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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Academics
Academics

Entry-Level Professional Master of Arts Degree | Meet the Students

Alex Nishi MAII ‘14

Alex Nishi MAII ‘14

Hometown: Issaquah, WA

Program: Entry-Level Master's, Class of 2014

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I first encountered OT as a Special Education teacher. An OT came into my classroom every week, and she made therapy look so fun! After seeing the positive impact that occupational therapy had on my students, I decided to pursue it further.

What area of practice are you interested in?
I’m interested in school-based practice and pediatric mental/behavioral health, particularly in low-income communities. I would love to eventually be in a position where I could incorporate mental health practice into school-based occupational therapy.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.
I got my BA in Psychology at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. While in Spokane, I ran a mentoring program for at-risk elementary students in the area. After undergrad, I joined Teach For America and worked as a Special Education teacher in Phoenix, AZ. I’ve also spent time as a camp counselor, a tutor, a nanny, a waitress, a track coach, and an ice-cream scooper. I love that OT allows me to incorporate all of my experiences in such a diverse field!

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
I love the outdoors! Rock climbing, hiking, and ultimate frisbee are some of my favorite occupations currently. I’m also excited to explore all of the unique experiences that Los Angeles has to offer, and I always love a good book.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?
Lots of vegetables and fruits! I got a juicer for my birthday, so I’ve been experimenting with different concoctions.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
The power to be instantly fluent in any language. I’m currently working on a few, but it’s pretty slow-going.