University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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About Us
About Us

Meet Our Trojan Family

Carnie Lewis BS-MA ‘18

Carnie Lewis BS-MA ‘18

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: Perth, Australia

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I spent seven years living in Shanghai, and during that time I volunteered at an orphanage for children who are blind. I would interact with children who had been neglected or mistreated, and I saw how much their lives improved with activities that were adapted to their needs. I already knew about occupational therapy because my mother, a teacher, worked alongside occupational therapists in school and told me about the profession, but it was this experience at the orphanage that really drew me personally to the field.

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.
In May of 2015, as an undergraduate in the BS to MA program, I traveled to Guatemala to study culture, language, health and disease. I loved learning about the occupational therapy and healthcare services in Guatemala because it helped me understand how to apply OT to different cultures or communities. I learned so much from visiting clinics, discussing governmental and non-governmental resources, and talking to my host family about their occupations and personal experiences with health care. Because of this integrated and hands-on learning experience, I’d like to further study how to best implement OT services and policies into developing communities where therapeutic and preventative health care facilities are often neglected or absent.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Blueberries, dark chocolate, and avocados.

What do you think is the greatest invention of mankind?
The Internet! It’s made more research available to so many fields and has allowed the everyday person to have access to science that was once considered arcane.

Ali Vogelsang BS-MA ‘18

Ali Vogelsang BS-MA ‘18

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: Gold River, California

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I was brought to occupational therapy during the spring of my freshman year at USC. I signed up for an undergraduate elective course in occupational science and I could not believe that occupational therapy was an actual profession. It was as though somebody put a name to exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

What area of practice are you interested in?
I am open to any area of practice at this point, but I am most interested in working in a children’s hospital. I would love to be the person that allows a child to still be a child.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
My favorite occupation currently is running in new locations to explore LA. I recently took up golf so I can play with my parents since it is their all-time favorite occupation.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
If I could go anywhere in the world right now I would go to Thailand because I have never been anywhere like it and I can’t even imagine what it would be like. I would love to experience a culture so completely different!

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you pick?
I would pick JK Rowling because I love that she created her own world. She used writing as her outlet, creating characters, such as the Dementors in Harry Potter, to describe depression in a real yet personal way. I would love to hear her point of view and how writing became her coping mechanism to deal with her illness. I would also love to nerd out over all things Harry Potter related! Hufflepuffs for life.

Yiyang Fang (Sunny) BS-MA ‘20

Yiyang Fang (Sunny) BS-MA ‘20

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: Shanghai, China

What brought you to occupational therapy?
Two years ago, my American counselor showed me a video of an occupational therapist helping a child with a disability. Eager to help people in need, I was fascinated by this job and started to read various articles about OT. In the following year, to gain a deeper understanding of OT, I shadowed an occupational therapist in a health center in Cincinnati. This experience made me totally fall in love with Occupational Therapy and thus I decided to major in it during college.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.
I was born and raised in China and only visited the U.S. twice before entering USC.

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.
In the first week of school, I had a welcome dinner with all the OT freshmen and professors. As the only international student this year in this program, I received lots of help and kindness, which made the dinner memorable.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Lots of cookies and cheese cakes!

If you could have one superpower what would it be?
I wish I could fly super fast, so that I wouldn’t need to buy expensive plane tickets to go back home.

Angeline Hernandez, BS-MA ‘19

Angeline Hernandez, BS-MA ‘19

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: Walnut, CA

What brought you to occupational therapy?
My high school internship at a convalescent hospital first introduced me to occupational therapy, and helping others has always been such a big part of who I am. I was so lucky to be admitted to the program at USC!

What area of practice are you interested in?
I have always loved working with kids, so I am mainly interested in pediatrics.

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.
In OT 251, Professor Tessa Milman brought in a young girl with autism, along with her mom, to speak to our class about growing up with a developmental disorder. Not only was it such an interesting class period, but it also brought to light the important role of occupational therapy in a real-life setting!

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Pre-made Filipino food, courtesy of my mom. Frozen chicken/dumplings/meatballs. Sweet tea. Coffee ice cream! Bacon. The usual.

What are two truths and a lie about yourself?
I have a one-eyed dog, Poochie. I cook really good food. I love Disneyland.

(Lie: I am notorious amongst my family and friends for presenting failed dinner products at the table.)

Veerali Juthani, BS-MA ‘20

Veerali Juthani, BS-MA ‘20

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: San Jose, CA

What brought you to occupational therapy?
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to work with children. I began to look at different fields when my aunt introduced me to OT. I began to volunteer at a few clinics and I was hooked! The more I was exposed to the field, the more I fell in love with it. I loved the creativity and hands-on approach that was associated with OT and the unique holistic approach that was taken to help others live life to the fullest!

What area of practice are you interested in?
Pediatrics! I’ve loved working with children of all ages ever since I was little!

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
Martial arts, baking, dancing, making cards, and traveling the world!

If you could have one superpower what would it be?
I would love to control time. Sometimes it feels as if time goes by too quickly, so it would be neat to slow down time and really cherish particular memories!

What are two truths and a lie about yourself?
Hawaii is my favorite vacation spot. I have been a vegetarian since birth. I love dogs.

Psalm Chang, BS-MA ‘18

Psalm Chang, BS-MA ‘18

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: Edison, New Jersey

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I’ve been intrigued by the field ever since my aunt, an OT at a VA hospital, introduced it to me in middle school. It wasn’t until high school that I seriously considered becoming an OT. The fact that occupational therapy covers such a broad spectrum of areas, emphasizes getting to know patients holistically, and involves being creative all appeals to me.

What area of practice are you interested in?
I’m still undecided, but I’m interested in working with children with disabilities, or patients who are in need of OT in under-reached places (East Asia, in particular).

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
I love taking pictures, exploring new places, being with friends, and crafting!

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Baby carrots, hummus, and an assortment of waffles!

What are two truths and a lie about yourself?
I got third place in my fifth grade spelling bee. I have ridden a camel in Israel. I still don’t know how to swim.

(Lie: I actually learned how to swim recently!)

Shannon Westerberg, BS-MA ‘19

Shannon Westerberg, BS-MA ‘19

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: Sacramento, California

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I spent a lot of time volunteering for the Special Olympics program during high school. I absolutely fell in love with the program and knew that Occupational Therapy was the right path for me. I will always cherish my time spent there and the relationships I built with the athletes!

What area of practice are you interested in?

I haven’t yet narrowed down one specific area of practice that I would like to work in. The exciting thing about OT is that profession is extremely broad and there are so many options and opportunities! I am excited to see what the program has to offer and take it from there!

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
I love snowboarding, listening to music, watching football, dancing, playing soccer, traveling, hiking, and, of course, eating! 

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Avocados, blueberries, cookie dough, barbecue sauce, eggs, and hopefully some leftover pizza. 

What are two truths and a lie about yourself?
I have broken my arm, nose, and leg. I am allergic to oranges. I love sharks.

Kimberly Goldstein, BS-MA ‘17

Kimberly Goldstein, BS-MA ‘17

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: Ardsley, NY

What brought you to occupational therapy?
My ambition to help others!

What area of practice are you interested in?
I am interested in treating children with developmental disorders.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
I love baking, crafting, doing yoga, hiking, and reading.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Greek yogurt, quinoa, apples….and cookie dough

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? 
I would love to be able to fly, so traveling would be even easier and more thrilling.

Daniel Luo, BS-MA ‘17

Daniel Luo, BS-MA ‘17

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA

What brought you to occupational therapy?
Two summers ago, I was working a summer job in San Francisco when I had a little skateboarding accident that ended with my wrist shattered into several different pieces. I refused to let myself be bedridden and did my best to make the most of the rest of my summer. When I got my cast off, I was referred to occupational therapy and my superstar hand therapist at USC, Janice Rocker, enlightened me to this amazing profession and the program at USC. It didn’t take much convincing before I dropped all my classes and switched into OT courses, and when I made the trek up to Sacramento for the OTAC Conference that fall, I was sold.

What area of practice are you interested in?
I am most interested in working with athletes and musicians through hand therapy, but I am open to pretty much every one of the many specialties occupational therapy has to offer!

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
I love music and I love being outdoors. I play saxophone and piano and am a huge fan of jazz and the electronic music scene. You can also catch me rock climbing, backpacking, skating, and doing long-distance road cycling.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Kale, spinach, greek yogurt, peaches and a lot of ice cream. It all evens out, right?

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you pick?
Chris Sharma, one of the world’s best and strongest rock climbers. If you look up videos of him climbing on YouTube, you’ll be left thinking, “how is that physically possible?!”
OR I’d choose…
Sonny Moore, aka Skrillex. Not only is he an amazingly talented musician, but he also has an incredible work ethic that he manages to balance with his constant travels on tour to shows and festivals all around the world.

Talin Yacoubian, BS-MA ‘16

Talin Yacoubian, BS-MA ‘16

Bachelor's to Master's program

Hometown: Glendale, CA

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I was always interested in the medical profession and I knew that I wanted a job that would make a difference in people’s lives. I was mostly attracted to occupational therapy because of the holistic approach that is taken when working with clients.

What area of practice are you interested in?
I am interested in pediatrics and physical disabilities.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
I enjoy traveling, baking, and running.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
An intuitive aptitude! This would allow me to learn and understand complex systems without special education or training.

What are two truths and a lie about yourself?
I have a black belt. I have donated my hair twice. I have a cat.

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