University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
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Meet the One-Year Master's Students

Sweta Patel, MAI ‘14

Hometown: Cleveland, Tennessee

What brought you to occupational therapy?

I have always been interested in a career in healthcare. I wanted to pursue a career, which I could make an impact on each individual person I worked with, regardless if it was big or small. After volunteering and doing some research online I discovered the importance of occupation in people’s lives, including my own. The field is such that you can never get enough because there is so much to do. It just doesn’t cover one particular area, but the area of practice is so large! Occupational therapy embraces the mind-body connection more than any other field, and actually uses that understanding systematically to help people achieve their goals.

Describe your background before coming into occupational therapy.

Before choosing Occupational Therapy, I was enrolled in the premed program at the University of Houston. I was planning to go to Medical School and maybe become a doctor one day. Over the summer I went to India to volunteer in a hospital and visit my family. That’s when I realized that I didn’t want to be a doctor, but I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field. During my trip, my uncle showed me an article of occupational therapy in the local newspaper and that weekend my entire family was talking about it over dinner. I had never heard of it before, so I spent days and nights doing some research online and finally it clicked that this is what I really wanted to do! ! I visited the college and OT seemed to be the perfect fit for me! So, I decided not to return back to US and start OT school in India! It is a field that encourages creativity and lets me do what I love. Even though it was the toughest decision to make in a short amount of time, I will neither regret it nor look back!

What area of practice are you interested in?

I haven’t focused on a specific area of interest yet since I love working with both adults and children. Maybe in the near future after getting sufficient experience, I may focus on a particular area of interest but as of now I don’t want to limit myself. I plan on enjoying all the opportunities that come my way in changing the quality of people’s lives.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

If I had one superpower I would want to be able to fly. I love travelling, exploring new destinations and just having a great time. But, after moving a lot in life, I hate packing. If I had the super power to fly I would just fly to another country and come back whenever I felt like it so I never would have to pack.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

I enjoy travelling, cooking, playing basketball, hanging out with friends, listening to music, and love spending time with my family.

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

There are many people that have guided me in life, but my parents would be my true mentors for always helping me take right decisions and guiding me in the correct path through all the struggles in life.

Charmi Patel, MAI ‘14

Hometown: Mumbai, India

What brought you to occupational therapy?

I always wanted to be in the health care profession. After my high school, when I was applying for grad school, I heard about occupational therapy from a few friends. I got into OT school but I was waiting to get a transfer to PT school. As days passed by and I started to get to know what OT is and how I could bring about a change in the life of others, I decided to stay back as an OT. A doctor adds years to your life, but as an OT I can add life to those years.

What area of practice are you interested in?

Pediatrics and Mental Health

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

Culinary, Badminton, Designing Indian ethnic wear with my mom.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I would want to time travel with a snap of the finger, so I could be near my family and friends just when I miss them the most.

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

One of my seniors from grad school, Pooja Mehta, and my mother.