A Life Filled with Possibilities
AMC Honors student Mikhala O’Donnell is a very directed individual. She has been this way most of her life. Growing up in Charlton, MA, Mikhala knew at a very young age that both music and education had to be a part of her life. Since high school, she knew that she wanted to study music therapy.
Thankfully, Mikhala was able to realize both her goals at Anna Maria College, which offers a double major in music education and music therapy. However, dual majors, particularly when they involve education and music programs, do not come without their challenges. “It is grueling work”, shares Mikhala. “I take 22 credit hours a semester, which is in addition to my required honors courses. It takes a lot of energy but I am determined to succeed.”
A Dean’s List student and a member of the honor society, Delta Epsilon Sigma, Mikhala takes her studies seriously. She currently spends sixty percent of her time taking music education courses and forty percent of her time focused on music therapy. She also sings alto in the chorus. “Being a member of the chorus has been fun,” she states. “I particularly enjoyed singing for the President’s Christmas gathering at the Tower Hill Botanical Garden in 2010.”
As part of her music education pre-practicum, Mikhala is working in the Shrewsbury school system. For her music therapy practicum, she has the opportunity to work with special education students at her former elementary school in Charlton. “What I love about music therapy is that it focuses on the client and not the ailment,” she explains. As a music therapy and music education student, Mikhala had to learn to play several instruments including the flute, the violin, the piano, and the guitar, which she claims, “I can finally play without my fingers hurting”.
Now in her junior year, Mikhala has no regrets about attending Anna Maria College. “AMC has done so much more for me than just offer the double major I was seeking. The faculty at the College work closely with students and care about our success,” she comments. “Your professors can really make an impact when they are able to get to know the whole person and understand each student’s individual stories and needs,” she adds.
For her study abroad requirement for the Honors Program, Mikhala is planning a trip to the Cayman Islands to work with students in a special summer camp initiative. In addition, on March 30, 2012, she will officially become the President of the New England Region of the American Music Therapy Association for students. “Dr. Summer has been a great help in connecting me with other music therapy professionals” she shares. “I feel as if I am already connected in the field.” Following graduation in 2013, Mikhala will marry her fiancé, who is in the Navy, and she cannot wait for her life to take her wherever it leads.