40 under 40 - Betsy Arseneau Flores '06
Who influenced you when you were a student at Springfield College and explain the role they played in your life.
Both Simone Alter-Muri and Julie Soucey-Hurley were constant supporters and mentors as I navigated through coursework, internships, jobs, and social situations. I worked closely with Simone as a student in the classroom and also as her office assistant, learning and absorbing as much about the art therapy world as I could. Julie was one of many internship supervisors, but was more influential than most due to her deep wisdom, warm heart, and compassion to help those in need. To this day I remain in contact with both of them closely and am honored to be among them now not as a student, but a colleague.
How has having a Springfield College degree impacted you professionally?
Studying at Springfield College gave me the opportunity to thrive, to grow, to challenge myself, and to explore things in life that I never would have otherwise. Springfield College gave me the confidence and skill to continue on to graduate school at New York University, where I pursued a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy, and was blessed with even more life changing opportunities (like amazing internship placements and an opportunity to travel to Tanzania, Africa to volunteer in orphanages—there I introduced art and watched their faces glow with excitement at this foreign concept.)
While working at Baystate Children's Hospital, I have been encouraged to seek out opportunities and promote the integration of arts as an alternative healing modality alongside the medical team. Over the last nine years I’ve served as the chair of our Bereavement Committee, where we honor children that have died, and have served as a bereavement counselor.
This year I was also blessed with the chance to donate life-saving bone marrow for a patient in need of a transplant, spoken on behalf of our Child Life Department at Medical/Ethical/Compassionate Care Grand Rounds, started new programs within our hospital to impact direct patient care, and have been a spokesperson in the media for our department and the amazing work we get to do with children and families every day. Without my degree, I wouldn't be where I am today.
If you could share one piece of advice with today's current Springfield College student, what would it be?
Try something you’ve never done, study abroad, get involved with the community, and remember to spend time with those you love. It is the experiences, the connections, the friendships you will create at Springfield College that will stay with you for a lifetime. Remember the new people you’ll meet and don’t forget those who helped to shape your past—they may be instrumental in shaping your future.
Who do you want to thank personally for the role they have played in your success?
I’ve been blessed with two amazing parents who have always shared in my successes. They have always served as my sounding board, my cheerleaders, my #1 supporters, my voice of reason, and the two people who single handedly got me through my first semester of freshman year. Neither of them attended college but are brilliant, driven people who worked hard to give me and my brother everything they could in life, including a great education. I strive to be like them every day. Thank you, Mom and Dad. I promise to continue to make you proud, to raise my babies as you raised me, and to give back in every way that I can.