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

Jessica P

Winter Wrap Up

, by Jessica P

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Every semester as a student, I feel that each semester goes by faster and faster. The weeks tend to fly by and before I know it, it’s the end of the semester. Last night, I turned in my final paper and officially am done with my fall semester. Towards the end of the semester, things tend to get busy with final projects wrapping up, papers to turn in, and exams to prepare for. While it can be overwhelming if you don’t stay on top of things, I find it to be my favorite time of the year. It’s really a chance to reflect on all you have learned and done throughout the semester.

In our OT 501: Adult Physical Rehabilitation last lab, we had an adaptive cooking lab. This was a chance for us to try different adaptive cooking utensils ourselves hands-on! We held a potluck style breakfast and all brought in food to make and eat with different tools.

This image shows students making sushi in lab

Using a rocker knife to make sushi

This image shows different adaptive cooking equipment

Adaptive cooking equipment

This image shows a student dressed up as Guy Fieri

Guest appearance from Guy Fieri in our cooking lab

In OT 537: Occupation-Centered Programs for the Community, we presented our program proposals that we have been developing all semester long. My group and I created a program called “Viviendo con Dolor Cronico: A Lifestyle Redesign Approach to Chronic Pain Management” which is focused on chronic pain in the immigrant population.

This image shows students presenting their program proposal poster

Poster presentations for our community program proposal

Lastly, we had our last class together as an entire cohort. Being together since day 1, our cohort has gone through all three of the immersions together: mental health, pediatrics, and adult physical rehabilitation. Next semester, we no longer will have a class all together as a full cohort as we will be taking different electives in the areas we are individually interested in pursuing.

This image shows Cohort B in the adult rehab lab

Cohort B Fall 2018

And just like that … the semester is over. Soon, I’ll be heading home for winter break to relax and spend time with family (and mostly cuddle with my dogs). I hope you all have a relaxing holiday!


MORELIFE: Preventative Health Access Program. No, Not the Drake Album.

, by Serena

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This semester I was enrolled in Occupation-Centered Programs for the Community taught by Dr. Jenny Martinez. In the class I paired up with 3 of my colleagues to create a community project around a topic that interested all of us: access to preventative healthcare. We all had a specific passion for delivering client-centered care, specifically focusing on culturally appropriate interventions for the Latino and Black communities in Los Angeles.

Presenting our project, MORELIFE, at the end of the semester. Working with them was a joy since we all desired to address the current health disparities in Los Angeles.

Presenting our project, MORELIFE, at the end of the semester. Working with them was a joy since we all desired to address the current health disparities in Los Angeles.

My team and I created a proposal for our community program, which we called MORELIFE: Preventative Health Access. The proposal included all the necessary components that would be required to start a new service. Thus, over the 16 week semester, we developed a trends analysis, needs assessment, literature review, marketing plan, mock funding request, and program evaluation. At the end of the semester, we delivered a presentation to our classmates, staff, and faculty members in the USC OT program. It may seem like a lot of work because it was a lot of work (lol); however, we received continuous guidance and support from our professor, Dr. Martinez who we met with weekly and other faculty members such as Dr. Stacy Niemiec who so generously shared her experience in developing a very similar program, ¡Vivir Mi Vida!. Since undergrad, I have always wanted to create and then deliver a community project focusing on health disparities so by gaining these skills I am one HUGE step closer to implementing a program like MORELIFE into society.

During the end of the semester presentation, I eagerly presented on the program my 3 colleagues and I had been working on for the entire semester.

During the end of the semester presentation, I eagerly presented on the program my 3 colleagues and I had been working on for the entire semester.


Can I do Grad School?

, by Joyce

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This was a big question that I find many people asking themselves. Whether you’re contemplating graduate school right after undergrad or going back after years of not studying, it seems to be a daunting choice to give up a salary to study full time.

Grad school is truly unique in its own way, way more so than undergrad ever was. From simply a developmental perspective, we are still finding ourselves in undergrad… our identity, who we are and what we want to be. However, in grad school you’re one step closer to consolidating the path in which you want to embark on.

Personally, I struggled a lot with low self esteem in college, shape shifting to match the peers around me and truly plagued with the disease to please. It wasn’t until senior year of college where I found comfort in being myself. Chasing after OT only reaffirmed the comfort I found within myself which is why I decided to pursue grad school immediately. I did not want to take a gap year because I was so sure on pursuing OT that I did not want to wait any longer. In that way, because I was used to the flow of school, exams, and papers… academically it wasn’t a difficult transition. That being said, it wasn’t an easy social transition. I had to pick up everything I had on the east coast and move to the other side of the country. I was couch hopping the first couple of weeks. I had a two week break between the day of my undergraduate graduation and the beginning of the graduate program. I definitely found myself burnt out many times and questioned whether this was the right choice I made.

But I am a firm believer of finishing what you started. Grad school was daunting at first. You meet many students who are just as passionate as you- which can be inspirational or scary. It is a game of perspective, will you view them as peers to learn from or simply competition to hide from? What’s great about OT school is that the program begins with our faculty encouraging us to learn from each other, to use each other to expand and challenge our clinical reasoning. Reflecting now, I’m glad that I made the choice to come to USC when I did because it gave me the opportunity to make life-long friends and receive strong mentorship with many of the faculty that went through the program themselves.

If you’re hesitating on applying to grad school, I would start with reflecting on why. Is it fear? Fear of school or fear of starting something new? One thing that is for sure is that no one goes through grad school alone, we do it with the support of our friends, professors, and social support!


Preparing For Finals

, by Melissa

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Hey everyone! This semester is quickly coming to an end and I’m in the process of preparing for finals. It’s both an exhausting time and an exciting time, as I am so close to the end of the semester, but I have to get through finals first! Being at this stage made me want to write a bit about my approach to finals, especially with work being factored into my schedule.

First and foremost, organization is KEY. I like to look ahead at my work calendars so that I can schedule different sessions for studying when I’m not in class or at work. I also like to get together with my classmates to study in a group so that they can help keep me accountable. Otherwise, I get sucked into a Netflix binge session that is no good for anyone. Living in downtown also gives me access to lots of cute coffee shops that have great coffee and a cozy ambience that helps me stay focused.

Hazelnut Latte from Loit Cafe in Downtown LA.

Don’t get me wrong though, finding the motivation to push through to the end of the semester is hard. Senioritis is REAL, and I’m very tired. But that’s why it’s so important to have a good support system, both inside and the outside of the program. I have such a great group of classmates that I’ve met in the program that offer constant support and motivation, and my family and friends outside of the program help me unwind and enjoy the little free time that I have.

Fortunately, I know that I’ll get through this, just as I have gotten through every other set of finals in my academic career. Just stay strong, push through, and remember why you started.

Good luck to everyone going into finals this semester, and fight on!



, by Evan

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I’ve spoken in a few posts about my role as OTAC representative for the student body at various external events, but have yet to touch my role the executive board of OTSC.  OTSC stands for Occupational Therapy and Science Council, and is a student organization that has a significant influence on the extracurricular lives of students in the Chan Division.  ALL students are stakeholders in the OTSC organization and welcome to attend monthly meetings.  The Executive Board of OTSC includes elected representatives from other student organizations, plus a variety of other elected leadership positions.  We are also blessed with the guidance of two wonderful faculty liaisons.  OTSC meetings generally serve to facilitate communication between the various student organizations, as well as provide a forum in which information can be disseminated and various events can be coordinated.  For instance, last April the other OTAC chair and I wanted to host a letter writing party to promote advocacy on state legislative issues.  By announcing our intentions at an OTSC meeting we were able to get the word out to the whole student body, vastly increasing participation, and even got a budget approved so that pizza could be provided!  I’d encourage anyone pursuing a degree in the Chan Division to find a way to get involved in OTSC.  Not only is it a great way to be of service, some of my closest friends in the program have come from this type of extracurricular participation.  Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

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