MARAMTS Update: Student Affairs and Happenings

MARAMTS Update: Student Affairs and Happenings

Conio Loretto, MS, LCAT, MT-BC – Outgoing MAR Student Affairs Advisor

Jason Willey, MMT, MT-BC – Incoming MAR Student Affairs Advisor

Tara O’Brien – Outgoing MARAMTS Vice President

Colleen McDonough – Incoming MARAMTS Vice President



This year’s Passages Conference for our region’s students and new professionals was held on October 1, 2016 at Nazareth College.  Co-chairs for the event were new professional Nick Sherman, Nazareth student Alex Bruno, and Fredonia student Rachel Williams. All worked tirelessly to create an exciting, diverse conference program.  

The conference officially kicked off with a welcome from co-chairs Nick, Alex, and Rachel; Nazareth professor Laurie Keough M.S. Ed, LCAT, MT-BC and Conio Loretto, MS, LCAT, MT-BC, Student Affairs Advisor for the MAR. Dr. Bryan Hunter, PhD, LCAT, MT-BC, Professor and Coordinator of Music Therapy at Nazareth College, spoke about the growth of our profession in his presentation titled “Just Keep on Singing.”

Next came two concurrent sessions – Tara O’Brien presented about the benefits of getting a Music Together training for students and professionals and Kenny Farinelli and Erin Outlon presented a case study of a 4-year-old female with ASD using improvisational music therapy.

Three more concurrent sessions followed, with Elizabeth Cough, Kramer Dahl, Louise Ly, and Shayla McDermott explain four different perspectives for transitioning from student to intern; Jasmine Edwards, MT-BC presented on the role of story-telling and fantasy play in music therapy; and Stephanie Sofield, MT-BC presented on a case study experience with a client with an eating disorder.

After an exhibit hall and a break for lunch, Lara Anat Grabois gave a plenary session for all conference attendees titled “Dreamers on Air: The Story of My Autism Journey Told Through Music.”

Three more concurrent sessions followed this, including Daniel Walsh who presented on approaching musical mutuality through guided client compositions within adult inpatient psychiatry; Reissa Ress explaining the role vulnerability plays in music therapy for music therapists and their clients; and Amara May MT-BC presenting her case study on an individual diagnosed with autism who identifies as transgender.

The conference closed with a closing ceremony and some collective music making.  The entire conference was supported by a team of wonderful volunteers from Nazareth College. Thank you to all!

Many of the Passages presenters had the opportunity to give their presentations again during special concurrent session times at the MAR Conference in Rochester, NY.  Thank you to Trish Winter and Jenny Swanson for your efforts in making these “Passages Re-visited” sessions happen.

Passages 2017 will be held in the Fall – more info coming soon!



MARAMTS elected our new Executive Board at our recent conference in Rochester, NY.  Congratulations to…

Meghan Smith (Temple University) – President

Rachel Williams (Fredonia) – President Elect

Colleen McDonough (Temple University) – Vice President

Liz Ingram (Molloy College) – Parliamentarian

Emma Martin (Slippery Rock University) – Secretary

Ally LaVerdiere (Temple University) – Treasurer

Jake Mauersberg (Temple University) – Government Relations Chair

Jason Willey, MMT, MT-BC – Student Affairs Advisor

Thank you to our outgoing Executive Board members for their wonderful service to our region…Andrea Schaertel (Duquesne University), Halley Cole (Duquesne University), Tara O’Brien (Fredonia) and Amanda Montera (Temple University). Your hard work is appreciated by all!



We awarded several scholarships during the conference.  The MARAMTS sophomore, junior and graduate scholarships were awarded to students in our region who have demonstrated a commitment to our field based on the following criteria…

…active participation in Music Therapy club meetings and activities…

…interest and involvement in regional conferences…

…self-motivation with regard to independent learning experiences.

The scholarship winners are decided by a team of student judges through a blind review of applications.  A special thank you to this year’s team of judges!

Congratulations to the following scholarship recipients, who were awarded complimentary student membership to the American Music Therapy Association for 2017 and with free registration to our MAR Conference:


Hayley Spriggs (Elizabethtown College)

Colleen McDonough (Temple University)


Emma Martin (Slippery Rock University)

Meghan Smith (Temple University)

Amara May (Fredonia)

Rebecca Warren (Fredonia)

The Jenny Shinn Memorial Scholarship for Music Therapy Interns was also awarded during the conference.  This scholarship is given to three student interns within the Mid Atlantic Region who have demonstrated scholarly excellence, a strong character and significant service to our field.  We accepted almost twenty applications this year, which were then narrowed down to six finalists following a blind review by our judging panel.  The six applicants were then interviewed by our judges at the conference in Rochester.  

Congratulations to the three scholarship recipients, who will each be awarded $500 to help support them in their internship experiences…


Erica Gibbons (Montclair State University)

Bethany Wentling (Elizabethtown College)

Jennifer Messner (Elizabethtown College)


Thank you to our professional judging panel, Beth Deyermond, Scott Horowitz and Dena Register for making this very difficult decision.

We also awarded this year’s Music Therapy Club Award to Montclair State University and Elizabethtown College.  Each club received $250 based on their noteworthy efforts to spread awareness and advocate for our field.



MAR Conference Committee members Molly Pow and Adrienne Meyer spearheaded the redesign and reorganization of the annual Student Service Project to become the STUDENT LEADERSHIP ACADEMY (SLA). The theme for this year’s SLA was building a successful private practice and owning a Music Therapy business. Students had the opportunity to visit and tour Music Therapy businesses and private practices around the Rochester area and participated in many dynamic learning opportunities at the conference site, specific to the theme. Gratitude goes to Spectrum Arts and Upstate Music Therapy Center for hosting students and supporting the SLA this year.   



At this year’s conference, we once again provided an opportunity for students to sit with a panel of professional Music Therapists, all at different stages of their careers, to answer questions and seek advice as to what it is like navigating the professional world.  A wonderfully dynamic exchange occurred, with many topics covered.  Thank you to our panel who openly and honestly shared their experiences – Tara O’Brien, Jamie Swieringa, Stephenie Sofield, Beth Deyermond, Julie Neal, Maria Hancock, and Mary D’Amato.



During this year’s conference, the MARAMTS Canning Project collected monies for Music4More (, a Baltimore-based organization that organizes instrument collections for children that need them, as well as Music Therapy programs for veterans. Individual universities collected monies from conference attendees during conference breaks. Altogether, the students raised about $200 for the organization, with Temple University raising the most money. A special shout out to Jake Mauersberg who organized the project.



Thank you to all schools who participated in this year’s Swap Shop at the MAR Conference.  Each school shared a movement intervention that could be used in clinical settings. A special shout out to Halley Cole who organized the wonderful event.



Our new Executive Board is energized and looking to the future.  If any student has a great idea (or two!) for advancing our organization, please reach out any of your MARAMTS officers.  They will be meeting this summer to make plans for the upcoming year.    



On behalf of all of the students in the MAR, we would like to thank our outgoing Student Affairs Advisor, Conio Loretto. We cannot thank you enough for all of your constant guidance, support, hard work, and friendly welcomes to every student over the past four years. You will truly be missed!