Katelyn Stessman earned her Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. During her time at Drake as a student of Dr. James Romain, Stessman was a Drake University Honors Recital winner (2011-2014), Concerto Competition winner (2012), won First Place the MTNA Chamber Wind State Competition of Iowa (2013, 2014), Second Place at the MTNA Chamber Regional Competition of Iowa (2014), and served as principal saxophone in the Drake Wind Symphony and lead alto in Drake Jazz One.
Upon graduation from Drake, Stessman joined the saxophone studio at The University of Cincinnati - College Conservatory of Music (CCM) in Cincinnati, Ohio and studied with Dr. James Bunte and Dr. Nathan Nabb. She earned her Master of Music in Saxophone Performance in 2017. While at CCM, Stessman was a National Saxophone Quartet Finalist at the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference (2015), named Honorable Mention at the MTNA Chamber Wind State Competition of Ohio (2016), performed for the Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium in Washington, D.C. (2017), was named a National Finalist in the Fischoff National Chamber Competition (2017), and served as rotating principal saxophone in the CCM Wind Orchestra.
During her time in Ohio, Stessman also gave back to the youth of the greater Cincinnati area, both as a teacher and mentor. She served as a private saxophone instructor at the Loveland Music Academy, a preschool teacher at the Youthland Academy of Colerain, led an after-school music club in Cincinnati Public Schools, and volunteered at a homeless shelter with a children's mentor program.
She returned to Iowa in 2017 and continued this work as a K-5 Music Teacher in Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS); first at Jackson Elementary and then at King Elementary. She has since supplemented her credentials and experience by earning her Level 1 Orff Certification and Level 1 Kodaly Certification for teaching elementary general music.
During her time in Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS), Stessman joined forces with local hip-hop artist, activist, and philanthropist Billy "B.WELL" Weathers to begin extensive philanthropic work in the community. Together, they founded The B.WELL Foundation, a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The foundation creates programming, resources, and funding opportunities for DMPS staff, students, and families, investing countless hours and over $100,000 since its inception in June 2020.
Stessman now serves as a Teaching Artist of Saxophone for the Drake University Community School of Music (DUCSOM), Adjunct Professor of Saxophone and Music Education at Grand View University, Teaching Artist of Saxophone at Simpson College, and Executive Director of The B.WELL Foundation, where she hopes to provide high quality, sustainable resources and opportunities for the youth of Des Moines.