The role of a USC Chan Student Ambassador is to help raise awareness for the field of occupational therapy and our programs here at USC. They provide tours, give informational presentations, help with events, blog about their experiences, post to Chan Division social media accounts, and answer questions from prospective students.
Los Angeles, CA
Read Aisha’s blog posts ⟩
As Salaamu Alaykum (peace be upon you) and hello! I’m Aisha Abdullah, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I’m a second-year student in the Entry-Level Master’s Program at USC Chan. I also received my BA in Psychology with a minor in Occupational Science from USC.
The healthcare field has always interested me, and my aunt (a fellow Trojan!) encouraged me to take an OS minor class and consider occupational therapy. After taking OT 250 and shadowing my professor at the Mini Olympics at Atwater Park Center, I knew this career was for me.
In addition to the holistic, person-centered nature of OT, I’m fascinated by the endless possibilities of this broad and diverse profession. I started this program with a strong passion for pediatrics. However, my interests evolved after taking the Adult Rehab and Mental Health practice immersions and completing a fieldwork placement working with adults and seniors. Wherever OT takes me, I want to spend my career promoting occupational justice and supporting people with limited resources to strive toward a meaningful and fulfilling life.
In my free time (a must to squeeze in during grad school!), I enjoy hiking, the beach, playing board games, and bonding with my large family and friends. I am also an avid henna artist and spend far too much money on takeout! I look forward to sharing my journey and experiences as an OT student! I’m excited to meet you all. Fight On!
Thousand Oaks, CA
Read Bryan’s blog posts ⟩
Hey, hey, hey — I’m Bryan! I was born in Los Angeles and was raised in Thousand Oaks, CA. I have been studying in LA for the past 6 years, receiving a BA in Health & Human Sciences and a BA in NGOs & Social Change (with a minor in Occupational Science) from USC, and I am currently entering my second year in USC Chan’s Entry-Level Master’s Program. Growing up in an erratic, complicated household, I decided to choose a career path that centered around meaning and purpose, which made occupational therapy a natural choice. I specifically appreciated OT’s role in pediatric care and early intervention and hoped to one day become a pediatric OT to help burgeoning kiddos become their best selves! I have experiences working as a pediatric OT Aide at an outpatient sensory integration clinic and as a social enterprise intern for a child abuse prevention nonprofit; I’m currently interested in adult/pediatric acute care and trauma-informed care and hope to pursue these areas of practice after graduation!
Outside of class, I enjoy watching Rupaul’s Drag Race, attending fitness classes, seeing live music, thrifting, and (of course) sleeping! I’m a lot of energy and have been told that my bellowing laugh can be heard through the walls of CHP! I’m excited to share my experiences with you all this coming year. As always, Fight On!
West Sacramento, CA
Read Leah’s blog posts ⟩
Hi! My name is Leah Willover, and I was raised in West Sacramento, CA! I received my BA in Psychology with a Philosophy minor from Loyola Marymount University.
Following my undergraduate studies, I completed an AmeriCorps year in Seattle, WA. I served in a permanent supportive housing building for senior men (55+) experiencing chronic homelessness. I then worked as a research coordinator for the Multiple Sclerosis Rehabilitation and Wellness Research Center at the University of Washington. This team developed rehabilitation psychology interventions for MS and comorbid conditions, including chronic pain, fatigue, and depression.
I first learned about occupational therapy from a family friend who was an OT who would come work with me as a child during my cancer treatment experience. I then continued to see the value of occupations while attending/volunteering at a Pediatric Oncology camp in Northern California. I was drawn to this profession due to its holistic approach to disease, disability, and wellness. I was also excited by the vast scope and variability in occupational therapy. I came into this program unsure of what practice setting I wanted to practice in, which is completely normal!
This past summer, I completed my Level II fieldwork at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in the Medicine/Surgery department and the Neuro inpatient rehabilitation unit. I totally fell in love with the inpatient acute setting! I one day hope to work in adult/pediatric acute care and am completing my second Level II in a pediatric oncology setting. I am also interested in possibly pursuing academia/research in the future!
Outside class, I enjoy reading, hiking, bouldering, watching reality tv with friends, and eating (especially ice cream 😊 ). I am excited to share more about my experiences with you this year. Fight On!
Read Leah Mary’s blog posts ⟩
Hey there! My name is Leah King and I am originally from Chicago, IL. I am a triple trojan; I graduated with a BA in Cognitive Science and a BA in East Asian Area Studies. I just completed my Master’s in the Entry-Level Master’s Program at USC Chan!
I learned about occupational therapy at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab when I drove my grandma there for rehab. Shirley Ryan is a state-of-the-art research and rehabilitation facility. So I was hooked. I finished my last Level II fieldwork on the brain innovation floor (the same one my grandma was on) at Shirley Ryan this summer, which was a meaningful way to end my Master’s.
Some of my favorite occupations include hiking, camping, traveling, hanging out with family and friends, and eating. I’m so excited for this upcoming year and to see where we all end up. Fight On!
Muntinlupa City, Philippines
Read Mika’s blog posts ⟩
I hope you are all fine and well as you read this. Mika here, from the tropical islands of the Philippines!
A little info about me: I received my bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of the Philippines — Manila in 2017. I took the Philippine Occupational Therapist Licensure Exam the next year and from there, I started working mainly as a pediatric therapist in Manila. From my four years of practice, I got to meet amazing clients of different abilities and worked with a lot of families who were the epitome of selflessness for their children. In my practice, I have developed an interest in feeding and swallowing therapy as I took up basic courses on the Sequential Oral Sensory Approach and dysphagia management. In other words, I’m a big foodie and I really enjoy helping others find meaning during mealtimes! Right now, I am excited to further hone my skills in this area as I take up my post-professional master’s degree here at USC Chan!
Aside from being a graduate student, I also play the role of a #CrazyDogLady to my two adorable dogs — a shih poo named Oreo and a maltese named Mochi. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, doing outdoor activities like hiking and biking, and finding the best restaurants and coffee shops in town!
I guess that’s it for now. Fight On, future Trojan!
San Ysidro, CA / Tijuana, Mexico
Read Tania’s blog posts ⟩
Hi! My name is Tania Herrera and I was born in Los Angeles, CA, but raised in Tijuana, Mexico. I received my BA in Ethnic Studies with a minor in Human Development from UC San Diego. I’m a second-year student in the Entry-Level Master’s Program.
I worked for several years as an academic counselor for UC San Diego helping students navigate higher education. I decided to change career paths after meeting an occupational therapist who treated my grandfather after his hip replacement surgery. I loved how occupational therapy was a combination of education and healthcare.
This summer, I completed my Level II fieldwork in an outpatient pediatric clinic and loved the population I worked with. I would love to continue working with children in a school base or early intervention setting. I hope that one day I can open my own pediatric clinic and publish a series of children’s books.
In my free time I enjoy watching shows, sleeping, eating, hiking, traveling, dancing, and spending time with my family and friends. I am obsessed with anything Disney, dogs, and decorating sugar cookies. My favorite occupation in the world is being an aunt.
I look forward to meeting you all and sharing my journey as an OT student!
Read Yoojin’s blog posts ⟩
Hi everyone, nice to meet you! My name is Yoojin Chung and I’m from Irvine, CA. I’ve lived there most of my life until I moved to LA to attend USC. I’m a current 5th year in the BS-MA program, and have enjoyed every moment of my USC experience.
I learned about OT through a family member who received OT from a very young age. I witnessed first-hand the incredible mission of OT to bring purpose and joy into every person’s life and knew I wanted to do the same.
This past summer, I completed my first level II fieldwork at an outpatient pediatric clinic, which helped me learn I really want to work in pediatrics. One day, I hope to work in academia helping students reach their goals while practicing part-time in outpatient pediatrics. Oh, and add being a dog mom to that list of future aspirations!
When I’m not geeking out about OT, you can probably find me running, shopping, reading, hiking, or playing card games (I love Mono Deal!).
I’m here to answer any questions and give advice with compassion and honesty. I’m always open to hiking trail, book, and card game recs! I’m so excited to meet more of you this year. Fight On!