Meet a Lucerna Author: Karah Chappel

What is your Lucerna project about?

My study, “Exploration of the Referral Process of Social Work Within a Policing Structure,” looked at the referral process to and from social workers directly employed by the police department in a large midwestern city. The goal of the study was to understand why social workers’ service persons were not being referred to music therapy and make recommendations as to how music therapists could better serve these populations.

Why are you interested in this topic?

As a music therapy major, I have a specific interest in trauma care, especially related to the criminal justice system. Music therapy is an evidence-based field; I wanted to continue building the research base that would support my future work in this area.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

Working with the chosen police department was a huge benefit. I was able to meet and interact with many personnel, which gave me a true appreciation for the policing structure and opened my eyes to all the factors at play in their work environment. It was challenging to stop writing! Because of the qualitative phenomenological approach, I collected a massive amount of data, and every time I rearranged the subjects’ answers or looked at them from a new angle, I saw new possible connections.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

Go for it! When you are passionate about a project, no matter how niche the topic, it’s worth sharing with others. You don’t know who may read it and be interested. Plus, being published is a great way to start a career in many fields.

What are your professional plans or goals?

After graduation in May 2022, I will complete a six-month internship and then sit for the board certification exam to become a credentialed music therapist. I hope to stay in the Kansas City area and work in correctional facilities, nonprofits that serve offenders and victims of violent crimes, or a police department.

To hear Karah and other UMKC students talk about their remarkable research, attend the annual Lucerna Symposium, 5-6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 17, in Zoom. Click here to register.