University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Student Blog


All good things come to an end… →

May 19, 2015, by Leila · email · Leave a comment

I can’t believe the time has come to close one chapter of my life and begin another.  My time as an occupational therapy master’s student has come to an end and it is bittersweet. Time really does fly by when you are having fun, and I have to say my time in the program has been a phenomenal one. From the amount of knowledge I have learned to the amazing individuals (students and faculty) I have met, I will forever cherish the past couple of years. If someone would have told me 2.5 years ago that I would be graduating from the top occupational therapy school I would not have believed it! I can honestly say that the endless hours of assignments, studying for tests, and long commutes was all worth it. Is it hard? Of course! But every sacrifice made was worth it and I cannot think of a greater moment in life than finding a profession that you are passionate about and achieving that dream. Fortunately, USC’s OT program, wonderful faculty, clinical instructors and peers have prepared me to continue on this journey in becoming an amazing occupational therapist. 

I look forward to my upcoming Level II fieldwork experience where I will be working in the pediatric inpatient unit at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, CA. Completing my final Level II fieldwork this summer will officially label me as a “Master” of Occupational Therapy, but not until I pass the NBCOT (National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy) exam will I be marked as a licensed occupational therapist! The last few weeks have gone by so fast and I am sad to say that this will be my last blog post as a student ambassador. I really have enjoyed my time working as an ambassador and will miss it greatly! It’s time your current student ambassadors pass the torch to the incoming student ambassadors who will be here to help you. On the plus side, you will get to hear from different students!

Nevertheless, USC’s occupational therapy program is fun (and hard work) and like I stated above, it is great finding a profession that you are passionate about. Discovering occupational therapy and deciding that you want to make a career out of it is one of the most important steps to achieving your dream! Keep your head up. It may seem like a long road ahead, but no one or nothing can stop you from reaching your goals. I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors. Thank you for reading my blog as a student ambassador!

-Leila A.



WE DID IT!!! →

May 18, 2015, by Kristy · email · Leave a comment

Well the time is finally here, graduation day! Other than the fact that it was raining, and it NEVER rains in southern California, it was a great day and experience, and I am so lucky to have been able to share that with a great group of classmates that I am lucky enough to call friends. These last few weeks have been a whirlwind, from having our last day of classes, to studying for the comp exam, finishing out my time as a student ambassador, celebrating at the end of the year party, passing the comp exam, and graduating!  It is a strange feeling leaving behind something that you have been so accustomed to, but it is time to open up new doors and move on to the next chapter.  I am excited to begin my second level II fieldwork and my doctoral residency in the fall, and then finally become a licensed occupational therapist!  Dreams do come true and they are so close, I will finally be able to practice in the field that I am extremely passionate about and am so fortunate to have found it! To all of you just beginning your journey as an occupational therapy student, or if you have just found the profession, you are heading in the right direction!  This is a great field to be in, and this is the best program that will prepare you for the profession!  Best to all of you smile Farewell my friends!

End of the Year Events


The time has come… →

May 13, 2015, by Brenda · email · Leave a comment

While I am excited to be graduating in two short days, I am saddened that today will be my last day in the office. I have had such an amazing time working as a Student Ambassador. Kim Kelton and my fellow team members have made this experience so special! A big thank you to them and all that I have had a privilege to work and communicate with. Until next time…


AOTA 2015 in Nashville! Yee-hawww! →

May 11, 2015, by Jonathan · email · Leave a comment


This post is about my recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee for this year’s AOTA conference! First off, I have to give a big thanks to the division for making this trip possible for me, as I was fortunately awarded a scholarship to attend the conference. This was a huge help, especially since I probably spent half of this amount on some bah-beh-cue dry ribs alone. Haha totally kidding, but jokes aside, having the opportunity to attend this year’s conference really brings my entire gradschool experience full circle. Exactly two years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the AOTA national conference right before I started the program, in which I volunteered. For any individuals who are hoping to gain a conference experience, I highly recommend volunteering, even if you are not yet a practitioner or a student! Typically if you volunteer, you get to attend the conference for free, as was the case for me two years ago. I remember going two years ago, just being admitted to the program, with excitement of what was to come. I remember running into Ricky and Rob, two former ambassadors, and little did I know that I’d be filling their shoes two years later. With that said, as Leila mentioned in a previous post, this year’s conference was the largest ever! It was a pleasure getting to attend several educational sessions, meeting other practitioners and fellow students, and just enjoying the OT pride that was definitely palpable in the atmosphere!

This year’s theme was “giving voice to the distinct value of occupational therapy.”  Personally for me, this means being able to articulate, advocate, and express the unique skillset occupational therapists can provide to help all people, in utilizing occupation to help everyone we serve reach their fullest potential.  Whether that’s helping a Grandfather who’s recovering from stroke gain the upper extremity strength to hold his baby granddaughter, helping a Mother who’s battling cancer find meaningful occupations while she receives treatment, helping a child with special needs gain the skillset they need to access their school curriculum, or helping a veteran with PTSD foster therapeutic relationships within the community through surfing, our value is diverse, essential, and most definitely distinct. This was actually one of my favorite things about the conference; the fact that I was able to attend several educational sessions and poster board presentations that demonstrated how occupational therapy is evolving on a daily basis, and just how occupational therapist are utilizing their unique skill sets to help people of all backgrounds. One of the practitioners I had met was formulating an occupation based program for refugees from other countries, who have a long history of oppression, abuse, or trauma. A fellow student I had met had implemented a creative arts and crafts program at a local women’s penitentiary, which I really identified with especially given my experiences at Project 180. Several relatively new professionals spoke about their transition from student to working clinician, and it was great to gain their insight about their challenges and their keys to success.

All in all, AOTA 2015 was an amazing experience that gave me greater insight about my profession, and where it is headed towards the future. Needless to say, It’s an exciting time to be in the profession and to see what my fellow colleagues have been working on to help our profession grow and evolve. In addition, Nashville was an amazing city as well and it was tons of fun checking out the city with my classmates and several new friends in our spare time. I can definitely say that I have never in my life heard so many country covers of 90’s hip and R&B songs. Here’s a video documenting some my AOTA 2015 experience.

AOTA 2015 from Jonathan Rodil on Vimeo.

Y’all take care now,




May 5, 2015, by Claire · email · Leave a comment

American Occupational Therapy Association had its annual national conference in Nashville, TN last month, and it was a fantastic experience! Nashville is a very fun place—I also just happened to start listening to country the past year before this conference, so I was proud of knowing some songs that we heard from live musicians.

My classmates and I were able to present a Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) poster at the conference, and we have so many people to thank along the way! Dr. Myka Winder taught our Quantitative Research course and gave us a lot of guidance when we were preparing the content for our final presentation. Thanks to her push and also Dr. Natalie Leland and Dr. Ashley Halle’s help, we were able to submit an abstract and prepare a poster! It was a really wonderful opportunity for all of us to get involved in our professional network! If the opportunity comes up for you to go to the national conference (or even better, get a scholarship to cover for the trip), I would say TAKE IT! You get a great reward for a just some extra work in preparing for the conference. Getting involved in the professional affiliations early as a student is extremely valuable.

Also, if you might remember, a group of classmates and I spent our Leadership Externship trip in Korea. We got to meet our Korean OT friends and professors at AOTA! It was so nice to see them again! smile OTs may be spread out all over the world, but not even the Pacific Ocean can keep us apart for long! We are hoping to meet again at next year’s annual conference (in Chicago!).

There was a USC party too, and I got to meet alumni from years back! They were all super inspiring to talk to and to hear about their experiences! It was all a good time!

Here are some pictures!

Here’s our team! (Left to Right: Jessica Siebenmorgen, Allison Daly, Claire Lin, Phillip Lin, Erica Law) + our contributing classmates from Quantitative: Caitlin Ito, Nicole Emerich

Here’s our team with Dr. Natalie Leland!

Jessica and I are reunited with our Korean classmates, Moonyoung and Yeonju!

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