Osiris Ordaz ’18
Counseling and art therapy graduate student, Adler University, Chicago
Osiris Ordaz

Combining passions

Osiris returned to her Windy City hometown after graduating from Northwestern, where she majored in both psychology and art. Through the guidance of her professors, she discovered that each of her major fields reflect the Creator and tell stories about his creation—and that blending them could lead to an interesting, interdisciplinary career.


What has your graduate school experience been like?

I am currently a graduate student in counseling: art therapy. This is a dual program that focuses on integrating counseling into both clinical and art therapy settings. I searched for a program that offers the licensing I need to practice in a field broader than just art therapy, and Adler was a good fit for me. The counseling: art therapy program at Adler is intense because we utilize the summer semesters to complete three years of coursework in two years. In addition to the required classes and a 200-hour internship at a nonprofit, the first year also included workshops and professional development courses that focus on becoming socially responsible individuals. The second year involves work at a practicum site related to my field to gain experience and supervised hours needed for licensing. I am also the treasurer for my campus’ Hispanic Latinx Student Committee as well as a member of my university’s Psi Chi chapter.

How well did Northwestern prepare you for graduate school?

Academically, I feel beyond prepared for my role as a student at Adler. I was fortunate to be immersed in academia at Northwestern, learning valuable content that other undergraduate programs don’t offer. Being able to present my own research at an Association for Psychological Science conference as an undergraduate has been tremendously valuable to me. As an artist, I was taught to connect myself to my artwork and be vulnerable with what I create. Northwestern’s community not only helped me grow academically, but also prepared me for life after college. Because of the people I was surrounded by and the conversations I had on campus, I am able to speak confidently to others about topics that are difficult, but necessary, to discuss.

How was your faith impacted while you were at Northwestern?

I grew spiritually through listening to chapel speakers with different viewpoints than me, the integration of faith and psychology in my classes, and seeing my artwork as a form of worship. There were times, particularly in Dr. Edman’s Faith and Psychology class, where it seemed that every question led to more questions that seemingly had no answers. At the end of the course, however, I was able to answer the questions I came to Northwestern to find answers for, like: “How does psychology and my faith work together? Can they?”

Describe the transition from Northwestern to Adler—and back to Chicago.

It has been great to be back home and experience Chicago as an adult. It really is a city that you can explore your whole life and probably never finish exploring. Being able to go to a university focused on justice has helped me connect more thoughtfully to the social issues in my community. Connecting to like-minded people at Adler who are passionate about humanity and restorative justice has been an amazing experience so far. I am thankful the path I took to Northwestern has led me here—that I’m able to bring what Northwestern taught me to Adler and use it to continue the work I’m called to do.


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