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
Redesigning Lives Globally
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About Us
About Us

Meet Our Trojan Family

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.

Caroline Kim ‘18

Caroline Kim ‘18

Minor in Occupational Science program

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Los Angeles

What brought you to USC?
My dream job in high school was to be a doctor at CHLA, which is affiliated with USC, so I made it my goal to go to USC for undergrad and grad school to eventually work at CHLA. After some changes in career path, now I know that God brought me to USC to discover OT!

What made you decide to pursue the occupational science minor?
After deciding to drop pre-med, my friend told me I should check out occupational therapy. So, I went to an occupational therapy info session. During the meeting, I knew 100% that I wanted to pursue occupational therapy. It was the perfect balance of all my interests for my future career. The next day, I went to the OT advisor and began planning out my prerequisites for OT school. I saw that most of the prerequisites fulfilled the OS minor, so I added the OS minor.

How do you feel your OS minor has/will help you with your future schooling and/or career?
Having an OS Minor is an amazing opportunity and a great blessing because I get to take courses that give me a glimpse into what I’ll be studying in OT School. Having an OS minor has helped me discover areas of OT that I’m extremely interested in and it gets me excited thinking that this is just a small taste of what OT school will be like. I also get to have amazing OTs as professors that not only share their journey and experiences with me but have also become my role models.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Trader Joes salads for everyday of the week, all types of fruit, Panda Express left overs and tons of hot sauce.

How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who feared and loved the Lord with all my heart and lived every day to glorify His name.

You can check out my video and see what a typical day looks like for me here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO-YvtQkM2A

Jayshree Nagvekar, MA I, ‘17

Jayshree Nagvekar, MA I, ‘17

Post-Professional Master's program

Hometown: India

What brought you to occupational therapy?
Many things! All of my favorite occupations equally contributed to my decision to become an OT. As a child, my heart needed to be a part of social causes and help people. I always thought journalism, political science or law were for me. But with passing years, I began to develop affinity towards science and medicine. As I grew older and the time to make a decision approached closer, I had to make a choice. Keeping in perspective my need to be part of a profession that had both science and arts, and involved research, I landed on occupational therapy with a bang! Frankly, there has been no looking back; I have enjoyed all the academic and clinical sessions because being an OT allows me to be everything I always wanted to be! 

What area of practice are you interested in?
Neurorehabilitation, pediatrics and Lifestyle Redesign.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
Reading, writing blogs, writing stories and poems, trekking, listening to music, going on walks, exploring places, talking

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Coffee and too much vanilla ice cream… really a lot of it!!

How do you want to be remembered?
By making a difference in someone’s life. I want to be remembered as a positive and life changing person to everyone I come across. It may sound too big a dream, but I want to create something that lasts forever!

Kendall Tillman MA II, ‘18

Kendall Tillman MA II, ‘18

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: Aurora, Colorado

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I think the human body is incredible and I have a passion for working with others, which led me to look into occupational therapy. During my sophomore year of undergrad, I took an inclusive physical activity course where we were asked to modify an activity to allow anyone to participate regardless of their disability. After seeing a young girl with a physical disability’s face light up the entire room when she was able to participate, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What area of practice are you interested in?
Right now I am most interested in inpatient acute adult rehab but I am open to all areas.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
If I am not studying, you will most likely find me somewhere outdoors, napping, or eating froyo.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Milk. I have an unhealthy addiction to cereal. 

How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be the reason someone didn’t give up. I want to be remembered as someone who believes in everyone, who is kind, giving, and approachable.

Shannon Mirshokri, MA II ‘18

Shannon Mirshokri, MA II ‘18

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

What brought you to occupational therapy?
Since I was a young girl, I was always intrigued by two disciplines—medicine and psychology. Only problem was that I had trouble finding a medical field profession that looked at a patient not only biomechanically, but through a psychosocial lens as well. Enter—Occupational Therapy! While watching a television special with my mom one night in high school, I watched a pediatric OT in action helping a child improve his fine motor skills after a car accident injury. I paused the special, turned to my mom and told her, “This is what I want to do.” Five years later, I am in the occupational therapy program at USC and could not be happier.

What area of practice are you interested in?

I am interested in adult rehab, but can’t resist cute kids, so pediatrics as well.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

When I’m not in school or studying, I enjoy swimming, sleeping, going out dancing with friends, and baking sweet treats (then eating them). My favorite occupation of all is trying new occupations, so send me all your recommendations!

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Cake…so much cake

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