Faculty/Staff Resources Student Resources
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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Bethany A. Gruskin OTR/L(she/her)

Faculty Mentor: Bobbi Pineda PhD, OTR/L, CNT

Research Lab: NICU Therapy Lab

Year of Entry: 2021

Bethany Gruskin

To provide a brief background of my research experience, I joined the Back 2 Baby Basics (B2BB) research lab as an undergraduate research assistant. With a focus on early childhood temperament, my roles within this project included interacting directly with participants to collect data, coding videos for specific behaviors, entering and correcting information in datasets, and training new undergraduate research assistants. Upon graduation, I joined another Penn State project — the Study of Infant Emergent Sleep TrAjectories Family Foundations (SIESTA-FF) — as a full-time Human Research Technologist I. As a member of the start-up team for this National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded clinical trial, I worked closely with the Principal Investigator and the project coordinator to create operating procedures, ensure efficient protocols for data collection and entry, and recruit couples, who were first-time parents. After this initial startup process, I worked directly with families through each stage of the project, including informed consent and data collection. As a project based in human development and family studies the terminology diverged, but ultimately, we were looking at occupations, co-occupations, roles, and routines within the emerging family unit. With this foundation, I pursued my Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of New England and graduated in May 2021.

I am currently enrolled as an Occupational Science PhD student at the University of Southern California, immersed in Dr. Pineda’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Therapy Lab. My research interests focus on the outcomes of developmentally vulnerable infants and their families, especially pertaining to neurodevelopment, environment, and familial transitions. As a member of Dr. Pineda’s research team, I am responsible for collaborating with lab members to support research regarding the Supporting and Enhancing Neonatal Sensory Experience (SENSE) program, other projects evaluating neonatal outcomes post-NICU admission, and longitudinal follow-ups. My long-term goal is to promote positive outcomes for infants, caregivers, and therapeutic providers in the NICU through research.


Master of Science (MS) in Occupational Therapy, with Interprofessional Education Honors Distinction
2021 | University of New England

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biobehavioral Health with minors in Biology, Neuroscience, and Human Development and Family Studies
2017 | The Pennsylvania State University


Clarion Case Competition (1st Place) | 2020
University of New England


Conference Presentations/Proceedings

Imelio, C., Szabo, A., Jacob, C., Fabila, V., Seelbach, L., Froning, K., Gruskin, B., McOsker, H., Broussard, K., & Froehlich, J. (2020, January 4). Psychosis: Reframing occupational therapy practitioners’ approach to support development of therapeutic relations and occupational participation [Poster presentation]. 2nd Annual Occupational Therapy Association of Morocco Conference, Tangier, Morocco.