HERRON: How did you get involved with the Herron Art Therapy Club? How have the arts helped you develop your own strengths and confidence, or in what ways have you specifically used your artistic practice to heal?

FEARNOW: I took the "Introduction to Art Therapy" course (HER-T 200), and the professor suggested trying the club since I was interested in that career path. I love being connected to the student community, and it helps answer a lot of my questions about the art therapy graduate program.

I use painting and creating pieces to work through stress and allow myself time to work on feelings I have difficulty processing. I have never been so honest with my mental illness or how it affects my day-to-day life as I have been when creating and writing the artist's statements to accompany my pieces. It allows me to be vulnerable and brave and gives insight into deeper connections I would struggle to see just talking about them. When we build something from our heart, there's a more profound truth in our hands.

HERRON: Will you continue your education with a master's degree in art therapy once you graduate?

FEARNOW: Yes, I would love to continue my education with a master's degree in art therapy if I can get into a graduate program. I am doing everything I can to make myself prepared for that possibility.

HERRON: Beyond Herron, you've held various leadership positions with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in Indianapolis since 2012. What do you enjoy most about volunteering with this organization?

FEARNOW: I got into BSA scouting because my son wanted to be in the scouts, and I wanted to be involved with his interests. They needed parents to help, and it just seemed a natural fit. Scouting was a great way to get active and learn. It's a great community involvement opportunity, and I am happy to be an example of the scout law and motto at Herron, too.

It's important to me to uphold the tenets of scouting because they are a good way of living in our world. I have enjoyed the outdoor adventures and was surprised at how physically demanding it was as an older parent with health issues. I'm amazed I could make it happen, but I love it. Working with the other adult leaders to help the youth find their strengths and be inspired to lead themselves is so awesome.

HERRON: What has been one of your most Herron memorable moments?

FEARNOW: Being honored at the Top 100 awards event is definitely one of my favorites, but I also have to say I learned so much just by spending time at school each day with my fellow students working on our projects. There is such diversity and inspiration there! I love getting to know all the other students and seeing how they tackle problems and work together.

HERRON: What does being a Top 100 student mean to you?

FEARNOW: It means I have truly made a significant contribution to my future and can achieve anything with determination and hard work. I hope my experience is motivational to any person who may be considering going back to school no matter their age and life situation. It's always possible to make that leap and succeed.

HERRON: What advice would you give nontraditional college students who are returning to school?

FEARNOW: You can do it! Find your passion and take the time to figure out how to make it work because it's never too late, and you can come back from any circumstances. I came back on academic probation 20 years later and have made it this far. There are so many people here at IUPUI and Herron that want to help see you succeed. You just need to ask, and they can help point you in the right direction.

HERRON: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

FEARNOW: I honestly don't know that I could have made this all work without the support of my family and my Herron family. They are both so important to me, and I am so grateful to them.

To see more of Jessy Fearnow's work, follow her on Instagram.