Among close to 7,000 students graduating from IUPUI on May 14 is Kaitlin Knapp, a master’s candidate in Herron’s art therapy program who was recently named to IUPUI’s Elite 50.
Kaitlin’s interest in the healing potential of art is “both abrupt and powerful.”
In 2013, she spent the summer at Camp Red Leaf in Ingleside, Illinois working with children and adults with disabilities. This experience led to switching her undergraduate studies at Hanover College to studio art with an emphasis in psychology. She completed her degree two years later and immediately applied to Herron’s art therapy program.
During her time at Herron, Knapp has proven herself to be a committed student and a strong leader with over 600 hours of direct-care clinical support at St. Vincent Health. She is completing her master’s thesis as a graduate research assistant on a clinical study with IU School of Medicine exploring neuroscience and art.
We spoke with Knapp about her reaction to the Elite 50 recognition, what’s next after graduation, and her advice for current Herron students.
Can you tell us a little about the work you’ve done that led to this award?
For the past two-years I’ve interned at St. Vincent Health, working with patients, caregivers, and staff individually and in groups in both in- and out-patient settings. In transition from my first-year internship to my second-year placement, our goal was to better integrate art therapy into the medical setting and expand our service network. Currently, I service patients from the Cancer Care and Supportive Care departments, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, and Women’s High Risk.
In terms of research, I’ve collaborated with Herron’s Director of Art Therapy Juliet King; fellow art therapy student Alex Shaikh; neurophysiologist Leisha Osburn; IU Health Neuroscience Center’s Dr. Robert Pascuzzi and Dr. Dragos Sabau; and IUPUI statistician Dr. Fang Li on an EEG protocol titled “Cortical Activity Patterns in Art Making vs. Fine Motor Movement as Measured by EEG.” I’ve also participated in an ALS protocol.
What does being among the IUPUI Elite 50 mean to you?
For me, receiving the honor of being named Herron’s Best in School means that art’s inherently healing qualities are being shared with the community. I hope to continue advocating the efficacy of art therapy in both research and practice in order to benefit my individual patients and the well-being of the community at large. The opportunities that qualified me for this honor would not have been possible without the leadership and guidance of Juliet King, my supervisor Joani Rothenberg, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Art Therapy Eileen Misluk.