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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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Jesslyn Ponce MA ’23

Jesslyn Ponce MA ’23

Hometown: Upland, CA

Program: Entry-Level Professional Master’s, Class of 2023

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I always knew that I wanted to go into some form of rehabilitation, but didn’t know if I wanted to go into PT or OT. While talking to an old coach, who just so happened to be an OT, I explained to her that I wasn’t sure which path I wanted to go down and she stopped me mid-sentence to say “You’re an OT.” I didn’t think much of it in the moment because I was volunteering with PTs at that time and figured she was biased, but a few months later I began watching my nephew go through pediatric OT for cerebral palsy and I knew that I was home. I loved the creativity that influenced his treatment and how his OTs focused on him and his goals. After observing a few more OTs in different settings, I knew that my coach was right and that who I was as a person closely aligned with OT as a profession.

What area of practice are you interested in?
I have always been interested in pediatrics, but I am now starting to look at inpatient critical care in hospital settings, pedagogy, and OT in NICU settings.

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.
Some of my favorite memories from the program so far have been being able to laugh and learn with my summer group (Group C!). Whether it’s laughing our way through understanding the lectures or crossing the street in 80s outfits to get coffee from the Keck Café carts before another lab, we are always having fun with each other and helping each other learn.

If you were famous, what would you be famous for?
I would love to believe that if I were famous it would be because I created a beautiful piece of artwork but realistically if I were famous, it would be because of my “incredible” karaoke skills. I would not necessarily say I am a good singer, but I love karaoke, dancing, and having fun, so the combination would probably result in me going viral on some type of social media platform.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece of advice that I have received is, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” In today’s society, it can be very easy to get caught up in comparisons and forget that everyone walks a completely different path. If we spend all of our time finding faults in our own actions or life paths because they don’t compare to someone else, we waste so much of our own joy and time. Having this quote in the back of my mind helps me stay focused on my own path and happiness.