and pep bands, as well as the symphony orchestra and instructing the ensembles.
She discovered her passion for music as a child.
“My sisters were not interested in touching the piano. It was only me that was interested in banging on it,” Baumanis says.
She says that she never dreamed of making history by helping to promote diversity.
“My mom is an immigrant from the Philippine Islands. She grew up in extreme poverty, lived in a [hut] until she was 12 and immigrated here. She is a college business professor. She is the person that kicked in the ceiling,” Baumanis says.
With so much on her shoulders, Baumanis is surprisingly down to Earth.
“My path has some pebbles and some little rocks here and there, but definitely not the boulders that they had to go through. Whatever I can do to pave the road so it's pristine without any potholes, that's my thank you to them,” she says.

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