MC grad combines artistic talents with science knowledge to help othersFebruary 29, 2024

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Anna Lien standing in the Allison Fine Arts Building McCormick Gallery.

Midland College graduate Anna Lien has found her true calling in life.  She is able to combine her knowledge of biology and chemistry, talent in fine arts and affinity for making personal connections with her passion to help children on the autism spectrum and adults suffering from the effects of stroke and dementia.  She is a certified MnemeTherapist—a relatively new method of brain stimulation used by the nationwide Art Without Borders Association. 

Lien has been a certified MnemeTherapist with the association for approximately two years, and her work is already changing lives, including her own.  Armed with an Associate of Science degree from Midland College (MC) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB), Lien first witnessed MnemeTherapy’s effects in her younger brother who has a rare brain malformation called Hemimegalencephaly.  

“When I did further research about MnemeTherapy, I related to the concept of offering a rewarding experience through painting,” she said.  “The idea of working with autistic children and people with dementia lit me up inside. I completed the self-paced certification process to become a certified MnemeTherapist for all ages in about nine months. I am totally amazed at everything I’ve learned and how helpful MnemeTherapy can be to those who are affected by brain disorders.”

Lien, who is the second youngest of six children in her family, has lived in Midland all her life.  She was homeschooled and then attended Midland College from 2016-2019.  At Midland College she was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honors Society serving as Vice President of Service.  While she excelled in her science classes, she also found time to enhance her talents in fine arts through art and music classes.  

“There are so many Midland College professors who greatly impacted my path, “she recalled.  “My music teacher Vivian Moss and Dr. Terry Gilmour, the PTK Advisor, were always patient and encouraging, and they cared deeply about my experiences while I was attending Midland College and stepping into adulthood.  I still rely on the confidence that they instilled in me as I lead worship at my church.

“I took Dagan Sherman’s printmaking classes over and over again because he cultivated such a great community in his classes, and he never stopped working with me, no matter where I was in my artistic skill levels.  The way that Dagan runs his classes creates both a safe place where people feel comfortable to express themselves without judgment and where people are also able to never stop growing their skills.  I use much of what I learned in his classes during my everyday life and in my MnemeTherapy practice, as well.

“Science professors Amelia Belizaire and Dr. Paul Mangum enhanced my enthusiasm for science.  While I mostly show my artistic side to the world, I have a deeply rooted love for the sciences, and brain research is an integral part of my MnemeTherapy practice.”  

Lien said that MnemeTherapy is not to be confused with art therapy, which deals with expression of feelings and emotional healing, MnemeTherapy combines singing, movement, painting and storytelling to stimulate the brain, using the arts in an instructional way.

“It's an enjoyable, multi-modality process that engages the whole brain and stimulates its natural ability to rebuild lost or undeveloped functions,” she explained.  “I use a unique combination of singing, movement, painting, story-telling and praise. In one-on-one sessions my goal is to help individuals feel good about themselves and what they are able to do to improve their ability to communicate with others. 

“I absolutely love this work and definitely feel it is my calling.  It is just as rewarding for me as it is for my clients. I am so proud and happy when they are finished, and they and their families can see the results.”

Lien further explained that while the goal of a MnemeTherapy session is to provide a rewarding experience, documented testimonies, as well as her own experiences, show significant improvement in some clients after just one session. Improvements have been seen in verbal skills, mobility and muscle issues, visual and spatial acuity, understanding language, both short-term and long-term memory, connecting socially with others, improved self-esteem and a decrease in combativeness.

In addition to her own MnemeTherapy practice, Lien has several other self-run businesses in which she uses her talents.  She is a professional face painter, and she also regularly paints windows for Bynum School.  Her art mural work can be seen on both the outside and inside walls of the office building at the Bush Family Home on Ohio Street in Midland. 

“The outside mural was a PTK service project when I was at Midland College,” she said.  “Then they later hired me to paint the walls on the inside.”

She volunteers her musical talents by leading worship at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Odessa, and she has sung the National Anthem for various events including Permian Basin Law Enforcement Academy graduations and Midland College’s 2019 commencement ceremony when she was a graduate.

After graduating from MC in 2019 and then UTPB in 2021, Lien spent a month on the African continent in Kisumu, Kenya volunteering with a children’s ministry.  She painted murals and led children in art and music.

Lien’s future goals include obtaining additional MnemeTherapy certification as a Master MnemeTherapist. While she has mainly worked with children, she is expanding her practice to include older adults.

“I helped care for my grandmother who was a stroke victim before she passed away in January of 2021,” Lien said.  “Being with her during that time gave me a first-hand experience witnessing the effects of stroke.  It was truly a blessing to be able to be with her during her final days.  I found that what my grandmother really wanted was for me to look her in the eyes and show that I cared for her.  Through MnemeTherapy, I am able to do that for people of all ages and help them become more vibrant individuals.  It is so rewarding to see the faces of those without hope light up with joy when they sing and create.”

Office of Marketing Communications & Public Relations

Pevehouse Administration Building, Room 160
Midland College, 3600 N. Garfield
Midland, Texas 79705


Midland College has many programs and options for our students. If you are investigating the opportunities we offer, our Welcome Center is the perfect place to receive general information.