Staff Spotlight: Riley Braase


As the Graduate College grows and expands its efforts to enrich the experiences of graduate students, we are excited to introduce our team members! Our fantastic staff is an integral component of our mission. From completing daily operations to investing in long-term projects and relationships, the ASU community would not be the same without them. 

In this feature, we invite you to get to know Riley Braase, Format and Curriculum Advisor for the Graduate Support Services team! He discusses current initiatives to streamline the format process for graduate students – and outside of work: performances with a woodwind quintet!

Name: Riley Braase

Title: Graduate Support Coordinator

Dept: Graduate Program Services

My name is Riley Braase and I am a Format and Curriculum Advisor and an ASU doctoral candidate in music performance for clarinet. I am originally from Idaho and moved to Arizona in 2020 when my wife began her master’s degree in flute performance while I taught elementary music at a charter school. I started my doctorate in musical arts the year after and have been working for the Graduate College since finishing coursework last May. Outside of work, I am an active performer, teacher and entrepreneur.

One of my favorite parts about living in Arizona is the desert landscape. The botanical name for prickly pear cactus, “opuntia,” inspired the name of my woodwind quintet, “Opuntia Winds.” One of my favorite performances with Opuntia was the Phoenix Symphony’s Prelude Series for the John Williams Concert last year, where we played classics like “Cantina Band” from Star Wars and “Viktor’s Theme” from The Terminal (a big clarinet feature!). We recently finished recording our first album and aim to release it by next fall.

I am also into experimental contemporary music and help run a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Oh My Ears that connects adventurous composers, ensembles and musicians and the greater Phoenix community. One great part of working with a grassroots volunteer-run organization is that we pick our roles, so as a Director of Institutional Advancement, I get to do a little bit of everything from writing grants to MCing concerts to driving artists to the airport. In March, we held the 10th annual OME festival, and regularly host shows called The Cartel Sessions at Cartel Roasting Co. locations around the Valley.

My interest in higher education as an educator and administrator drew me to my current role at the Graduate College. Whether as a private clarinet teacher, adjunct instructor at Chandler-Gilbert Community College or as a Format and Curriculum advisor – helping students is the most satisfying part of my work. I love seeing the huge range of topics and research that ASU graduate students work on and that I can help students polish their culminating experience documents for publication. One upcoming project I am involved with will be updating the Format Manual and I look forward to helping streamline the format process for future grads.

When I am not at work, other work or rehearsals, I spend a lot of time walking around Tempe Town Lake and Papago Park with my dog Dawson (a pup with the stubbornness of a shiba-inu, the anxiety of a chihuahua and the cuteness of both).


Edited by Marjani DeHoff