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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Academics
Academics

Entry-Level Professional Master of Arts Degree | Meet the Students

Kirsten Peterson MAII ‘15

Kirsten Peterson MAII ‘15

Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA

Program: Entry-Level Master's, Class of 2015

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I was a music and psychology major in college, and I was interested in the therapeutic effects of music.  I’d originally planned to study cognitive psychology and do research on music cognition, but I decided that I wanted to do something that tangibly impacted people’s daily lives.  My dad read about occupational therapy as a profession in U.S. News and passed it along, and I quickly discovered it offered a great combination of my interests.  I guess in two words, “my dad”.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.
After getting my bachelor’s degree, I spent some time working as a receptionist for a small but successful tech company in the Silicon Valley.  I got a glimpse of the corporate world, as well as the perks and drawbacks of working in the heart of the tech industry.  I miss the free lunches, but I am happier where I am now!

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.
I absolutely love my Level I fieldwork this semester.  My clinical instructor is an occupational therapist working in a short-term inpatient acute hospital, and she’s both a great teacher and a helpful projection of where I’ll hopefully be in ten years.  Through her therapeutic use of self, she connects with patients in ways that some of the other health professionals don’t seem to be doing.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Hummus!  Also coconut water, kale, and salsa.  Ideally also something more filling.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I have always really wanted to fly.  When you’re a kid they tell you, “You can do anything if you practice enough,” so I would run around my backyard, waving my arms to practice flying.  Once, when I caught some air jumping off my couch, I decided that I’d reached a new level of flight.