After serving seven years in the Coast Guard in California, Jennifer Roster was tired of “doing the uniform thing.” She came home to New Jersey, worked as a special effects makeup artist, and studied media and film at a community college. She discussed careers with one of her college instructors, who suggested that she consider art therapy and recommended The New School.
"When I learned more about the Creative Arts and Health certificate, I thought, 'I can earn a bachelor's degree while preparing for a career where I could use my creativity to help people.' It would be a win-win situation."
She transferred her community college credits to the Bachelor of Arts program and began working on her degree and certificate. Professors challenged her to take risks, she says, and to think about the many ways creativity can be expressed. According to Roster, "One of the best things about the Creative Arts and Health program is using exercises to practice therapy techniques in class."
As she learned to use art for healing, Roster saw its potential for connecting people, thanks to The New School's multidisciplinary approach to education. A course that included visits to New York City museums and galleries introduced her to curatorial practices. "Through this course, art became more than just self-expression. I saw how bringing together different works conveys social and political messages in ways that individual pieces cannot.... I was learning how art can be used to understand psychological conditions, and I came to realize how it can reflect societal ones as well."