Christine Gallagher Receives Presser Award
Immaculata University has presented the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award to Christine Gallagher, a senior music therapy major. Chosen by University President Sister R. Patricia Fadden, IHM, Ed.D., and Music Department Chair Donna Bohn, Ph.D., Gallagher will receive a $4,800 scholarship in recognition of her musical expertise, her leadership in music and music therapy organizations, and her outstanding work with her clients.
This prestigious scholarship is given by the Presser Foundation. One of the few foundations in the United States dedicated solely to the support of music and music education, the Presser Foundation was established in 1916 by Theodore Presser, founder of a music publishing company. Undergraduate schools of music at accredited colleges, universities and independent institutions of higher education are invited to apply for the opportunity to present the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award to an outstanding music major whom they select.
Gallagher has a wealth of experience working in the U.S. and abroad as a music therapist with children and adults. Last spring, she completed her clinical experience at MusicWorks in Havertown, Pa., working with children from ages 6 to 22 diagnosed with developmental disorders, such as autism, ADHD, and Down´s syndrome. This semester, Gallagher is helping to facilitate large group music therapy sessions at the Evergreen Day Program, a therapeutic treatment program for people with Alzheimer´s disease or dementia, affiliated with Christiana Care Health System.
In addition to these clinical experiences, Gallagher has taken two trips to Jamaica with the Jamaican Field Service Project. Working under the supervision of board-certified therapists and professionals, she led group sessions in special education schools, hospitals, and homeless shelters, working with developmentally disabled children, children with hearing loss, homeless adults with psychiatric disorders, and the elderly in hospice.
"Because of these trips," says Gallagher, "I became fascinated with a theoretic practice called culture-centered music therapy." This approach focuses on social and cultural issues as music therapists address the needs of clients. Gallagher aspires to continue using her skills in the context of other cultures. "Eventually, I would like to start my own non-profit organization or project in a different country to help individuals feel comfortable in their own community, working towards social justice and peace," she says.
During her time at Immaculata, Gallagher says she has become "a leader, friend, traveler, musician, and scholar." Through her leadership role as president of the Music Therapy Club, through serving as the vice president and the accompanist for the Immaculata Gospel Choir, and through participating in the American Music Therapy Association as Immaculata´s chapter representative and as the sub-region representative, she has developed her skills and prepared for her music therapy career. She is proficient in piano, harp, the Native American flute, and the djembe, and she is currently learning guitar.
Gallagher is also involved in the Musicianship and Leadership Program with Music for People, a non-profit organization that promotes a humanistic way of teaching music. This four-year program is training Gallagher to facilitate improvisational music groups within the community. "It has already helped me grow as a musician and encourages me to become a successful leader and improviser. In addition to improving my skills, this program has helped me find the beauty and healing powers [of] music.
"I am honored to be a recipient of the Presser Scholarship Award," Gallagher comments. "Music makes my spirit and soul whole, and with this gift I feel blessed to share it with as many people as I can, helping them reach their maximum level of well-being through the power of music therapy."