Doris Pierce PhD ’96, OTR/L, FAOTA
What brought you to occupational therapy?
I got into occupational therapy through two forces. I was an older sister of a brother with disabilities, so I wanted to make a difference for those kids. Also, I grew up in a creative family of artists and teachers, where doing was learning and all of it was fun.
Why did you decide to pursue your PhD in Occupational Science?
I pursued my PhD because I wanted to serve my field. Also, I love developing theory and the creativity of doing research. They satisfy my curiosity.
What was the most rewarding part of being in the PhD program?
My experience of the PhD in Occupational Science was one of rapid intellectual growth. I was challenged and transformed. I began publishing in my master’s program at USC and just continued from there. Opportunities for collaboration and exciting research and grant projects were limited only by the time in the day. I received a Dissertation Grant Award form AOTA/AOTF and the Elizabeth June Yerxa Award at graduation.
What are you are doing now?
Since 2000, I have been the Endowed Chair in Occupational Therapy at Eastern Kentucky University. In this unique legislatively-created position, I work primarily with Ph.D. students in our Rehabilitation Sciences program, do research, and help younger scholars in my department to plan and develop their own work.