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Master of Arts in Music Therapy and Counseling

Program

The Master of Arts in Music Therapy & Counseling is a 90 quarter-credit program that integrates advanced music therapy and general counseling coursework with hands-on clinical experience and research opportunities, preparing graduates for a variety of career paths in the music therapy profession. Faculty include dedicated, knowledgeable music therapists as well as other creative arts therapists, clinical psychologists and counseling educators, offering a curriculum focused on in-depth study of foundational and innovative music therapy and mental health theories and approaches. The program can be completed in a minimum of two years (seven quarters) of full-time study, although some students may take longer to complete all program requirements, or opt for a decelerated plan of study. Classes held during the regular academic year (Fall, Winter and Spring quarters) are taught in-person at our Center City Philadelphia campus, while coursework in the Summer term can be completed remotely.

Founded in 1975, the MA in Music Therapy & Counseling is one of the few music therapy academic programs in the country housed on a health sciences campus. This setting provides a unique perspective on the merging of arts and health sciences, with an emphasis on culturally responsive interprofessional education. Students have opportunities for clinical experience, research and more at several University- related facilities, including Parkway Health & Wellness, the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center and the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

Our program is designed both for students who have a Bachelor's degree in another field, and are seeking the required education and clinical experience to become a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC), as well as current Bachelor's-level music therapists who wish to pursue advanced study in music therapy and counseling. All courses are taught at the graduate level; we do not offer an equivalency program.

The Music Therapy and Counseling Curriculum is approved by the American Music Therapy Association. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to sit for the examination of the Certification Board for Music Therapists, to earn the MT-BC credential. Our program also meets the Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) education requirements. Please note that licensure requirements vary from state to state, and may change at any time. Therefore, if you are considering counseling licensure in the future, you are strongly advised to review educational requirements for any state(s) in which you may seek counseling licensure. It is the student's responsibility to know and understand the requirements for any type of future licensure.

What you'll learn

  • Integration of music therapy methodologies with mental health counseling and medical sciences theories and approaches.
  • Daily interaction with music, art and dance/movement therapists, psychologists, neuroscientists, physicians and other health professionals as teachers and supervisors.
  • Clinical applications of instrumental and vocal improvisation, composition, re-creative and imagery methods within music psychotherapy and counseling, medical music therapy and developmentally-focused treatment models.
  • Multiple supervised adult and child clinical placement opportunities in a variety of settings, including medical and psychiatric hospitals, inpatient and outpatient behavioral health facilities, schools, continuing care facilities, community health centers, correctional facilities and more.
  • Basic understanding of art and dance/movement therapies and their relationship to music therapy.
  • Interaction with students and educators representing all the health sciences.
  • A culminating project (traditional research thesis or capstone project) focused on a student's chosen area of interest, and guided by a multidisciplinary advisement committee.
  • Student presentation of research at local, regional, and national conferences.

What makes the Drexel Music Therapy and Counseling program unique?

  • Housed in Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions, on the University's health sciences campus.
  • Mental health counseling component of curriculum, which covers topics such as Human Psychological Development, Clinical Diagnosis, Group Dynamics, Theories of Psychotherapy, and Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling and Psychotherapy, and prepares students for professional counseling licensure in Pennsylvania.
  • A strong emphasis on multicultural perspectives and social justice.
  • The opportunity to study alongside art therapy and dance/movement therapy students, creating opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement and collaboration.
  • Students complete coursework and clinical experiences simultaneously, allowing for synthesis of theoretical and practical knowledge throughout the program.

Deadline:

Applications are reviewed in the two cycles based on the following dates:

  • Early Deadline: February 15, 2023
  • Regular Deadline: April 1, 2023 (Extended)

Please note that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage you to submit completed applications by the early deadline for full interview and scholarship consideration. We will continue to review applications after the early deadline until the class is full or the date listed above, whichever should come first.

Admission Requirements

Degree:
Bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited institution, and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or above on all previous coursework.

Standardized Tests:
N/A

Transcripts:

  • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Drexel from all the colleges/universities that you have attended. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap to Drexel University, Application Processing, P.O. Box 34789, Philadelphia, PA 19101, or submitted through a secure electronic delivery service to enroll@drexel.edu. Please note that transcripts are required regardless of the number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another school. An admission decision may be delayed if you do not send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If your school does not notate degree conferrals on the official transcripts, you must provide copies of any graduate or degree certificates.
  • If your school issues only one transcript for life, you are required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency
  • Use our Transcript Lookup Tool to assist you in contacting your previous institutions

Prerequisites:
Instrumental and vocal music experience is needed. All instrumental backgrounds are welcomed and will be considered for admissions. Applicants can have backgrounds in varied styles and genres with working knowledge in applied musical concepts. Volunteer or paid experience in a helping relationship is preferred.

References:
Three letters of recommendation are required. At least one recommendation should refer to your musicianship or musical skills. Letters of recommendation should be requested and submitted electronically through your online application.

Personal Statement/Essay:
Submit a 500-1250 word essay that focuses on your relationship with music, what led you to pursue a career path in music therapy and additional information that informs your application to this program. Essays may be submitted with your application or through the Discover Drexel portal after your online application is complete.

Audition/Interview: Invited applicants will be asked to participate in a 45-minute audition/interview with faculty members of the graduate music therapy program. The audition/interview will explore applicants' personal, academic, interpersonal and creative attributes and review musical knowledge and skills. Applicants are asked to prepare the following for review:
1. Two pieces from different musical styles or genres that demonstrate proficiency on applicants' primary instrument(s).
2. Two popular, folk or original songs, sung while accompanying yourself on piano.
3. Two popular, folk or original songs, sung while accompanying yourself on guitar.
4. Demonstration of musical knowledge and skills. This includes playing chord progressions (I-IV-V-I; I-vi-ii-VI) in varied keys on piano and guitar, providing chordal accompaniment and transposition of familiar songs and improvisation on instruments of choice.

Invited applicants who cannot participate in an in-person interview may submit recorded material demonstrating items 1-3 above. A virtual interview will be scheduled to review additional criteria for program admissions.

CV/Resume:
Required. Include relevant education, work and service/volunteer experience.

Work and Volunteer Experience:
Social service work or volunteer history is highly valued.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

  • Transcript Evaluation: All international students applying to a graduate program must have their transcripts evaluated by the approved agency: World Education Services (WES), 212.966.6311, Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087, New York, NY 10274-5087, Web site: www.wes.org/.
  • TOEFL: Applicants who have not received a degree in the United States are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) An official score report must be sent directly to Drexel University Application Processing. The minimum TOEFL score is 90 and the minimum IELTS score is 6.5. For more information visit the Web site: www.ets.org, then click on TOEFL.
  • I-20/DS-2019 and Supporting Financial Documents (international students only): After confirming attendance to Drexel, students will receive an email from ISSS with instructions for applying for their I-20/DS-2019 and submitting supporting financial documents.

International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.
P.O. Box 8629
Philadelphia, PA 19101-8629
215.222.8454, ext. 603

Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
3600 Market St., Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
215.349.8767

World Education Services, Inc. (WES)
Bowling Green Station, P.O. Box 5087
New York, NY 10274-5087
212.966.631

Tuition and Fee Rates:
Please visit the Tuition and Fee Rates page on Drexel Central

Application Link (if outside organization):
N/A


COMPLIANCE

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Background checks:

As a student of the College of Nursing and Health Professions you will be required to satisfactorily complete a criminal background check, child and elder abuse checks, drug test, immunizations, physical exams, health history, and/or other types of screening before being permitted to begin clinical training.

You will not need to submit documentation of these requirements as part of your application to the master's program. Failure to fully satisfy these requirements as directed upon enrollment may prevent assignment to a clinical site for training. A background check that reflects a conviction of a felony or misdemeanor may affect your ability to be placed in certain facilities, and later, to become board certified and licensed.

Curriculum

The MA in Music Therapy & Counseling is a 90-quarter credit program. The program can be completed in a minimum of two years (seven quarters) of full-time study, although some students may take longer to complete all requirements, or opt for a decelerated plan of study. The majority of classes are taught in-person on Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions campus in Center City, Philadelphia with select classes offered online.

The coursework consists of both Music Therapy-specific and general mental health counseling coursework. Music Therapy-specific topics include:

  • Music Therapy theories and methods for child, adolescent, adult and older adult populations
  • Clinical musicianship and improvisation skills
  • Social and cultural foundations in music therapy
  • Technological applications
  • Imagery methods
  • Group dynamics in music therapy
  • Theories of music psychotherapy

Mental health counseling coursework covers theories and skills in:

  • Human psychological development
  • Psychopathology and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Social and cultural foundations in counseling
  • Behavioral research
  • Group dynamics in counseling
  • Theories of counseling and psychotherapy
  • Career counseling
  • Clinical appraisal and diagnosis
  • Professional ethics
  • Foundations of Creative Art Therapies

Clinical experience is integrated with classroom learning, with students participating in two practicums and one internship throughout the course of the program. For more information on the clinical education component of the Music Therapy program, click on the "Clinical Practices" tab above.

A Culminating Project rounds out the curriculum. Second-or third-year students conduct a Culminating Project that integrates practice with theory and/or research. Under the guidance of their Culminating Project advisor, students design a project that explores aspects of both their respective Creative Arts Therapies discipline and counseling. Examples of Culminating Projects include development of a method, a community engagement project, research thesis or artistic project. Culminating Projects may be connected to a student's internship, but it is not a requirement. At the end of each academic year, students present their Culminating Projects to peers, faculty, friends and family at their respective program's Colloquium. Students are also encouraged to submit projects to regional and national conferences when applicable.

Accreditation

The Music Therapy and Counseling program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association.

http://www.musictherapy.org/

Clinical Practice

Students complete more than 1,200 hours of graduate clinical practicum and internship experiences under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist. Placements include pediatric and adult psychiatric and general hospitals, recovery and wellness programs, therapeutic day care, preschool intervention programs, rehabilitation settings, long-term care facilities, forensic settings, schools, and community music therapy programs.

Students begin their clinical experience as soon as they enter the program. The clinical education is enhanced by 3 to 3.5 hours of individual and group supervision per week.

First-year students gain practical and theoretical knowledge regarding a range of clinical populations across two placements assigned by the Director of Field Education. During practicum experiences supervised by on-site board-certified music therapists, students are guided through observation, assisting and co-leading of music therapy sessions in preparation for the second-year internship.

Clinical internship lasts the entire second year and offers an opportunity for students to mature and develop advanced skills with one or, in some cases, two populations. The internship is chosen by the student with assistance from the Director of Field Education and approved by the Music Therapy Program Director. The practicum and internship fulfill the clinical training requirements of the American Music Therapy Association.

Katy Hutchings, MA `15 - Music Therapist

Hometown: Piedmont, CA

Undergraduate: BA, Music (Minor in Educational Studies), Haverford College; MM, Voice Performance, Temple University

Current Employment: Music Therapist at Young Children's Center for the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

How did the MTC program help you discover and gain experience in your areas of interest?
I loved that I had clinical experience throughout my two years at Drexel. While other programs make you wait to start clinical work, Drexel allowed me to dive right in and immediately start enhancing my education by seeing and participating in actual music therapy in the real world. As someone who was new to music therapy, this was incredibly valuable. Integrating clinical work and course work deepened my understanding of music therapy. I especially appreciated being able to find and choose my own internship my second year, allowing me to focus on working with children with developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and other neurological diagnoses.

How did your musical identity transform while you were in the Music Therapy program?
Coming from a career of being a professional singer and voice teacher, it was quite a shock to redefine myself as music therapist. I was a complete beginner at guitar and it was very humbling! I also had never improvised and was not as confident in my improvisational skills. By the end of the program, I grew to love playing the guitar and improvising.
What aspects of the curriculum were valuable in addressing issues of diversity, multicultural awareness, and social justice?
From our first day, we were introduced to instruments and musical styles from all over the world and different cultures. Musically, we explored a large variety of styles in a safe, nonjudgmental environment and our own personal music histories were valued as well. In our core curriculum courses, I appreciate the focus on diversity and multicultural awareness especially in terms of our role as therapists in such a diverse city like Philadelphia.

What guidance would you give students who are considering Drexel's MA in Music Therapy & Counseling?
Drexel's program is intense but in two years you will feel confident in your skills as a clinician, counselor, and musician. All of my classmates were able to find full time work almost immediately and that speaks to how prepared we all were entering the job market. As an older student returning to school to start a new career, I felt very respected and supported by the faculty and my peers. Another benefit of Drexel's program is the opportunity to take classes with Art Therapy and Dance Movement Therapy students, allowing me to gain a broader perspective of Creative Arts Therapies. I now have a greater sense of how the arts can be used in therapy and I also have a large network of peers from all three modalities.

Michael Mahoney MA `10 - Alum, Practicum/Internship Supervisor

Hometown: Brockport, NY

Undergraduate major and institution: Philosophy (with Business Studies minor) at SUNY Geneseo

Current Employment: Music Therapist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Why did you choose Drexel's Music Therapy & Counseling program? I appreciated that Drexel would not require me to earn an undergraduate music degree, as I didn't have a particular interest in becoming an expert on a specific instrument. Instead, I was able to use my own past experiences (playing in bands with friends, music technology) to develop my model to my own strengths.

What guidance would you give students who are considering Drexel's MA in Music Therapy & Counseling?
Gain musical experiences, either by learning formal music theory or on the side of playing music by playing music in performing groups before you begin.

How did this program prepare you for a career as a music therapist? Through classwork and on-site experiences, I learned everything I needed to know to stand at the starting line of my own music therapy professional practice. I received huge amounts of support from respected experts in the field, and learned to initiate an ongoing learning process that continues to enrich my work today.

What has your professional experience been like? Extremely rewarding and marked by good fortune! I accepted a job at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shortly after graduation, and I am now nearing my six-year anniversary. Every day I support patients and their families in playing out their thoughts, feelings and values through musical experiences during life-changing illnesses and hospitalizations. I think a lot about how to support everyone I meet from infant patients to their great-grandparents in the developmental challenges they face. This great honor is also a great responsibility, which I take very seriously.

What aspects of the curriculum were valuable in addressing issues of diversity, multicultural awareness, and social justice?
Our class content helped me understand how my (white, male, hetero cis-gendered) perspectives and values are not necessarily "the norm" for everyone, but rather just a single reference point out of so many across the city and the world. It showed me how community or other non-Western approaches can be more beneficial for the struggling person, than anything that fits my ideas of what's normal.

News & Events

Master's Student Jason Valdez Finds Community in Art Making

09/22/22

Master of Art Therapy and Counseling student Jason Valdez '20 standing with his parents at graduation.Since childhood, Jason Valdez has nurtured a passion for art making. Born in Dallas, Texas, Valdez came to Drexel University to pursue an undergraduate degree in art history. While studying, Valdez discovered dual interests in art and behavioral health counseling. Now enrolled in the College of Nursing and Health Professions master’s in Art Therapy and Counseling program, Valdez is building the future career of his dreams.

“I’ve always known that art is a big form of therapy for me,” says Valdez. “Before I came to Drexel, I didn’t know what art therapy was, as a profession, but I knew I wanted to create and engage with art in a way that helped people.”

While an undergrad, Valdez enrolled in WRIT 215: Story Medicine, a community-based learning class at Drexel taught in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The goal of the course is to teach creative writing to special populations, such as long-term care pediatric patients and children with disabilities. Valdez says that after the first day of the course, he discovered his purpose.

Master's of Art Therapy and Counseling student Jason Valdez squatting in front of a white board with alphabet letters spelling his name behind him..“From day one, I knew I loved this work. I worked with children in hospice care and taught them about how colors can correlate to mood. In some ways, it was basic art education, yet it had a much deeper resonance,” Valdez shares. “By the end of the course, I remember thinking: ‘I don’t know what any of this means yet, but this is what I want to do.”

After researching art therapy as a field, Valdez feels that he has found his professional sweet-spot. Part art making, part counseling and community-centered care, Valdez is thrilled for his future in the field and the opportunity to continue his studies at Drexel.

“Not everyone knows what art therapy is, and I have found a variety of definitions. These next three years in my master’s program will absolutely shape my perspective and I am excited to build something unique that will serve so many people in the future.”

In addition to his passion for art, Valdez is an advocate for the Latinx community at Drexel.

“When I first came to Drexel for my bachelor’s degree, I was very hesitant to express my Mexican-American culture. I had never been to Philadelphia before; I only knew Texas. I faced some difficult experiences at first,” Valdez admits. “I felt very alone during my first year. But I learned that trying to hide my culture wasn’t serving me. I needed to find people who could help me express who I am and share in my experiences, rather than diminish them.”

Master's of Art Therapy and Counseling student Jason Valdez standing with three fraternity brothers.During his junior year, Valdez joined Latino America Unida, Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity, Inc. (LAU), a Latinx based but not exclusive fraternity on Drexel’s campus. While there, Valdez found authentic connection and the community support he needed.

“When there are people on your side, it makes all the difference in the world,” Valdez comments, “We go above and beyond to support each other in this group. LAU has taught me that there is no way to be truly successful without embracing every aspect of yourself. It’s not just about academic success, but personal success as well.”

Reflecting on his journey at Drexel so far, Valdez says he is ready to lead.

“I want to carve a path for students like me,” he concludes. “I’ve been through it, and I want to be there for others. I used to think that sharing my culture would expose me and leave me vulnerable but now I know that it is the only way to authentically represent myself. By staying at Drexel, I hope that I can be a resource for others coming up. If I can ease this journey for even one person, I will feel that I have done a great job.”

Written by Izzy López

Open House Held in the New Health Sciences Building for CNHP Faculty and Staff

09/01/22

The new academic home of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel's Health Sciences Building.An open house on August 25, 2022 welcomed the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) faculty and staff to their new academic home, Drexel's Health Sciences Building. Attendees had the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of nursing and health profession labs and classrooms hearing about how these advanced spaces will augment the academic experience for all students. “We educate leaders for the future, we discover and create new knowledge, and we practice our individual disciplines in order to make the world a better place. Seeing you all here today reminds me of our greater purpose as a college to assure health, service and wellness for everyone, locally, nationally and globally,” announced Dean Laura N. Gitlin, PhD.

Before Provost Paul Jensen welcomed CNHP employees to University City, Gitlin gave the history of the land on which the building sits and the people connected to it. Jensen spoke about the importance of connecting many of the University’s health-related disciplines within the Health Sciences Building. He commented how excited the University is to have CNHP on main campus and espoused the benefits this 12-story, academic space offers the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and next year, the College of Medicine and School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies.Dean Laura N. Gitlin, PhD addressing attendees from the College of Nursing and Health Professions during an open house in the new Drexel Health Science Building.

CNHP’s interim dean, Ann Branchini, PhD, who holds a doctorate in nursing with a focus on leadership, took a few minutes to address attendees. Excited to step into this new home, Branchini is eager to get to work supporting students, faculty and professional staff. “This is a critical time in the history of CNHP, and I am excited about the opportunity we share to forge our identity and secure the future of our programs and our students on this campus,” Branchini articulated.

College of Nursing and Health Professions Interim Dean Ann Branchini, PhD holding a microphone during an open house in the new Drexel Health Science Building.With the support of university leadership, and Gitlin as its determined champion, the Health Sciences Building can offer opportunities for interdisciplinary education in a facility that affords students, faculty and professional staff the best possible environment for continued development and growth. Over 1,450 tradespeople participated in the building with over 11K cubic yards of concrete, 5K light fixtures, 600 wood door frames and so much more—everything remained on track, despite a global pandemic, because of the dedication of many teams. Gitlin recognized three individuals who were exceptional in their management: Mary Gallagher Gordon, PhD, vice dean of CNHP’s Strategic Operations and Academic Services, Terri Schmitt, director of Planning, and Nancy Trainer, associate vice president and university architect. “Our trio of mighty leaders has led through immeasurable uncertainty, going far above and beyond their job descriptions to make sure this space is exemplary for the Drexel community,” Gitlin stated.

Terri Schmitt and Mary Gallagher Gordon, PhD holding their recognition awards during the College of Nursing and Health Professions open house in the new Drexel Health Science Building.At the end of the event, Gitlin invited everyone there to take the self-guided walking tour previewing classrooms and labs where faculty and staff greeted groups and shared unique details of the spaces. The eight stops along the tour included a 300-person classroom where international speakers, distinguished lecture series and events that honor students, staff and faculty will be hosted; clinical spaces; Creative Arts Therapies teaching spaces; and a virtual reality classroom, a state-of-the-art room where CNHP students will learn and practice skills in a safe, immersive and realistic environments.

Distinctive lab spaces—SIM, Clinical Skills, Digital Anatomy and Imaging and Gross Anatomy labs—rounded out the tour. All are outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and technology to enhance students’ hands-on educational experience. “The Health Sciences Building will support us in ushering in transformational opportunities for education and community engagement. This is the structure – but it is all about you and what you do – this beautiful new building is designed to enhance your purpose and everyday excellence,” concluded Gitlin.

Written by Roberta S. Perry

 

CNHP Graduation Highlights and Awards

06/21/22

Stack of graduation programs for Drexel UniversityThe weeks leading up to the Drexel’s 134th Commencement were full of celebrations. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates from across the College of Nursing and Health Professions attended a host of CNHP and Drexel University events to recognize their accomplishments. Our nursing co-op students held their pinning ceremony, the Nutrition Sciences Department, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Graduate Nursing hosted celebrations, the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows met virtually to recognize those who completed the year-long program and the Creative Arts Therapies held their day-long Colloquia where student presented of their work.

Graduates wearing Drexel University caps and gowns at the College of Nursing and Health Professions graduation ceremonyOn the morning of June 9 at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts and with a focus on equity and purpose, Dean Laura Gitlin, PhD, welcomed graduating students, faculty, families, friends and guests to the first in-person graduation since 2019 saying, “We have all chosen lives that are, and will continue to be, motivated by an innate desire to make life better–to heal, a responsibility to serve and an obligation to advocate for those whose voices are not always heard or who do not receive equitable access to care throughout their life course.”

Gitlin asked for graduates to see their callings as a continuation or the College’s core values. “You have the obligation, opportunity and privilege to change the lives of individuals as well as systems of care—to develop new strategies, practices and policies in your respective fields and to address health inequities,” she asserted. She encouraged them to strive to provide person-centric care and to address what matters most to those for whom they care.

Zainab During, a master’s nursing student in Quality, Safety and Risk Management and a member of the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, gave the student address. Born and raised in Sierra Leone, During used her own experience of civil war in her country to demonstrate what ambition and purpose will help one accomplish. “It is with that same mindset that I was able to thrive when I immigrated to the United States 13 years ago, with the goal of one day living the American dream,” she shared. “While this goal was abstract, it gave me hope and allowed me to continue nurturing my purpose,” During continued.

A group wearing Drexel University caps and gownsShe closed by stating what an honor it is to be graduating with the class of 2022 who she knows will do great things. “My fellow graduates, as a result of the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes acquired during the courses of our different programs, it is a privilege to follow our purpose and be given the opportunity to shine in our respective career paths.”

Gitlin introduced Melanie Cataldi, BS ’98, CNHP’s keynote speaker. Cataldi is a committed leader and collaborator for social justice with over 21 years of experience at Philabundance including founding the Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK), a culinary arts workforce development training and employment program for adults who qualify for public assistance.

An experienced community impact strategist and a member of the 2022 People of Purpose, Cataldi began her address by referencing author and “unshakable optimist” Simon Sinek who talks a lot about “Finding Your Why.” “Your why is the thing that you give to the world, the thing that makes you who you are; it’s the fundamental core of what inspires you. My “why” is that I’m a Defender of People,” she shared. She has a superpower—seeing the big picture with the ability to develop, protect, motivate and move people forward toward a common goal.

Two females wearing blue and gold caps and gownsFollowing the themes spoken of by Gitlin and During, Cataldi talked about how interprofessional collaboration is the only way she sees to achieving both food and health equity. “The causes of health inequity are complex and interwoven. Anti-hunger organizations and affordable housing builders, public and private entities and academic institutions are all part of the solution,” Cataldi argued.

Acknowledging the structural and social determinants of health, like housing, education, transportation, and food, Cataldi stated that most people would argue that food and shelter are key among those because they represent the most basic of essential needs. From Cataldi’s perspective, food equity is part of the struggle of overall health equity. Looking at the last two years, what touches one affects all with long-lasting and pervasive repercussions, and what we have done to alleviate these wide-reaching problems isn’t working.

Two people wearing Drexel University caps and gownsBecause this work will neither be easy nor quick, Cataldi challenged our graduates to find their why. “I bet if I sat down with each of you, whether your focus is research or direct service, whether you studied nursing, health administration, health sciences, nutrition, hospitality management, culinary arts and food science, creative art therapies, counseling, physician assistance or physical therapy and rehabilitation science, we would find something that is congruent with making things better—for people, for families, for communities. It’s been my experience that really understanding your “why”, your superpower, and then leveraging that in collaboration with others, is the key to success in just about everything be it family dynamics, relationships in the workplace or reaching organizational goals,” concluded Cataldi.

Below is a list of award winners from around the College.

Dean's Awards

Nicholas Eltman, Dean’s Achievement Award
Melissa Fairfield, Dean’s Social Justice Award
June Maloney, Dean’s Clinical Service Award
Shel Myers, Dean’s Award

RN-BSN and Graduate Nursing Departments

Outstanding Graduate Award
Amy C. Plotts
Adriana Ava Banks
Kaitlin Balbo
Jillian Labatch
Anne Anderson
Vicki Zahos
Pam Hughes
Joncornel Kearney
Sarah Kendall
Stephanie Pileggi
Theodore A. Klitus
Erika Lockhart
Jessa Adiletto Lassor
Ashley Olszewski
Amy Elisabeth Elliott
Melissa Fairfield
Jordan Troxell
Amy Elizabeth Fafard

Thia Jackson Baugh, Online Student Recognition (RN-BSN)
Molly Laina Scott, Outstanding Achievement (RN-BSN)

Kristin Feightner, Kathleen Jennings-Dozier Memorial Award
Lindsey Ho, Joyce Lazzaro Lifelong Achievement Award
Emily Shaw, Hahnemann Hospital Nurse Alumnae Association Award

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department

Dominic DeLaurentis, Clinical Education Award
June Maloney, Dragon Service Award
Brianna Wagner, Leadership Award
Natalia Oliveira, Health Equity and Social Impact Award
Drew Petersen, Scholarly Excellence Award
Kerri Yacovelli, PT, MSPT, OCS, Clinical Instructor Award

Creative Arts Therapies Department

Ming Yuan Low, PhD, PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapies Teaching Promise Award and Leadership Promise Awards
Brigette K. Schneible, PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapies Research Promise Award
Natalia Alvarez-Figueroa, Rachel Haimovich, Jonathon Jenkins and Cynthia Jones, Clinical Supervisors Award Lana Sommers, MA Leadership Award
James Lavino and Lydia Patselas, MA Artistry Award
Zevi B. Koretz, MA Service Award
Rachel Chang, Tahsina Miah and Carolina Millard, MA Clinical Excellence Award
Elizabeth Allen, MA Culminating Project
Briana Marsh, Nitasha Kang And Jennifer Willbanks, Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award (JEDI)
Angela Kodokian, Lana Sommers and Taylor A. Sparks, MA Overall Achievement Award
Hayley Beck, The Dianne Dulicai Award for Dance/Movement Therapy

Alpha Eta Honor Society, the National Honor Society for the Allied Health Professions
Hayley Beck
Angela Kodokian
James Lavino
Ming Yuan Low
Tahsina Miah
Brigette Schneible
Lana Sommers
Taylor A. Sparks

Written by Roberta S. Perry

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