Music Therapy Students Present at the 3rd Annual Posters at the Georgia Capitol Event

Music therapy students Avery Garrett, Renata Kuswanto, Abigail Hearn, and Sidney Johnson were four of the six Georgia College students selected to present their scholarly work at the Third Annual Posters at the Capitol event. This is the second year in a row that music therapy students have represented Georgia College during this prestigious statewide event, which is organized by the PaC Steering Committee.

This year the event was held virtually through Gather, a spatial video conferencing space, which allowed students to “gather” in the Capitol and virtually descend down the rotunda steps to their poster presentation location.  Although the event was virtual this year, the students remarked on the value of participating and sharing their work with others.

Music therapy was established as a profession in 1950, however, many people are unaware of the therapeutic benefits of music. Therefore, music therapy training includes learning how to advocate for the profession. The Capitol event provided a platform for practicing this skill. Junior music therapy student, Abby Hearn, commented, “I felt proud knowing that I was advocating for our profession. My favorite moment was when a state legislator came to my poster and started asking me a bunch of insightful questions… That encounter made me realize I am making a difference by educating people about the profession.”

Music therapy faculty, Susan Craig, echoed this sentiment. She explained, “they [the students] are able to have a meaningful conversation with the representatives and they are also able to explain the importance of music therapy in the community”. Susan Craig and fellow faculty, Katie Whipple, mentored these students through a junior level music therapy practicum course where students collected observational data using a single case study design. The students provided music-based interventions with clients, in a virtual setting, to improve specific skill areas including expressive communication and self-esteem. The students evaluated the data and several saw improvements in their clients.

It is this type of engaged learning that draws students to Georgia College. Senior music therapy student, Avery Garrett, commented, “part of what drew me to Georgia College was the opportunity for undergraduate research. With small class sizes and involved faculty members, I have had the opportunity to develop and conduct my own research study. This process began my first year”. Junior music therapy student, Sidney Williams, acknowledged the excellent opportunity the Posters at the Capitol event provided. Williams stated, “Posters at the Capitol will no doubt help me to achieve future research goals, as the experience has continued to shape my academic ambitions and love for undergraduate research.

Junior music therapy and international student, Renata Kuswanto, shared this view with Johnson. Kuswanto believed the event “built my self-esteem to be courageous and believe in my potential”. The event would not be possible without the hard work of the PaC Committee and the Georgia Undergraduate Research Collective, including the work of Dr. Doreen Sams, Dr. Jordan Cofer, and Dr. Hasitha Mahabaque.

Written by: Georgia College and State University

Founded in 1978, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity. Among the many activities and networking opportunities that CUR provides, the organization also offers support for the professional growth of faculty and administrators through expert-designed institutes, conferences, and a wide-range of volunteer positions. The CUR community, made up of nearly 700 institutions and 13,000 individuals, continues to provide a platform for discussion and other resources related to mentoring, connecting, and creating relationships centered around undergraduate research. CUR’s advocacy efforts are also a large portion of its work as they strive to strengthen support for undergraduate research. Its continued growth in connections with representatives, private foundations, government agencies, and campuses world-wide provides value to its members and gives voice to undergraduate research. CUR is committed to inclusivity and diversity in all of its activities and our community.

CUR focuses on giving a voice to undergraduate research with learning through doing. It provides connections to a multitude of campuses and government agencies, all while promoting networking and professional growth to its community.