The NAMM Foundation Celebrates 2024 Scholarship and Award Recipients

2024 NAMM Show

CARLSBAD, CALIF., March 1, 2024 – The NAMM Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2024 scholarship program, which provided funds to emerging industry leaders, college students and faculty to participate in The 2024 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. At the show, held this past January, recipients experienced the opportunity to engage in continued advancement and professional development, and students and faculty were introduced to industry careers and networking opportunities found only at The NAMM Show.  The awards and scholarships were made possible by the generosity of NAMM members and individual donors.

“NAMM is incredibly honored to recognize such a talented group of emerging leaders and enthusiastic students and faculty. We continue to move forward with growth in new areas of opportunity with fresh and diverse perspectives as part of our industry,” said John Mlynczak, NAMM president and CEO. “To hear their collective stories regarding the impact our programs have made on each of their musical journeys is simply remarkable.”


A Snapshot of the 2024 Awards and Scholarships:

Bernice Ash Award

The Bernice Ash Memorial Award was established in 2021 to honor the remarkable life and legacy of Bernice Ash. As a music retail visionary, Bernice spearheaded the expansion of the Sam Ash family owned music stores, broadening inventory for the chain across multiple new categories. The award offers a grant for use in continued college-level or trade-related studies, a travel stipend to attend The NAMM Show and a one-year mentorship through the NAMM Young Professionals group. This year’s recipients are Connor Taylor of The Music People and John Allen of Neighborhood Music School.

“The NAMM experience is unlike any other. Every person in our industry has goals specific to them, but we can move those goals forward together in real time. NAMM feels like the culmination of a year’s worth of work, coming together to be celebrated by the industry.”

Connor Taylor, Product Line Manager, The Music People 

“NAMM has generously supported me in my journey to study at a postgraduate level in order to expand my teaching reach and give back to our community.   A true testament to their 360-degree commitment to the music world, now and for the future.”

John Allen, Teacher, Neighborhood Music School



College Music Society Faculty Fellows

The NAMM Foundation-College Music Society Fellows award supports college music faculty who exhibit commitment and aptitude for developing curricula related to business leadership and innovation in music, pro audio and event technology. This financial award helps faculty offset the cost of travel to The NAMM Show. Fellows are invited to participate in professional development sessions, networking events and receptions, and special events and concerts. Recipients include: Benjamin Guerrero, Eastern Mennonite University; Brett Leonard, University of Indianapolis; Christopher Watts, St. Lawrence University; Dann Sargent, California University, Chico; Derek Ganong, Boise State University; Emmett O’Leary, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Eric Lagrimas, University of Hawaii, Honolulu Community College; Federico Llach, the University of California Merced; Jennifer Jester, Millersville University; Keren Becke, SUNY Plattsburgh; Rey Sanchez, University of Miami; and Timothy Yip, SUNY Potsdam.

“The NAMM Show is an amazing opportunity to get your head around the vast and vibrant community that inspires the world to make music. From manufacturers and retailers to artists and educators, from producers and music supervisors to engineers and live event professionals, it really is all in one place.”

Christopher Watts, St. Lawrence University


Lamond GenNext Award

The Lamond GenNext Award, formerly the President’s Innovation Award, recognizes college and university students who demonstrate excellence in the field of music. The award was renamed this past April in honor of NAMM’s former president and CEO Joe Lamond, who served from 2001–2023. Winners have demonstrated dedication to pursuing a career in music, including in the areas of music performance, music education, media, sound engineering/audio, entertainment technology, production, administration, management and/or marketing, along with product creation and innovation. This year, the award recognized and welcomed 100 student recipients from 28 colleges and universities. With generous support from Dinah Gretsch and the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation, 31 students received the award from Elmhurst University, Georgia Southern University and the University of South Carolina.

“Attending The NAMM show was life-changing. It fulfilled my passion and expanded my knowledge through these sessions, discussions and professional experiences. Most importantly, The NAMM show is about human connections in the music industry. I can't wait for The 2025 NAMM show.” 

Sophie Yang, California State University, Northridge 


“My experience with the GenNext program was both enlightening and encouraging. I now feel like more of a part of the music industry after having the opportunity to be at NAMM and network with professionals in my fields of interest. I also learned that the possibilities are endless in terms of career opportunities, and that there is no one path to achieve success.” 

Nate Helfrich, Georgia Southern University, Gretsch School of Music 


The Women of NAMM (WoN) NAMM Show Scholarship

The Women of NAMM Fund NAMM Show scholarship program seeks to support women with goals to connect, support and grow as professionals and leaders, and contribute to the development of the music products industry. The award offers a one-time stipend to support attendance and participation at The NAMM Show, along with year-round mentoring opportunities and connections with female industry leaders. 

This year, three individuals were awarded the WoN scholarship.  They include Erin Connelly, Menchey Music Service; Kimberly Vizcarrondo, Fletcher Music Center; and Rachel Amick, Scales Street Music. 

Media Contacts
NAMM Communications - John Dolak, Director

Jeanne O'Keefe
The Lippin Group for NAMM

About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $19.5 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of 15,400 global member companies and individual professionals with a global workforce of over 475,000 employees. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music and advance active participation in music-making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit