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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Student Ambassador Blog


Summer In Full Swing

, by JessicaP · email · Leave a comment

Summer is in full swing and we have been busy keeping up with all of the exciting things happening at Chan!

Just a few weeks ago we had the pleasure of officially welcoming our class of 2019 to the Trojan family! Our new Trojan OT’s are busy this summer taking courses in kinesiology, neuroscience, foundations of occupation and creativity, craft, and activity analysis.

Class of 2019 Orientation

Welcoming our new students

Summer CA's fighting on!

Our continuing students have also been busy completing their Level II Fieldwork at various sites across the states.

Ali at her summer fieldwork

One of our students, Ali, is completing her fieldwork at Coastside Pediatric Therapy Center. She loves learning about playing with a purpose and the science of development.

Brynne and Kaitlyn at their summer fieldwork

Two of our other students, Brynne and Kaitlyn, are completing their fieldwork at Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

As a student ambassador I have been having a blast meeting all of our new and prospective students. Our Information Sessions are a great way for us to meet students and for them to learn more about our program.

Info session table

This past weekend we also had the pleasure of welcoming 50 international OT’s and OT students for our Summer Occupational Therapy Immersion (SOTI) Program. The participants will spend the next four weeks learning about OT in the United States, attend seminars, visit various OT sites, and of course enjoy all of the fun that Los Angeles has to offer!

SOTI welcome bbq

With summer half way over, we are excited to fight on and enjoy the next few weeks full of sunshine and OT fun!


Momma, I Made It!

, by Erwin · email · Leave a comment

Wow! Where has the time gone? It really seems like yesterday that I was a newly-admitted student walking on campus for the first day of classes. My time at USC has been nothing short of amazing and I can honestly say that I’ve grown so much here—not only as a therapist, but as a person.

Looking back at my career at USC, here are my few words of wisdom:

Learn: Don’t study for the sake of passing a class. This isn’t undergrad anymore; what you’re learning in occupational therapy school is going to be your craft. So don’t come in with the mindset of, “I need to get an A in this class”.  It’s much more important to really understand the material and knowing how to apply it rather than knowing how to get an A. After all, an employer isn’t going to ask what your GPA was—they’re going to care if you’re good at what you do.

Get involved: USC has so many opportunities to get involved and it would be unfortunate not to take advantage of these opportunities. Exploring different opportunities allows you to discover your passions and strengths, connect you to USC, foster community, and build your resume. While at USC, I tried to get involved as much as possible. I’ve developed my leadership skills, built life-long friendships, and opened doors that would not have been possible.

Enjoy yourself: Graduate school can be stressful. There will be papers, exam, and projects—you might even question, “is this really worth it?”. Just relax! We always encourage our clients to live balanced lives and we have to practice what we preach. After all, a balanced life is a healthy life. So while in grad school, take time to take care of yourself, enjoy the company of others, and don’t stress out too much about your classes. Like I said before, employers aren’t concerned about your grades.

 Although graduation has arrived, I know what I’ve learned at USC will carry on throughout my lifetime. Occupational therapy is such a beautiful and rewarding profession, and regardless if you pursue a degree at USC or another university, the profession will be nothing but good to you.

Before I go, I want to share with you some of the people and moments that have meant the most to me while at USC:

White Coat Ceremony 2015

White Coat Ceremony 2015!

Dr. Delgado and his student delegates!

Dr. Delgado and his student delegates!

Philippines Externship team!

Philippines Externship team!

Cohort B(est)

Cohort B!!

My amazing ambassador team smile

My amazing ambassador team


Falling in Love with OT

, by JessicaP · email · Leave a comment

For my first blog post, I wanted to share my story of how I discovered and fell in love with occupational therapy.

Ever since I was young, I always knew I wanted a career that involved helping others, specifically children. At the beginning of high school I volunteered at the local hospital and really enjoyed being in the healthcare setting, but I didn’t know if being a doctor was the right path for me. I heard about a summer camp for children with special needs and decided to be a camp counselor. As a counselor, I was paired one-on-one with my buddy, spending time doing various activities and games which were facilitated by occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists. For the next four summers, I volunteered at the camp and it continued to confirm my passion for working with children.

I knew what I wanted out of a career, but I was still unsure exactly which path to pursue. Deciding to come to USC was an easy choice for me, as I was raised a Trojan from birth and most of my family attended the university. I entered USC as a freshman majoring in Psychology and began to take classes in the Occupational Science minor. I also had the opportunity to shadow a pediatric occupational therapist in an outpatient clinic, which was when I knew occupational therapy was exactly what I wanted to be doing. I decided to transfer into the Bachelor to Master’s Occupational Therapy major as a junior and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, second to coming to USC.

As a progressive degree student, I have had many opportunities to take OT classes as well as courses in areas I am also interested in — such as psychology, human rights, and performance science. I am so grateful to have found a profession that allows me to combine my passions and empower others to live their best lives. I can’t wait to continue to learn and grow as an occupational therapy student and share my experiences with you.


A Step Forward!

, by Alyssa · email · Leave a comment

Goodbyes are never easy. So, here I am, feeling a bit sad and reminiscent as I write my final blog post as a student ambassador. I have had the best memories with my fellow student ambassador team!

Student Ambassador Team
Student Ambassador Team 2016-2017

Graduation is tomorrow (YAA!!!!) and I am so excited to spend the day with my biggest supporters, my family and friends! I have had the most incredible year and I am so thankful that I chose USC. I still remember the initial moment I found out that I was accepted. I was in my dorm and received a cheerful call from Dr. Liz Carley. After this phone call ended, I could not help but to scream, dance, and share the good news! I knew that I had something very worthwhile lying ahead of me!

This journey of mine at USC has been quite transformative, as I have gone back and forth about what practice area (pediatrics, physical rehabilitation, etc.) I want to pursue. Thanks to the incredible faculty here at USC, I have received so much support to leave my “comfort zone,” and explore an emerging area for OT practice, primary care.

Dr. Rafeedie
Dr. Rafeedie, one of my favorite faculty mentors!

Throughout this past year, I have developed a strong interest and passion for helping individuals prevent and manage chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease) by adopting healthy lifestyle routines and habits.  Specifically, I find myself passionate about helping these individuals within the primary care setting. I am so excited to share that I will be staying here at USC to pursue my passion and clinical doctorate degree (OTD) in the advanced clinical track! I will be completing my residency at Alta Med Health Care and I can’t wait to start working with other health care professionals on interdisciplinary teams to meet the primary care needs of individuals across the lifespan (pediatrics to adults ☺)

For those of you who are just beginning your journey towards becoming an OT, I wish you the best of luck!

Embrace the value in every learning moment and always ask questions!
Take time to know your classmates and faculty, as these are the people who will teach and laugh with you along the way.
Thank the ones who support you ☺
Challenge yourself! & Most importantly, have fun and enjoy!

Fight on!
Fight on!

OT Friends
Love you long time OT Friends!


Things I wish I knew before moving to Los Angeles

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

Hello everyone! It’s good to be back from a much long blog-hiatus. As I have mentioned in my previous blog, things have been moving full-speed. We formally ended our classes a week ago, and guess what my comprehensive exam is tomorrow! eeeek! To calm myself down, I decided to write about something that I’ve been meaning to share with you all for the past few months. I understand that beginning your OT journey half-way across the globe is both an exciting and a stressful experience, believe me I’ve been there! So here are some of the things I wish I knew before the program and moving to L.A.

First of all, let’s talk about all of the resources at your disposal. All these links listed below are the respective USC offices and services that you may find helpful when you are just starting out in Los Angeles. 
USC Resources:

Office of International Services: offers services regarding immigration counselling, the OIS is also resource center to assist you with various government processes such as filing for a California driver’s license, filing for a SSN/ITN, filing U.S. Taxes etc.

Financial aid: offers variety of resources for international students looking for assistance in financing their education. 

Housing: here you can see the selection of housing options available to graduate students.

USC IT Services: here you can activate you USC ID (you need this to access the resources on campus!). Access the wireless network on campus, download available software to help you stay on top of your game during classes.

Eric Cohen Student health center: offers medical services, examination and screening, immunization, and student counseling.

Transportation: extremely useful to find USC tram times, parking passes, and they have useful information to help you navigate the urban jungle that is Los Angeles.

Department of Public Safety: I suggest reading the Safety tips & training section, this houses useful information regarding safety practices and resources that students should be aware of.

Chan division website: all the information about the division is found on the website. The Student blog and Videos are great resources to get a sneak peek into the lives of Chan Division Trojans. wink

Next, I wanted to talk about your personal experiences with occupational therapy. Everyone has an OT story, and USC celebrates that. It is a great privilege to bring your experiences and practice into your classes. Take the time to reflect on your own practice, look at the things that you want to improve and things that you thought worked well.  In my experience, often times the concepts I learn in class brings me back to my clinical internship, and professional experience in the Philippines. It provided a great opportunity to stir insight and spark inspiration to help me improve my practice. And if you don’t have experience, that is okay! Keep an open-mind, be like a sponge, and absorb the experiences shared by your classmates and professors. Learning is a two way process, you learn from them, and they learn from you. I know this may all seem intimidating and anxiety inducing, but you know what? Intimidation is good, life is boring without challenges. It is okay to be scared, just don’t let it stop you from achieving your goals. Always reach out to your professors, the division is here to support its students, and don’t forget all the resources mentioned above!

What does everyone else in the post-professional MA Class of 2017 have to say?

Tai-wei Lee
: Mentally and physically prepare to study in a perfect school! The class load might be a bit tough.
Bella Hsieh: Don’t forget to bring/buy sunglasses, it gets hot in Los Angeles!
Rucha Naik:Sunscreen!
Jayshree Nagvekar: Save your money, loads of great things to do on the way
Shikha Kamdar: Save your money to spend it on Black Friday…the clothes will last almost till your spring semester
Nikita Sunny: Get an umbrella! People say it doesn’t rain in LA but it rained this year!
Kathryna Gomez: They say [to bring] just a light jacket but I was freezing during winter.
Rucha Naik: It will be great to buy winter clothes from here. [the] Jacket I carried from India couldn’t keep me warm enough in this cold
Francis Co: Ralphs card
Kathryna Gomez: get all those cards, they help a lot Vons, Ralphs, Seafood Market, CVS etc.
Sujin Kim: kepp in mind the extra expenses that you might have during school year (educational evaluation, NBCOT, graduation etc.) so that you can plan your finances better
Chaitali Sutradhar:  Get at least a year of full-time clinical experience (not as a student)!
Raisa Fernan: Familiarize yourself with your personal devices! Learn to maneuver pdf readers, applications for note-taking, learn email etiquette, digital organization and the like. Keep copies of your personal documents, digital or print copies! Use apps like google maps, citymapper, uber, lyft to help you get around Los Angeles.

I will not lie, you will get homesick. You will find healthy ways to cope, whether it be a new support system or even exploring a new hobby. Internet connection is amazing, so take advantage of the technology and resources at our disposal. It’s not going to be easy, but I promise you it is going to be worth it. Lastly,

don’t forget to have fun!


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