MTAN Officers: Fall 2020- Spring 2021

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PRESIDENT: Francesa Crowley
Hi! My name is Francesca Crowley. I am a second-year equivalency student at CSUN and the 2021/2022 MTAN president. I am a Los Angeles native and grew up in Venice. In 2018, I received my bachelor’s degree in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music, focusing on songwriting and music business. After graduation, I moved back to Los Angeles, performing and working as an assistant in the film scoring industry. I decided to pursue a career as a music therapist because I’ve experienced mental health issues and residential treatment, which inspired me to work with others struggling with their own issues. My goal is to work as a full time music therapist at a state hospital and to do research on how music therapy can help decrease the rate of addiction in the homeless population and help get people off the streets. I currently am doing my fieldwork with Professor Borczon at two rehabilitation centers, which has been an extraordinary experience filled with drum circles, percussion games, song writing activities, lyric analysis, and GIM. As someone who has been privileged to grow up in a loving, supportive family, I want to help make a positive difference in the lives of people who didn’t have the same luck. My hobbies include: hula-hooping, bike-riding, hiking, listening to murder podcasts, and watching old movie musicals. I am looking forward to the end of 2021/ 2022 and making every moment count after the last two years of lockdown, mask-wearing and vaccines.

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VICE PRESIDENT: Daniel Lloyd
My name Is Daniel Lloyd, my pronouns are they/them/theirs, and I’m the current Vice-President for MTAN and advocate for the LGBTQIA2+ community. I am absolutely infatuated with the boundless possibilities that music therapy has to offer the world- ranging from neurological rehabilitation, supporting community-centric growth and connectivity, or even just purely increasing an individual’s quality of life. Where my heart truly lies, however, is with the progressive movement within the profession- uplifting and championing the voices of those who have historically faced systemic oppression in both the mental health care system and society in general. We are an ever-evolving field, and I deeply desire to promote research, advocacy and nuance in efforts to support our overall growth. I currently volunteer at the Ed Asner Center in Reseda- working with teens and young adults with Autism in a choral setting. In my spare time, which as a student is infrequent, I adore getting to explore culinary creations- specifically those of Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese origin. When I’m not buried in matriculation, or dissecting recipes, I’m spending time with my partner of 6 years (who is now my fiancé) and my three lovely cats. I would like to thank the entire MTAN board for all the hard work they’ve done thus far, the boards that have preceded us, and I feel especially honored to be considered your cohort!

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SECRETARY: Lesley Kernochan
Hello, my name is Lesley Kernochan and I am the lucky lady serving as secretary on the MTAN board this season.  I am grateful to be learning about music therapy and the many ways that it can aid in improving people’s lives.  I have had a very strong calling towards music from an early age and am excited for this new form of embracing and channeling its wonders.  Other than music, I enjoy acroyoga, meditation, dancing, gardening, biking, hiking, and anything that involves playing outdoors with good friends.  I hope that this year’s MTAN is able to bring many enriching and fun experiences to the student body and beyond!

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TREASURER: Meagan Moore
Hi everyone! My name is Meagan Moore, and I am thrilled to be your MTAN Treasurer for 2021/2022. I began working as a contracted vocalist and voice actor at the age of 6 and was fortunate to work in film and television throughout my childhood and teens. After attending Musician’s Institute as a Vocal Performance major, I stepped away from music to focus on my mental health and to seek a deeper understanding of myself. My journey has been anything but linear, but ultimately it led me to music therapy, where I have discovered my deepest passion: to empower people through music to reach their truest potential. Throughout my time at CSUN’s MT program, I have been constantly in awe of the many ways music can be used as a healer and facilitator for a variety of non-musical goals. My passion lies in working with children and over this past year I have discovered a love for working with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Outside of school I love to spend time in nature, practice yoga, and learn flow arts like hoop dancing and poi spinning. Most often you can find me on the dance floor with my friends, where we boogie to transcendental electronic music. I have a deep love of humanity and I believe the more I learn about different human experiences, the more compassion I have for each and every person I meet.

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COMMUNICATIONS/HISTORIAN: Amanda Hamilton
Hi! My name is Amanda Hamilton and I am so excited to be one of your Historian & Communications Officers for 2021/2022, alongside the wonderful Christine! I am in my sixth year of school here at CSUN, having earned my Bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies before entering the Music Therapy program. My primary instrument has been piano since age seven, but I also love to sing and am building up my abilities on guitar and ukelele. I have long believed music to have unique, unparalleled capabilities for healing, communication, and empowerment, and getting to use music in a therapeutic setting to bring positive change into others' lives is exactly what I know I was meant to do. I am passionate also about being a voice for the voiceless, and look forward to advocating for my clients and patients for a lifetime while also hoping to be involved in paving ways to greater freedom for and understanding of populations in need. In my free time, catch me baking, puzzling, watching rom-coms or napping - I love napping. I am a cat mommy to my beautiful Gracie, I love overcast weather, and I am excited to see what more this program has for me before moving on!


 

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COMMUNICATIONS/HISTORIAN: Christine Nguyen

Hey everyone! My name is Christine Nguyen and I am the co-Communications and Historian Officer for the 2021-2022 year! This is my 3rd year at CSUN and I’m so grateful to the Music Therapy department for fostering my growth and education. My musical career started back when I was 5 years old and my mom was teaching me piano. From then on, I’ve also learned the guitar, ukulele, clarinet, and saxophone. In my many years of being part of marching band and other concert bands, I’ve seen firsthand the way that music brings people together and creates a sense of community and belonging. Along with creating that sense of community, I love how music is a way of expressing oneself, and is a window into our internal thoughts and processes. I believe that every human being possesses intrinsic musical qualities, and we all have so much potential in us to be our most authentic and genuine selves. As a future music therapist, I hope to use music as a way to connect physically, emotionally, and spiritually to unlock that potential. In my free time, I am making coffee, listening to Taylor Swift, and napping. I am excited to see what’s in store for me and my fellow classmates, and how I am able to contribute to the ever growing profession of music therapy! 

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PARLIAMENTARIAN:  Sarai Benitez

My name is Sarai Benitez, pronouns She/Her/Hers, and I am a senior pursuing a career in Music Therapy with the goal to give back to my community in Los Angeles through the powers of music and dance. Growing up in a first generation Salvadoran family, from a young age I bore witness to the injustices and inequities within the city. Through being taught to remain silent as a female and minority, ignoring the continues racial microaggression, living with the fear of my father being deported, and seeing the huge social class gaps as I would accompany my mom to her work as a housemaid in Beverly Hills, I became passionate to advocate for my community and raise our voices through any means I could. 

In Central Los Angeles, I was lucky enough to attend one of the few schools in my community with a strong music program, and made a point to join all of them from choir, orchestra, and mariachi. My passion for performing arts flourished at the age of 10 when I received a full ride scholarship to The Colburn School Community School, where I grew my craft in classical guitar and vocal performance. At Colburn, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the center for innovation and community Impact through their program, Summer Encounter, where I realized my love of community work. Around the same time, I also realized my love of verbal processing and raising awareness of mental health support through my peer mediation program in high school. With these two organizations I took on leadership roles and began implementing my goal of combating the mental health stigma within South and Central Los Angeles school communities. Currently I am continuing my work in Restorative Justice and Peer Mediation with a non-profit called Kids Managing Conflicts (Links to an external site.) <https://www.kidsmanagingconflict.org/copy-of-contact-1>.

Entering college with the leadership skills I learned through my community outreach, I focused my extra time from studying to get involved on campus beyond my program and department. As a freshman I first got involved with Latinas based affinity group as an operant programming coordinator,  New Student Orientation as a Tour leader, and the Central American United Student Association (CAUSA) as an advocator for the Central American community on campus and nationally. This past year I had the honor of being elected as the 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Chair and the ASL Chair for my Sorority where I have headed the initiation of the chapter diversity goals through activities, weekly education reports, monthly newsletters, and actively implementing programs and initiatives that seek to create a sense of inclusion and belonging for all students. I have also been newly appointed to CSUN's Associated Student Diversity & Inclusion Committee, extending my passions to bring equity to the campus as a whole.

My goals for after graduation is to obtain a Masters in Arts Management as well as improve my fluency in the Korean language and cultural studies so I can better combat the stigma of mental illness in the Latinx and Korean communities of Pico-Union and Koreatown, where I grew up.

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1st YEAR REPRESENTATIVE:  Antonia Barela

Hi everyone! My name is Antonia Barela and I am so excited to be the 2021/2022 MTAN First Year Representative. I decided to pursue music therapy because of my passion for music and an interest in working with children with special needs. Making music in a wide range of environments growing up, I gained an appreciation for the power of music as I found it to be a conduit of creativity, community, and healing in my own life, and music therapy was a field in which I could share that with others. Finally being a first year in the CSUN Music Therapy program (in person no less!) is surreal, daunting, and most of all exciting. My understanding of the field has already expanded tremendously, and I look forward to all the new and formative experiences I know I will have throughout the rest of my time in the program! Currently I am interested in working in hospitals, trauma centers, and in an environment with individuals with special needs. Down the road I would also like to possibly open a music therapy practice in Wasilla, Alaska where I was born and raised as there is currently no established clinic there. Outside of school I enjoy hiking, traveling, taking care of my clownfish, playing my main instrument oboe, and spending time with my family via FaceTime or visiting them in between semesters.