Eztrella “Ez” Armijo
After 10 years working in IT in higher education, Eztrella Armijo chose to combine two of their academic interests, art and psychology, and return to school as an art therapy student.
Eztrella “Ez” Armijo, Art Therapy ’23, didn’t go straight to graduate school after earning their bachelor’s degree. Instead, they stumbled onto a career in information technology in higher education.
“I think my logic was that working in higher education would satisfy my craving for furthering my education, by being technology support staff … but after 10 years it became clear to me that the only way to quench my thirst for more learning was to go back to school as a student.”
Armijo chose to combine two of their academic interests, art and psychology, when they decided to enroll in the art therapy program offered at Lewis & Clark.
“I was impressed by the information I found about the program, the work of Professor Mary Andrus, and the program’s evolution from Marylhurst University to Lewis & Clark. Plus, L&C’s campus is utterly stunning, nestled in the forest near Tryon Creek State Park in the beautiful Northwest.”
Armijo was inspired by the collective social justice mission of faculty, students, and the program itself.
“The curriculum includes self-reflection, self-exploration, self-care, and learning more about marginalization and privilege, while also providing guidance on cross-cultural and multicultural counseling and considerations.”
Crediting the curriculum, Armijo says it helped them understand themselves better by not only embracing their mixed heritage but also inspiring them to work with others who also have marginalized identities.
Currently, Armijo is a participant in the Art for Social Change Committee, which is composed of faculty, staff, students, and alumni from L&C’s undergraduate, graduate, and law schools. This committee makes space for exploring and processing social justice issues and works on art projects to bring attention to, honor, or help provide healing for the community. They also facilitate the Art for Social Change open studio. Both of these opportunities have been memorable experiences for Armijo.
“One cool project I’ve worked on through Art for Social Change is the pandemic quilt. We distributed supplies to all of the art therapy students and other folks who wanted to participate, and we all made quilt squares that reflect our experiences of the pandemic. We are still working on squares and stitching the quilt together through an ongoing monthly community sewing circle.”
Armijo is currently in the final year of their program. When considering what has gotten them this far, they said: “Keep your eyes on the prize. Stay the course. Push past any fear you have, so many great things lie beyond the comfort zone.”
They did their research, “followed their heart” to manifest their dreams, and chose what direction to take in their educational endeavors.
“Choosing to get into this program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It’s amazing to know what it feels like to be on the right track or path. I can feel the resonance of alignment in my very soul.”