Following passion for music and geography

Tyler Ross

Photo credit: Tyler Ross

Whether on campus or behind her bedroom walls, geography major and graduating senior Jenna Blake says she’ll never give up on creating art and striving in reaching her goals.

With a room full of art and instruments, onlookers could describe Blake’s living quarters as an artist’s haven. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Blake, 24, soon moved to New York from Kentucky two weeks after graduating from high school. Her focus was to study acting and voice at a performing arts conservatory called American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), which she graduated from before heading out west.

A wide array of vinyl records, art supplies, and musical instruments consumes most of her living space. Spending the last six years on her own, away from home pursuing her dreams, Blake’s personality bounces from being bubbly into full concentration whenever she spreads her fingers out along her keyboard and plays.

“If I decide to break away from the entertainment industry, I would like to use my geography degree to make a difference,” said Blake. “In the end, I know whatever I end up doing or pursing, I’ll never stop reaching for more.”

Aside from being a student, Blake has played on and off again with two indie rock bands over the past six years. Most recently, she has toured as the keyboardist in the band Xu Xu Fang, which achieved a number one song and landed on a compilation album.

Blake said she has also only once received a grade lower than an A.

“I’ve only collected one B in my entire college career,” said Blake. “I treat my education just the same as my dedication to my passion to play music, which I spend working on everyday.”

In search for a change of scenery, Blake said her move to Los Angeles was a way to search for something greater and beyond her interests in music.

“I decided to go to CSUN because I wanted to broaden my horizons,” said Blake. I wanted to study something else beyond music that I was passionate about. Studying about the environment, weather, and nature is another passion of mine. I ended up falling in love with college and the amazing feeling of learning something new everyday.”

Despite her music success, Blake says she will finish school in December, but won’t graduate until next May. She is a candidate to receive a degree in geography with a certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS).

“Geographic Information Science is a way of understanding patterns by manipulating and viewing geographically referenced information,” said Blake. “Ideally, I would love to combine my degree in geography with my music by creating a non-profit and throwing events where bands play for the cause of saving the environment.”

This year alone, Blake also has spent time filming and going on auditions, while still finding the time to purse her passions.

“I really look forward to finishing my last semester at CSUN,” said Blake.