"I always knew that I wanted to continue my education, but I wasn’t sure exactly how or what field I wanted to enter. During my undergraduate work, I got involved with Arts in Medicine at UF. It was life changing. Dance has always been an interest, but it wasn’t until I began working with Arts in Medicine and used dance with new communities of people that I found my true passion.
The master’s program challenged me to employ critical thinking, real-world application, and problem-solving. The curriculum allowed me to deepen my work with Dance for Life, a class that I teach for people with Parkinson’s disease. Throughout the two years of the program, I applied the concepts we discussed in class to my work with dancers and improved my instructional approach.
The structure of the coursework is completely online, but the program itself is personal. Because the degree is offered virtually, it allowed me to work alongside many different artists from all over the country. I worried that since the program was online I would miss the face-to-face connections with my classmates and teachers. However, the program is designed to foster close connections with peers, and my classmates became friends and fellow artists.
The support from the faculty and students was incredibly rewarding, helping me expand my creative practices. I’ve always considered myself a dancer and a mover, but never a visual artist. With encouragement from the teachers and my peers throughout the program, I challenged myself to explore new mediums in art and learn new skills.
During my studies, my relationships with both the faculty and students were pivotal to my experience. The program helped me create unique friendships and mentorships with knowledgeable and world-renowned faculty members. Their support and guidance throughout the program were a huge boost to my success. My fellow classmates were an inspiration to me as well. They all brought a different voice into our discussions, allowing us to problem-solve, think critically, and build a new understanding about the world of Arts in Medicine. I feel fortunate to be a part of this group of individuals, and the friendships and partnerships I made through this program are ones I will have for the rest of my life."
Emily Pozek serves as the Dancer in Residence, UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine, and is an alumna of the UF Center for Arts in Medicine Masters Program.