The Drama Therapy student body comes from a variety of backgrounds including theatre, film, television, psychology, social sciences, and education. Additionally, many different countries, languages, ethnicities, and ages are represented. Through the internship process, students are required to work with two different populations, which help them to expand their knowledge base of facilitating healing among diverse individuals. As our field is still a burgeoning one, each student makes a commitment to becoming a pioneer to its development.
Selected Student Bios
Marianne Franzese Chasen
Marianne Franzese Chasen presently directs Kid Esteem Inc., a nonprofit organization she co-founded with her husband that uses drama and the creative arts to empower social and emotional learning for children families, schools and communities. Marianne's first book, The Sacred Weave of Mothering: Reflections from the depths of the soul to the heights of the laundry pile (2002, Aslan Publishing), continues to inspire mothers, parents and grandparents around the country. Marianne appears locally on News 12 and was heard across the country on syndicated radio stations offering counsel and reassurance for parents on how to talk to their children in the wake of the attacks on 9/11. She is the proud mom of four children.
Aunree J. Houston
B.A. Communications and Theatre
Type of Student: Part Time
Aunree J. Houston is a part time student in the Drama Therapy program and a Marketing Operations Manager for Programming Sales at HBO. He has experience as a Playwright, Theatre Director, Creative Director and Acting Coach. He decided to apply to the Drama Therapy program because of his interest in the infusion of Psychology with Drama and Role Theory as a tool for self-exploration and mental healing. Aunree is looking to use Drama Therapy as the foundation for his career as a life/professional coach. Aunree's main focus is to assist high functioning individuals to:
- Find life balance through role exploration
- Find inspiration for achievement through supportive roles
- Explore and Embrace personal roles that motivate, block progression and provide strength, guidance and power to move forward.
- African American Families and Communities
- Gay Teenagers and Adults (*Black Men)
- Corporate Work Environments and Employees
- Mental Wellness
Sinethemba (Sne) Makanya
B.A.- Drama and Performance Studies and Psychology,
BA (Hons)- Drama and Performance Studies, Cum-Laude
Type of Student: Full Time
Sinethemba (Sne) is from beautiful, colorful, sunny South Africa. She discovered her passion for the theatre in her second year of study and changed her degree from a BA in Psychology and Philosophy to one in Drama and Performance Studies and Psychology. Her Honor's thesis focused on the parallels between The Sangoma (a South African Shaman) and the performer, this parallel then prompted her to pursue study in Drama Therapy in an effort to understand the relationship between theatre and healing in both the physical and spiritual realms. She completed her Honour's degree in 2008. The following year she was involved in work with AREPP: Theatre for Life and Ithembalethu Community Centre using theatre and puppetry to educate primary school kids about issues surrounding health and the environment. She has been involved in a number of productions, the highlights of which include working with Indiana University in a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest and participating in South Africa's annual Grahamstown Arts Festival, amongst many others. Sne hopes to use both her theatre background and Drama Therapy experience to run various workshops in South Africa in an effort to introduce Drama Therapy to the everyday South African, as an alternative to the widely available but rarely used verbal therapies. She hopes to help introduce study of Drama Therapy in South Africa as a way to use Western healing practices alongside traditional healing practices in various communities.
- Orphans: Children and Adolescents
- Women in the Sex Trade Industry
- Victims and Perpetrators of Domestic and Sexual violence
- Senior Citizens
- Comparing and Contrasting Traditional Healers and Rites to Drama Therapy.
Lizzie McAdam, M.S. Education
M.S.Ed.- Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification
Type of Student: Full Time
Lizzie first discovered drama therapy while working in an adult day habilitation program in her hometown of Rochester, N.Y. As part of her undergraduate thesis work at Oberlin College, she designed and taught a theater class in social skills to high school students with cognitive and emotional disabilities. Inspired by this work, she moved to New York after graduating and began teaching special education in the public schools of Brooklyn, as well as working as an actor. She is a founding member of 4th Meal Productions, which produced several benefits and productions in NYC including From the Inside, Out , which appeared in the NYC Fringe Festival in 2008. She graduated from Bank Street College in 2009, where she designed a curriculum that teaches leadership skills to students with emotional and behavioral disturbance. After teaching for four years, she realized that she wanted to do more work integrating theater and therapy. This, in turn, led her to NYU's Drama Therapy program, where she couldn't be happier.
- At-risk Adolescents
- LGBTQ Youth
- Developing anti-bullying, emotional awareness and leadership skills curricula using Drama Therapy
- Multicultural awareness and community building
Amber N. Smith, M.Ed.
B.A.- Theatre Arts, (cum laude)
M.Ed.- Educational Administration: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, (cum laude)
Type of Student: Full Time
Amber is from the Mile High city of Denver, Colorado. Due to her passion for both theatre and people, she went to school to study theatre and education. Upon graduation from undergraduate school, Amber became a teacher and noticed a great divide in education. It is because of this experience that Amber wanted to design a way in which to level the educational playing field. She continued on and received a Master's Degree in Educational Administration in the hopes of making even more change. Amber's Master's Thesis focused on integrating theme based arts education into traditional school curriculum with High School populations. Realizing that the playing field can only be leveled if the education provided is equal, Amber has decided to create and open an all-girl's boarding school for young women in the foster care system. This passion to help foster care girls is what lead her to the Drama Therapy Program at NYU. The ability to assist a population that is known to experience various types of trauma was the catalyst to Amber's passion, and drive to create her school. Her background in theatre, education along with Drama Therapy will provide a unique experience for the young ladies and give them the chance to dream big and work towards their goals.
- At-risk teen girls
- African-American families
- African American cultural dynamics
- Children in the foster care system
- Drama Therapy and positive emotional growth and change
Dana George Trottier
B.A.- Psychology and English Literature with Honors (Cum Laude),
Type of Student: Full Time
Cognitive Dissonance Reduction Through Internal Justification In The Absence Of An External Motivation, which won the Award of Excellence at the Eastern Colleges Science Conference. His theatre expertise lies in directing and creative Improv. While in New Hampshire, Dana directed children's theatre for Kids Coop Theatre. Dana comes to the NYU Drama Therapy program with the motivation to use social research to quantify the clinical work of Drama Therapy by submerging himself into theory and practice. Dana currently manages a children's enrichment center on the Upper West Side.
- Drama Therapy
- Tarot as a therapy tool and projective technique
- Cognitive Dissonance
- Relational aggression
- Gender identity and sexuality
- Role theory and fairy tales