We Love Our Grads: Andrea Verano ’20, Marital and Family Therapy

“There are populations in our communities that deal with daily affronts simply because of who they are. I have dedicated myself to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding in hopes to be able to disseminate it and provide a voice for those too often marginalized.”

With graduation upon us, we spoke to some of CFA’s talented #LMU20 graduates as they gear up to leave LMU and take on the world. In our We Love Our Grads series, we asked a graduating student from each of our departments to share some words about their time here, as well as their plans for the future.

Andrea Verano ’20
Major: Marital and Family Therapy/Art Therapy (M.A.)
Next steps: L.A. County Department of Mental Health

How did you decide to pursue art therapy?

My reason for pursuing LMU’s art therapy program was to immerse myself in the study of creative meaning making with like-minded individuals. My bachelor’s degree in art history made me accustomed to researching the lives of artists and finding meaning in their artwork. These ideas lead me to work in museums and galleries where I was witness to the deep connections created in the space between artwork and viewer. I found in the Marriage and Family Therapy/Art therapy program a space that could foster these ideas and shape them into something bigger.

Tell us a little about your time at LMU!

During my two-year program in the Marriage and Family Therapy/Art Therapy department, I have grown immensely as a person and professional. In the Summer of 2019, I had the privilege of studying abroad in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, providing Spanish-language art therapy workshops to underserved communities. That same summer I was chosen to join the LMU Summer Arts Workshop (SAW) program as a mentor to middle school students from the Dolores Mission School in Boyle Heights. SAW is an annual week-long workshop where the students are invited to the LMU campus and provided with a space to explore creative expression with the support of art mentors.

In 2020, I was lucky to be one of the recipients of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Stipend, a highly competitive and sought-after acknowledgement in the field of community mental health. And I was so honored to have been chosen by my peers and faculty as the 2020 Helen B. Landgarten Program Scholar.

What are your post-graduation plans?

As a recipient of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Stipend, I have dedicated myself to providing mental health services to the most underserved and in-need populations in our communities. It is important for me to pursue a career where my bilingual capabilities can be used to reach marginalized populations.

I will continue expanding on my research topic of “exhibition as intervention” and its therapeutic possibilities within cultural institutions and community spaces. Ultimately, I plan to continue my academic career by focusing the topic of my future doctorate dissertation on the development of this concept and its influence on the field of art therapy.

Did you have a particular experience that led you to this path?

As a Mexican immigrant and DACA recipient, I have had to overcome many obstacles in my life to reach this point. I understand the value of receiving support in the face of so much adversity. There are populations in our communities that deal with daily affronts simply because of who they are. I have dedicated myself to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding in hopes to be able to disseminate it and provide a voice for those too often marginalized.