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

Joanne Noonan MA ‘17

Joanne Noonan MA ‘17

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: Co. Cork, Ireland

What brought you to occupational therapy?
Honestly, a whole lot of trial and error! From elementary school teaching in Ireland to working in the tech start up industry in San Francisco and everything in-between, I searched for a long time to find my path. When I discovered occupational therapy (thanks to my husband!) I knew it was the perfect blend of all my interests- science, healthcare, creativity, problem-solving and working directly with people and their families to make a difference in their lives. OT is not just a career, but a true passion.

You have a sister studying OT in Ireland — how do the programs differ?
Yes — my sister, Lorraine, has just finished up her MOT program in Ireland. The program here at USC offers elective courses in the final year, which isn’t a feature in my sister’s program. Her program requires her to complete a two-year-long research project, however getting involved in current research is extracurricular at USC.

What did you love most about where you grew up in Ireland?
I grew up on a small dairy farm in rural Ireland, about a one-hour drive into the countryside from Cork city. What I loved most was playing outside with my brothers, sister, cousins and neighbors — racing through the fields, climbing trees, cycling, playing in the river, soccer and just creating our own fun! When I visit home, I love to be near the farm and outside in the fresh, clean air.     

What are your favorite Irish foods? Do your parents cook? If so, what do they cook that you miss most?
I love (and miss) traditional Irish breakfasts! There is really nothing like it here in the U.S. My mother was the cook in our home, and still makes the best bacon and cabbage. My nana used to bake fresh scones and brown soda bread every week. Barry’s Irish tea is still a must have — even in California. My mom stuffs my suitcases with inordinate amounts of teabags whenever I visit. So if anyone reading this wants to chat over tea, let me know, I have at least a year’s supply and I keep some in my backpack at all times!

Do you have a favorite Irish saying?
“Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.” It means “Under the shelter of each other, people survive” and really speaks to the importance of family and a community.

If someone visits Ireland, what are the three places on the “must-see” list?
The Ring of Kerry for great pubs and live music, the Cliffs of Moher for the scenery and the Guinness Factory in Dublin for a good pint!

Sarina Tetley ‘17

Sarina Tetley ‘17

Minor in Occupational Science program

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Dove Canyon, CA

What brought you to USC?
The Occupational Therapy program was truly the deciding factor that brought me to USC. I was looking for a field that incorporated my interests in Clinical Psychology and Physical Rehabilitation while providing care from a holistic view. I took my first tour of the Master’s Program in OT at USC when I was a senior in high school, and from that point on, I knew I wanted to be an Occupational Therapist and that USC would provide me with an education that would help me achieve my career and life goal of becoming an Occupational Therapist. The tremendous support of the Trojan Family, the opportunities that are available to Undergraduate students at USC, and the overall passion for higher education and success from the supportive faculty and staff were just some of the additional reasons that I chose USC.

What made you decide to pursue the occupational science minor?
I decided to pursue a minor in Occupational Science in order to explore my passion for Occupational Therapy and learn as much as I can about the field before pursing my graduate education in OT. The Occupational Science minor is a special opportunity that I would have not been able to pursue if I had decided to attend another university. The OS minor allows students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in an alternative field with the opportunity to learn about Occupational Therapy and how we can utilize our knowledge from diverse fields and bring that knowledge into practice, as a future Occupational Therapists.

Describe your favorite occupational science minor course.
My favorite Occupational Science minor course is OT 360, Creating the Self through Narrative: Acts of Life Story Production, with Dr. Kate Crowley. This course truly opened my eyes to the bountiful opportunities that are available not only to us as Occupational Therapists, but also to the diverse populations that we serve. After learning about Dr. Mattingly’s work in Narrative Medicine, and encouragement from Dr. Crowley, I found a new passion within the field of Occupational Therapy. I currently work alongside Dr. Rogers in providing Occupational Therapy to Active Duty Marines and Veterans of all branches and I love hearing their stories, but I also love learning about their future goals and helping them achieve those goals through Occupational Therapy. Through OT 360 I learned that each person has a unique story which is being written every day. As a future Occupational Therapist, I hope to provide my patients with the opportunity and ability to achieve their goals and live out the future Narrative that they have imagined for themselves.

Tell us about your favorite memory at USC so far.
So far, my favorite memory at USC has been the USC Adventure L.E.A.D. program’s high ropes course at Fulcrum Adventures. This course was extremely difficult mentally, emotionally and physically. I have a fear of heights and this course tested that fear in every challenge. The one challenge, or opportunity as I like to say, that was the most daunting was appropriately named the “Leap of Faith”. This challenge required one to climb up a 40ft pole, carefully get up on top of a small platform, stabilize the shaking pole, and finally gain the courage to stand up and jump off to grab a golden ring that was suspended mid-air. This opportunity pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it also provided me with the opportunity to grow as a person. I learned that fear is imaginary and danger is real. I also learned that I am in control of my fear and that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to as long as I commit to it, no matter how intimidating it may be. 

How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who was always willing to help people. I want to be remembered as someone who never gave up and always stayed positive despite life’s hurdles. I want to be remembered as someone who put her faith and family before herself, and as someone who sought to make the world a better place one person at a time.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
If I could travel anywhere I would go to two countries in a heartbeat, with my camera in tow. The first would be Ecuador. My grandma moved to the U.S. from Ecuador at a young age and I would love to go to Ecuador with her and “travel back in time” as we explore the places she often frequented. The second country I would travel to would be Norway. I would love to hike in the fjords and take the mail boat around the coastline to explore the small coastal towns and truly integrate myself into Norwegian culture and get to know the local people. Traveling is so powerful because it connects to the international community and teaches us to be citizens of the world.

William Kim MA II ‘17

William Kim MA II ‘17

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: Cerritos, CA

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I came to occupational therapy school to learn how to facilitate healing in a holistic manner.  I was attracted to the client centered nature of occupational therapy. 

What area of practice are you interested in?
I am interested in adult rehabilitation as well as lifestyle redesign. 

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
Two of my favorite occupations include singing and yoga. 

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
If you opened my fridge, you would see avocados and eggs! 

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you pick?
Ghandi

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.

Kevin Casey MA II ‘18

Kevin Casey MA II ‘18

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

What brought you to occupational therapy?
Since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed working with and learning from children who have disabilities. However, I wasn’t introduced to the field of occupational therapy until the summer after my sophomore year of college, when I volunteered at Bay Cliff Health Camp, a 7-week-long overnight therapy camp for children and teens. The experience was amazing (I’ve returned a few more summers) and the idea of becoming an OT has stuck with me ever since.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy?
Following my graduation from the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!) with a B.A. in Political Science, I knew that I wanted to engage in service and work with children. This led me to St. Petersburg, Florida, where I taught 4th grade for two incredible years through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) teaching service program, while also earning my M.Ed. from Notre Dame. Following my teaching experience, I spent a “gap year” in St. Louis to complete OT applications and prerequisites, which gave me the opportunity to work at a respite care weekend camp for individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as travel the U.S. to visit friends.

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.
So this isn’t really a specific memory, but hopefully it still counts at an acceptable answer! I’ve loved living in the OT House, and most of my favorite memories of the program thus far involve building friendships with the other students living there too. While some of these memories include more organized events, such as trying dim sum for the first time, attending the OT Decades Party, celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, or having a pumpkin-carving party for Halloween, many more include more low-key, impromptu times… Good conversations on the bus rides to and from school, eating dinner and studying together, game nights, or walking to the local market to get a late-night treat.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Milk, pineapple, apple butter (have to represent the Midwest!), an open container of ice cream (if you’re quick enough to catch it before it’s gone…), and lots of healthy produce that make me look at lot healthier than I am (it’s the thought that counts, right?). 

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
Does this include time travel? I’d love to visit all of the national parks before people discovered them, when they were completely untouched and pristine… However, traveling to 1890s St. Louis or 1920s New York City would be pretty neat, too!

Crystil Quiroz ‘18

Crystil Quiroz ‘18

Minor in Occupational Science program

Major: Business Administration and Accounting Double Major

Hometown: San Diego

What brought you to USC?
The love of the Trojan Family!

What made you decide to pursue the occupational science minor?
I first heard about the Occupational Science minor at the USC Involvement Fair my freshman year when I stopped by the OT table.  I had no idea what Occupational Science was, but the idea of “meaningful activities” and “living a well-balanced life” sounded beneficial to me. I figured it would help give me another holistic approach and perspective to living life. 

How do you feel your OS minor has/will help you with your future schooling and/or career?
It has been my experience that a lot of the companies I have interviewed with are very intrigued when I tell them I am an Occupational Science minor.  While on the surface Business and Occupational Science may not be related, applying the ideals and tools learned from my minor to my major has given me a unique perspective that set me apart from others.  Through the minor, I have learned about creativity, time management, and interpersonal relationships, all of which companies value very much in their employees.  Furthermore, the minor has personally given me the tools and knowledge to reduce stress and live a healthier, well-balanced life.

What do you think is the greatest invention of mankind?
Computers - as an aspiring accountant, computers and the different types of programs created because of computers has revolutionized the profession.  It truly was a creative invention.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
Paris! I love art and dream of seeing the Louvre and other historical sites.

Deborah Metz MA II ‘18

Deborah Metz MA II ‘18

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I have always been drawn to helping professions wanted to work with people. My first “real” experience in OT was volunteering at a summer camp for Kids with Hemiplegia using CIMT. I had a blast working with the children and felt like I was really making a difference. The children’s enthusiasm and the improvements they made in just 10 days truly inspired me and fostered my passion for OT.

What area of practice are you interested in?
I am interested in going into pediatrics. Specifically working in sensory integration, early intervention, and developmental disorders.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.
I was born and raised North Carolina and graduated from North Carolina State University with a BA in Psychology and minors in international studies and French. After graduation I spent 7 months in South Africa shadowing occupational therapists and working with underprivileged children. It was the most rewarding experience and I loved every second of it.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
If you were to open my fridge, you would find at least 5 different types of cheese (cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, goat cheese, and sheep’s milk cheese!) Back home my family eats a lot of cheese and I love it!

How do you want to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered for making a difference in people’s lives; for helping others discover their strengths and live their lives to the fullest.

Joseph Ryan MA II ‘18

Joseph Ryan MA II ‘18

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: I was born in Irvine but grew up in Arcadia, CA

What brought you to occupational therapy?
When I graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a BA in speech therapy, I did not want to pursue that path. I started to look into other options. Occupational therapy came up as a similar career, and I became interested in its potential to impact people in a fundamental way. The close friend of a family friend was finishing up her program at CSU Dominguez Hills, and she was kind enough to answer my questions about the field. I was drawn in not just by how diverse the field is, but how great a difference an occupational therapist can make.

What area of practice are you interested in?
I would really like to work with adults in physical rehabilitation, but mental health is also an important area. Personally, I think working with veterans would be a great way to combine these two areas, so I will definitely be looking into this. Helping people return to work would also be a great way to combine mental and physical health.

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.
This program has been a dream come true with many great memories so far, but one of my favorites has been working on various transfers with the actors who come in to portray individuals with various disabilities, or standardized patients. I loved interacting with them and figuring out how I could improve as a future therapist.

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you choose and why?
Personally, I would choose Mohandas Gandhi because he was able to have peace with himself but still stood up for what is right. He also had a family and would be able to offer me advice in that area of life, as well. Though we have different religious beliefs, I think he would have a lot to offer from an outside perspective while offering a lot of help on a personal level.

Alexandra Zuck MA II ‘18

Alexandra Zuck MA II ‘18

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: Sandusky, Ohio

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I’ve always wanted to understand and help others. During my undergraduate program at University of Florida, I was working in a skilled nursing facility where I first discovered OT. The therapists and their patients were so engaged and happy; after learning more, I felt that I had stumbled upon the perfect career. When my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014, I watched him go through therapy in smiles and good spirit. The rehabilitation team at the acute inpatient care unit were so positive and encouraging. Before he passed away, he was able to have happy experiences as a human, not just a patient. This further confirmed that this was the right profession. The field’s holistic and dynamic approach to rehabilitation makes it truly client-centered and effective. I only hope that I can be as great of an OT as those that I have met so far.

What area of practice are you interested in?
Outpatient adult rehab, specifically outpatient neurology.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy:
Before discovering Occupational Therapy, I was getting my undergraduate degree in psychology.  I had worked on a crisis hotline and within hospital administration, so I had thought that I wanted to do something along those lines. As long as I was helping others, I knew that I would be happy. After graduation, I volunteered within hospice as a grief counselor and prepared to apply to programs.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
I love traveling, spending time with my family and friends, volunteering, going to concerts, trying new restaurants and breweries, and being on the water.

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you pick?
My grandparents. I was lucky enough to grow up very close to my grandparents on both sides of my family. They’ve taught me so much about life and the importance of family. I know that I wouldn’t be as strong of a person without them.

How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as an advocate for people and communities who don’t have the support to live a just quality of life. More importantly, I want to be remembered not just as an individual, but as a part of a larger movement to improve the quality of life for all people, regardless of background and circumstances.

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.

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