Faculty / Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
X/Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube
News and Events
News and Events

USC Chan Division Welcomes Third Cohort of Dual-Degree Students from PKUHSC
August 31, 2023

USC Chan Division China Initiative welcomes the third cohort of dual-degree students from PKUHSC, setting a positive tone for the academic year and building a strong community for international students.

China Initiative Community and Partners International Students

X/Twitter Facebook LinkedIn email

On August 31, 2023, the USC China Initiative marked a significant milestone as it welcomed the third and final cohort of students associated with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Peking University Health Science Center (PKUHSC) to complete their occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) year here in the United States. The orientation event served as a foundation for their professional journey in a new cultural context. The primary focus of the event was to provide essential insights about the academic, research, and clinical opportunities in occupational therapy that await these students here at USC Chan.

The orientation agenda included Welcoming Remarks by Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray, Associate Chair for Curriculum and Faculty and Director of the China Initiative, faculty introductions, an overview of the OTD program and its required academic coursework, and information on their upcoming Fall residency sites. The orientation also featured a session led by Student Services Advisor, Dr. Ryan Pineda, who explained the academic requirements, campus resources, and student support services specific to USC and the USC Chan Division.

Students enjoy refreshments and chat with Dr. Sharon Cermak

Students enjoy refreshments and chat with Dr. Sharon Cermak. (L to R: Yang Li, Jiehong Shi, Zhixin Liu, Wenlei Wu, Dr. Sharon Cermak)

Students also had the opportunity to introduce themselves by sharing their practice areas of interest which, among the 5 students, included oncology, pediatric mental health, productive aging, Lifestyle Redesign®, and sensory processing and sensory integration. Beyond their academic pursuits, the students shared information about the cultural heritage of their home towns in China, their unique occupational interests, and what they hope to experience as they embark on their professional journeys here at USC.

Cohort 3 student Yansong Li introduces himself to his peers and faculty

Cohort 3 student Yansong Li introduces himself to his peers and faculty.

An essential component of the orientation event was a presentation by Dr. Elena Meng from the China Initiative to clarify expectations for the students’ residency experiences in each of the three tracks: research, pedagogy, and clinical practice. The dual-degree students will be engaged in “hybrid” residencies that may combine experiences across all three tracks in order to best prepare them to be leaders upon their return to China following the OTD program. Dr. Meng provided detailed insights into the learning objectives, learning activities, and deliverables/assessments associated with each track. This information supports the students to understand not only what is expected of them in each track, but also how they can excel in their specific residency sites.

Recognizing the importance of a support system, the orientation also included a mingling session where students had the opportunity to meet their peer mentors, faculty mentors, and residency preceptors. Peer mentors play an important role in helping new students adapt to campus life, navigate coursework, and provide a friendly face during their time in a new cultural context. Faculty members, on the other hand, serve as mentors and preceptors, providing guidance in academic, clinical, and research contexts. The mingling session allowed the five students to establish connections with those who will play vital roles in their academic, professional, and personal development.

The successful orientation event serves as a testament to the China Initiative’s commitment to providing a supportive environment for its international students. As these five students from PKUHSC begin their doctoral year at USC, they do so with a solid foundation, a clear academic path, and a community of mentors and peers who are eager to support them on their journey.