Bessie received her Bachelor’s of Music in Music Therapy from Willamette University in 1996. During her schooling she worked with a variety of clientele including children with hearing impairments, high school special day classes, skilled nursing, psychiatric facilities, and children’s units in hospitals. She completed her internship at Welborn Hospital, Mulberry Center in Evansville, Indiana, a short-term psychiatric unit for children and adolescents. After completing her internship, Bessie spent two and a half years as a Music Therapist at Southside Arts Center in Sacramento, California, an adult day program for adults with developmental disabilities. She, then, spent time working at the Veterans Home in Yountville, California in the short-term acute hospital and skilled nursing units.
In May of 2000, Bessie began a private practice by becoming a vendor through ALTA California Regional Center. As her work continued, she was able to develop contracts with school districts in the Sacramento area. She spent two years working independently before expanding her practice to develop Music To Grow On and increase the number of therapists servicing children with special needs in the Sacramento region. As the business has expanded, the diversity of populations grew to cover all ages and capacities.
In April 2006, Bessie was approved to hold a National Roster Internship site at Music To Grow On through the American Music Therapy Association. She is the Internship Director and supervises two interns. She also provides in-services to various groups including Speech Therapists, preschool teachers, and parent support groups about the benefits of Music Therapy.
In 2007, she completed advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy through the Robert F. Unkefer Academy for Neurologic Music Therapy, earning the title of Neurologic Music Therapist (NMT).
In 2010, she and Amy Murakami co-founded BRIGHT Children International, a non-profit to take services internationally to Bring Resources to Inspire Growth, Healing, and Transformation where she holds the title of President.