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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
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Emily Heerde MA2 ‘21

Emily Heerde MA2 ‘21

Hometown: Frankfort, IL

Program: Entry-Level Master's, Class of 2021

What brought you to occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy had a major impact on my family’s life growing up, so choosing it as a profession was a no brainer. It closely aligns with my thoughts and notions by giving healthcare a holistic approach, something that most other professions pass over. I feel extremely blessed to have landed in USC’s program, and can’t wait to give back to the OT community who have given so much to me.

What area of practice are you interested in?
For most of my life, I have been interested in working with children. I think pediatrics would be a good fit for me, as I spent a lot of time working with kids before I began this program. With that being said, I am going into classes very open-minded and excited to learn about all the practices that OT has to offer!

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.
In December 2018, I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor degree in developmental psychology and a bachelor degree in Spanish. Fortunately, I was able to earn a spot in USC’s OT program and came straight to graduate school. Besides schoolwork, I was a full time summer nanny back at home in the suburbs of Chicago (another reason why I would love to work with kids!).

What song can you sing entirely by heart?
Bohemian Rhapsody. That song can turn my day from bad to stellar in just 5 minutes and 54 seconds!

If you could visit any time in history, where would you go and why?
I would probably go back as a teenager to the late 1960s-70s era. Those decades of music are my absolute favorite; I would love to have experienced Woodstock! A lot of clothing from that time period is coming back into style now too, which is exciting for me and my jumpsuits.