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40 Under 40: Nicole Porter Willcox

March 13, 2015

Congratulations to Nicole Porter Willcox, a Creative Arts Therapy alumna, who was named one of Drexel’s 2015 40 Under 40!  At just 34 years old, she has already made quite an impact on a community in need and has created a model capable of helping devastated communities nationwide.

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Willcox volunteered for three months in Newtown, CT. “I was there to educate the community on how art therapy heals trauma and provide clinical services for the families requesting help.” She then established Emerald Sketch, an art therapy response team which links art therapists to communities with recent history of trauma and loss. 

Willcox credits Nancy Gerber, PhD, an associate clinical professor and Director of the PhD program in Creative Arts Therapies, for encouraging her to explore her interests.  “The Creative Arts Therapies program at Drexel immerses students in experience.  I spent my time in the Therapeutic Nursery at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center.  It was there that I developed my first sustainable art therapy program and established the model that would later evolve into my facility in Newtown.” 

As for the future, Willcox hopes Emerald Sketch will grow into a national response team and “educate children to live a safe and healthy lifestyle in an era of technology, modern hazards and heightened anxiety.”