Eastern Michigan University music therapy student wins national scholarship

by Pamela Young, Published February 16, 2011

YPSILANTI - Amy Sawyer Foley, a senior majoring in music therapy at Eastern Michigan University, has won the Edwina Eustis Dick Scholarship, a national award for music therapy interns presented by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)

Foley will receive a $500 award. She is from Findlay, Ohio and is currently an intern at the Monroe County (Mich.) Intermediate School District.

"This is a special event because the American Music Therapy Association grants only two of these national scholarships each year," said Michael McGuire, coordinator of EMU's music therapy program and professor of music.

Students are judged on such criteria as personal, community and college activities; grade point average; presentations; participation in the AMTA and essays.

Foley presented her research on instructional music therapy technology at the 2009 AMTA national conference. In March, she will present research on the use of technology in clinical music therapy at the AMTA's Great Lakes Regional Conference in Lake Geneva, Wis.

She has won several music therapy scholarships and is a leader in the American Music Therapy Association's student organization. She also has received funds from EMU's Undergraduate Research Stimulus Program.

"This scholarship is a highly competitive and prestigious award," McGuire said. "Foley's award continues our music therapy program's success of students receiving national, regional and local scholarships. Nine music therapy students have received awards in the last three years."

Music therapy is the use of music to work toward therapeutic goals, which can be social, emotional or motor in nature. For example, a therapist could compose a "hello" song for small children, with the goal for them to learn to properly meet and greet other people. They also work with clients who have mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's and other age-related problems, brain injuries, acute and chronic pain, and physical disabilities.

Eastern Michigan's music therapy program was established in 1976 and its music therapy center opened in January 2006.


Pamela Young

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