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
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Student Ambassador Blog


The End of the Fall Semester

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

I cannot believe it is the end of the fall semester. It feels just like yesterday that I flew in from the Philippines to pursue my masters degree. The last 5 months feel like a surreal blur, but nonetheless, I am happy and ecstatic to be moving forward in the spring! This semester has been nothing short of amazing. I will not lie, it was difficult but it was definitely worth it. 

Through the efforts of our supportive faculty, the program was both challenging and rewarding. The program certainly does live up to its name and I am excited to see what the spring semester has in store for me.

Let me leave you with some pictures of the MA-1 class and our professors on our final classes.  With the holidays fast approaching I hope that everyone gets their well-needed rest, enjoy the time you have with friends and family. See you in the spring!

The MA1 class in their last class for Quantitative Research

Our last class for OT518: Quantitative Research with professor Shawn Phipps PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

MA1 in their final Cognitive Neuroscience Class

Our semester ending class on OT515: Neuroscience of Behavior with professor Sook-Lei Liew PhD, OTR/L

Final Class for Adult and Aging for the MA1

Our final class for OT538 Current Issues in Practice: Adulthood and Aging with Stacey Schepens Niemiec PhD, OTR/L

Final class for Health Promotion and Wellness

Final class for OT 534: Health Promotion and Wellness with Camille Dieterle OTD, OTR/L

Happy Holidays everyone!

Fight on!


Thanksgiving Potluck 2016

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

Can you believe that we only have about two more months to go before 2016 ends?! That also means that the fall semester ends in around 5 weeks! Yikes!

So November is here! Time to enjoy the cooling weather and fun fall activities. One notable fall event that should not be missed is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a traditional American holiday that is usually celebrated on the fourth thursday of November. However, thanksgiving came early for us this year. The MA-1 students were able to celebrate together on the beach, in true California fashion, all thanks to the efforts of Global Initiatives and Dr. Erna Blanche. The day was filled with fun, sand, waves and lots of food. Traditionally Thanksgiving would be celebrated with a whole oven roasted turkey, but we decided to take a trip around the world. Since it was a potluck, the class each shared a dish from their country. We had dishes from India, Taiwan, Philippines, Korea, Scotland, Italy and America, our bellies were stuffed! After the festivities, and a nice game of charades we headed out to the beach to watch the sunset. Needless to say it was beautiful. The sound of the waves crashing, the colors of the sun setting and the changing sky were magical. It was truly a beautiful end to such a lovely day.

On behalf of the MA-1 class I would like to extend our gratitude to Global Initiatives and Dr. Erna Blanche for hosting and coordinating this thanksgiving potluck for the class. It was a lovely day, and great way to get to know everyone through their food as well as culture.

Here are some pictures from our trip:

All photos used with permission from owners, Arielle Villanueva and Kathryna Gomez

MA-1's grabbing a plate of food

MA-1’s with big smiles and full plates!

Asparagus in a blanket

Asparagus in a blanket

Korean Kimbob all made from scratch

Korean Kimbob

Korean Fried Rice with Kimchi

Korean Kimchi Fried Rice

Taiwanese vs Philippine noodles

Both are fried rice noodles, the left is a Taiwanese dish while the one on the right is a Filipino dish. Shared food culture!

MA1 help yourselves

Help yourselves

Eton Mess lovely dessert from Britain

Eton Mess, a lovely dessert from Britain

Mung Bean dessert from Taiwan

Mung Bean a Taiwanese Dessert

Friendly game of telephone charades

Telephone charades!

Selfie on the beach

Selfie on the beach!

Selfie on the beach part 2

Selfie on the beach part 3 with Dr. Blanche

Global Initiatives Hosts

A big thank you to our hosts and event coordinators

Sunset after potluck thanksgiving

Beautiful sunset

Beautiful Sunset

Look at those colors

Everyone ready for group photo

Happy Thanksgiving from the MA-1 batch of 2017!




The Occupational Therapy Association of California Conference

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

I had the pleasure of attending my first OT conference, hosted by the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC). The USC Chan Division was generous enough to sponsor the MA-1 class so we could attend one-day of the three-day conference, yay for professional growth!

If I were to summarize my entire experience with the OTAC conference I would say it was refreshing. Two seminars struck me the most, one focused on patient relations, the other focused on the use of everyday technology with clinical reasoning. Let me summarize my two most important insights from the conference.

First, communication is KEY! Being a knowledgeable therapist is not enough. We must have the compassion and empathy to effectively treat our patients. Being able to effectively communicate with our patients is key to helping them restore function to their lives. You can be the best therapist with the best treatment plans and exciting activities, but if you do not have the heart nor the compassion for therapeutic communication you might not get your patient to that next level. Let’s face it, Therapeutic communication is not easy, I’ve been practicing for almost a year and I still have trouble finding the right things to say. However, this is a skill that can be honed and sharpened. It is up to us to perfect this skill of therapeutic communication to become effective therapists.

Secondly, get your hands on some technology, in recent years we have seen a huge boom in technology. Society has greatly benefited from the internet, computers, smartphones, tablets… the list goes on. My point is, technology has great potential not only to help the good population but also help our patients. Technology generally makes things easier and efficient for everyone. Today technology is already gaining popularity in OT practice but I believe that this will soon be a good niche for future practitioners. I predict that this will be a major focus for future research and development in the OT profession.

The 2016 Occupational Therapy Association of California Conference held in Pasadena, CA

The OTAC conference was refreshing in a sense that they were able to shed some new light into already existing concepts of practice in OT. As a student, the conference proved to be insightful and led me to think about my future practice. This was my first OT conference and it certainly won’t be my last. I encourage you all, students, practitioners of all levels to join your local OT conferences. Learning is a never-ending process, and this is one process we should all take advantage of.


Three Reasons Why I Chose USC OSOT

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

“Why did you want to go to USC?” this was a question I would get a lot while I was working on my application. I never really knew what to say except “why not USC?”  Now having experienced the MA-1 program for myself I have come up with a short summary of why I love USC and I would like to share them with you.

1.  History:
USC has been a cornerstone for research and development in the field occupational therapy. Theories such as Sensory Integration, Lifestyle redesign, and occupational science took root in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

The Center for for Occupation amd Lifestyle Redesign, this historic house is home of the world's first center dedicated to the study of how everyday occupations help shape human health and well-being

2.  The Trojan Family:
USC is home to some of the most recognized minds in the field of occupational therapy, many of whom are faculty members who teach classes at USC. The faculty members have expertise in their own practice areas, mainly in the fields of research, education, and clinical practice. USC OSOT also hosts a Global Initiatives project. The Global initiatives project aims to enhance the profession of occupational therapy on a global scale.

White Coat Ceremony 2016, a special event that marks your entrance into the health care profession of Occupational Therapy

3.  #CareerGoals
“#CareerGoals” is what my friends back home would say when we do things that help us achieve our goals. Having practiced occupational therapy for about a year, I was able to reflect how I wanted to structure my practice. I want to specialize in the field of neurorehabilitation and acute care settings. My long-term goal would be to complete my Doctorate degree (OTD) for advanced clinical practice or clinical research in neurorehabilitation.

Post-Professional Master's Cohort, Class of 2017. This was taken during our White Coat ceremony.

USC plays an integral role in helping me achieve my career goals, I cannot imagine me taking my master’s program anywhere else. No regrets here! I hope you will consider working towards your #Careergoals and have USC help you in achieving them.


A Month into the Program

, by Raisa · email · Leave a comment

Hello, everyone! For my first ever blog post as an international student ambassador, I wanted to share with you how my first month as a Trojan went. Being an international student I basically had to uproot my life in the Philippines in order to move to Los Angeles so I could attend the on-campus post-professional Masters of Arts in Occupational Therapy program here at USC. Migrating from one country to another is not as easy as it sounds, it sure was exciting but not easy. One month before my flight, time sped up so fast it literally felt like everything happened in the blink of an eye. The hardest part of the move was saying goodbye to my friends, workmates, and family. Then the day finally came when I said goodbye to my homeland of 24 years and embarked on a new exciting adventure.

Arriving in Los Angeles was both fun and scary, this city was a new environment, similar to home but at the same time different in many ways. It felt good to have a change of environment. To mark our entrance into the medical profession the division held a white coat ceremony for all new students. The white coat ceremony was a rite of passage that all OT students go through, the white coat symbolizes both the responsibility and the privilege that we hold as occupational therapists. During my ceremony that’s when it all sunk in, I was finally a Trojan!

Once class started I did not feel so alien to the city of L.A., I met my classmates from the MA-1 program and we all got along really well, it was nice to form a support system in a new environment. For the first month of classes, I was delighted and eager to absorb all that USC has to offer. I will not lie, the first few weeks of class will take some getting used to. You will have to acclimate to the methods of teaching, medium of instruction and for some of my classmates language posed a big issue to learning. There will be sleepless nights and books you will read over and over again but don’t worry. The good news is that all that work will be worth it! In my 4½ weeks into the program, I have learned many new concepts that will shape how I will hold my future practice. The best part is that I am re-learning concepts from my undergraduate degree but I am learning them from a different perspective. It is both refreshing and eye-opening to study different occupational therapy concepts from a different point of view. One month into the program and I am falling more in love with Occupational Therapy! My first month as a Trojan has been exhilarating and I cannot wait to share with you what else USC has in store for me.

Page 2 of 2 |  < 1 2