In Focus: Jamie Coppola
Tell us about your path to Hofstra University.
Since high school, I had always had a passion for art. Once in high school, I spent all my free time in the art room. There, I was mentored by my high school art teacher and encouraged to continue pursuing my passion in the arts. I attended the School of Visual Arts, receiving my Bachelor’s in Fine Arts. Before graduating the School of Visual Arts, I read an article about art therapy. It was the first time I had ever heard of the profession. After much research, I decided to apply to graduate school at Hofstra for Creative Arts Therapy (CAT).
How did you decide on your program?
When I read about art therapy and began to understand the field, I felt really connected to the values and concepts of what I found. After becoming consumed with the field, I researched different programs in New York. After going on my initial interview at Hofstra with Margaret Carlock- Russo, Graduate Creative Arts Therapy director, I felt that Hofstra University was the perfect fit for me. Margaret created such a welcoming environment during the interview, as she explained the Creative Arts Therapy program.
What opportunities did you take advantage of at Hofstra?
Some opportunities I had taken advantage of at Hofstra were attending CAT events, and meeting others in the field of art therapy.
Did you encounter any inspiring faculty at Hofstra?
I have encountered inspiring faculty members at Hofstra. Professor Joan Alpers had inspired me to expand my thinking and learn about different art therapy techniques. Each class she taught, week to week, was so valuable to me. Her knowledge and guidance made such a huge impact during my learning experience at Hofstra. Her approach as a professor was admirable, always approachable and encouraging to my fellow peers and me.
Who have you considered to be mentors during your time in the program?
Among the many mentors I have found at Hofstra, Professor Susan Antelis became a great mentor to me. Having Professor Antelis as a thesis advisor was a wonderful experience. I also took part in her Soul Collage workshop outside of Hofstra. In both settings, Susan held such a calming, creative, and knowledgeable environment. Something I wish to achieve as a professional art therapist. Another Professor at Hofstra that has become a mentor to me is Margaret Carlock- Russo. Margaret has been an amazing mentor during my time at Hofstra. Margaret’s guidance during my time in the program has been invaluable. Every concern or question was easily resolved. Her presence and compassion for the students in the program was felt by everyone.
How did your experience prepare you for your future job search?
Different experiences and assignments at Hofstra, such as power point presentations, have helped prepare me for my job search. Learning to be in front of the classroom helped me to become a better speaker. Presenting topics in art therapy has also prepared me to feel more comfortable and confident about my knowledge in art therapy.
Tell us about your internship experiences.
During my time at Hofstra, I have been so fortunate to have had wonderful internship experiences. My first year at Hofstra, I started my first practicum site at Jackson Developmental Center, where I learned to use art therapy with children from the ages of 2-6 with developmental delays. My second site, at Long Beach Medical center was vastly different, but an equally enriching experience. At the medical center, I learned to use art therapy with adults in an acute in-patient psychiatric setting. During my last year in the program, I had the opportunity to intern at United Cerebral Palsy of Nassau (UCPN) in the Life Options Program for two semesters, completing over 600 hours. At UCPN, I had a life changing experience. My art therapy supervisor, Samantha Hasher, had such an impact on my life and has become a mentor to me.
What advice would you give to others considering attending Hofstra?
The graduate Creative Arts Therapy program at Hofstra has been one of the best experiences of my life. I would advise others considering attending Hofstra to visit the university and experience all that is has to offer.