Hayley Escarcega OTD ’25
What brought you to occupational therapy?
As far back as high school I was inspired to help others gain their independence. Through volunteering with a program called Handwriting Without Tears, I witnessed children gain confidence through learning how to print and control their penmanship. Entering my undergraduate years, I knew becoming an OT would allow me to gain the education and skills I need to be able to impact others like these children. I made an intentional decision to pursue OT as a career also because of my volunteer work at an outpatient pediatric clinic.
Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.
I earned my bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in art studio. For my major, my favorite classes I took was sociology of medical practice and health psychology. In those classes, we examined the U.S. healthcare system and its interaction with patients, other healthcare professionals, and health care institutions. Additionally, we looked at how stress, coping, and pain management affect health and disease. For my minor, I focused my work in drawing and painting. One of the highlights was learning how to build and wrap a canvas.
What area of practice are you interested in?
Since high school I imagined myself working in a sensory integration pediatric clinic. However, through my shadowing and volunteering experiences I have developed an interest in acute care and wound care. I’m excited to learn and see how my interests evolve over the next three years!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
During my undergraduate years, I took my share of difficult courses. When I would come across difficult course material my mom would tell me, “Just get into it!”. I realized she was trying to get me to find something captivating in the material I was learning. Now, when I encounter a difficult or unpleasant task at hand I remember what my mom told me and it helps!
A mentor and friend told me “Nothing is for naught.” The events, the people we meet, the experiences we go through — good or bad — are intentional and have value.
You have your own late night talk show, who do you invite as your first guest?
Reba McEntire! Who doesn’t love the Reba show? She has such a great perspective on life and she’s an amazing country singer, too!