University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Student Blog


What’s a Student Ambassador?
Posted , by Kaho

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Tis the exciting season of student ambassador application and interviews for the 2020-2021 academic year! In that spirit, I thought I’d share a little bit about what I do and what I’ve enjoyed while fulfilling my role as one of this year’s student ambassadors. There are several responsibilities that are shared among the entire team and some that I am specifically responsible for.


  • Blogs
    All of the student ambassadors take turns writing and posting blogs, such as this one. We’re free to write about anything, as long as it’s appropriate. I was nervous at first because I don’t consider myself a writer, but it’s a really fun way to share your thoughts/experiences and get creative while you’re at it. Some ambassadors have shared blogs in the form of videos, pictures, interviews, etc. It’s also exciting when friends, family, or even strangers tell you that they read and enjoyed one of your blogs. 😊
  • Tours
    We’re assigned to give tours to prospective students depending on who is in the office when needed. Usually, we take the students to the main campus (UPC) and tour them around the Division’s Center for Occupation and Lifestyle Redesign and OT House, and then tour them around the Health Sciences Campus. I love getting to know different prospective students, hearing about their passion, and getting to share my experiences as a USC student too. I also enjoyed learning about the Chan Division’s history in order to prepare for the tours. I now have random interesting facts about USC stored in my back pocket if I ever need a topic for conversation.
  • Info Sessions / Big Events
    If you’ve ever signed up for an info session, you most likely met a student ambassador sitting in on the session. We get to chime in about what each course in the MA2 program covers, our experiences, and student life. This is another opportunity to meet all kinds of prospective students. At big events where a lot of helping hands are needed, we all work, like the admitted students reception and white coat ceremony. Though it’s a busy day, it’s exciting and fun to be working with the whole team. I love the feeling I get after finishing a successful event and sharing it with everyone.
  • Answering emails
    Throughout the year, we get various emails with questions regarding the application process, program overview, events, etc. Everyone checks the student ambassador email account when they come into the office to work and answer those emails or refer them to someone that can.


  • Managing Social Media
    I collaborate with Kim Kho (AKA our boss) weekly to come up with content to share to our social media platforms. We look up national and international holidays, month-long observances, and relevant events happening around the Division and USC. The idea is to feature students and faculty of the Division to inform the general public of what’s happening in our program. I’ve loved being able to stay up-to-date with all that’s happening at USC Chan and interviewing various students and faculty about the amazing things they’re doing. It’s also super interesting to analyze the data from social media, like who are our viewers, how many interactions are we getting per post, etc. I wasn’t a huge social media person before getting this position, but I’ve learned so much about advertising, taking the right picture, coming up with captions, and the internet in general and I’ve really enjoyed all my tasks. (Follow us on instagram! @uscchanosot)
  • Meet the Trojan Family
    Every Tuesday, we feature a student from our OS minor, bachelors to master’s, MA1, MA2, OTD, or PhD programs to celebrate the diversity in talents and backgrounds of the students. I collect the students’ submissions and make sure the post goes up on our website on time. (If you’re interested in being featured, email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  😉 )

I love being a student ambassador because I get to learn more about the program, see the hard-work that goes on behind the scenes to improve our program and admissions process, and I get to share about and advocate for our profession. It’s made me a better communicator and public speaker, polished my time-management skills, sharpened my leadership skills, and introduced me to the best ambassadors team a girl could ask for. I’m super thankful that I had the opportunity this year to help represent the Chan Division and I’m looking forward to welcoming in the new team for next year!

ambassadors team 2019-2020

Ambassadors Team of 2019-2020


I was running (Forrest Gump voice*)
Posted , by Kat

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Pictured is an Apple Watch with the distance of 5 miles, pace 9 minutes and 53 seconds, and total run time 49 minutes and 59 seconds.

I found my Zen after this run yesterday!

50 minutes of running? Wild right?! Just 3 months ago, I would have laughed that I could have ran for this long. Balancing school, work, a social life, and self-care can be mad difficult at times. There is always readings to do, emails to send, and people to text. But I have recently found that running helps clear my mind. Running helps keep me sane and active. I feel accomplished when I make time to run because I feel like I am managing my time well, I feel more confident in my ability to take care of my body, and I feel empowered when I do something for ME! Before starting my running journey, I had no idea how much stress I carried in my body, both mentally and physically. On my runs, especially the long runs, it is just me, my thoughts, and my music. Eminem said it best, “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you better never let it go”. I do get lost in the music and the moment during my runs. Everyone needs a way to release and relieve stress. Running is my way. Staying organized, working ahead on assignments, and prioritizing my responsibilities helps me take care of me. When I run, it means I am taking care of all of these things. It is easy to get lost in the sauce of grad school. Don’t be afraid to try out new activities and explore what helps keep your well-being balanced. I had no interest in running growing up. Now I am up to 5 mile runs and love it. Almost to Forrest Gump status. Time to catch these miles!



Why I use a paper planner… in addition to all my synced ones.
Posted , by Catherine

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This weekend I had the opportunity to go to Newport with my family.  Despite being a couple of weeks into the semester, meaning I am now revving into full gear of balancing residency, classes and my private life, one of the benefits of living in the Los Angeles County area is that no matter where you are living, you’re never too far away from some fun in the sun.  Luckily, having visitors from out of the area always gives us the excuse to take full advantage of this.

family playing basketball

Throughout my experience in the OTD program, I have found that it is helpful to not only develop a planning system that works for me, but to also to set realistic timelines for how much each task will take.  Balancing the schedules of my family member’s with my own has taken a considerable amount of trial and error, but I’ve found a way that has worked for me and my family. 

First is my schedule, it has been natural to utilize the Google Calendar and Outlook applications that connect seamlessly with my USC and Chan email accounts to make sure I am on top of any event invitations offered by the school, and any meetings that may be scheduled throughout the semester.  I have been able to subscribe to my nephews’ school calendars that are automatically synced to my Google Calendar, so I can be aware of any school events or holidays in advance.  This has allowed for a nicely organized monthly calendar on my laptop.

computer screen calendar

However, this can sometimes get a bit cluttered.  While de-selecting some calendars will help in visual clarity, I have a secondary paper planner that I use to organize and orient myself daily. 

traditional paper calendar

I use this as my daily mental practice of calm.  Going through my “master calendar”, cross referencing with my shared calendars, and then prioritizing my tasks into a to-do list.  In my experience, taking about 10 minutes every morning to do this has been very helpful not only in keeping track of my tasks, but giving me a minute to connect with what is meaningful to me personally, and motivating me throughout my day.

children jumping into a pool

With this daily practice, I am able to stay on track, plan my week, and make sure I make the time for not only my work, school, but for those special memory making moments with my loved ones.


Lifestyle Redesign®: From Theory to Reality
Posted , by Japeth

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One of the many reasons why I came to USC is because of the Lifestyle Redesign® course elective. As an occupational therapy practitioner in my home country, I felt as though my role in targeting health and wellness promotion is still quite unclear. I knew that OTs have a huge role in such area, but to me, I just did not know where, when, and how I can advocate for myself in this field.

I learned about Lifestyle Redesign® – an approach in occupational therapy that allows clients to achieve health, behavior, or lifestyle changes – through a friend who also took this course years ago. Finally, this semester, I am taking this elective course and all I can say is it is just amazing! Dr. Dieterle teaches with so much passion and she makes sure that the class is interactive. The class flows this way:

1. On the first day of this class, we started with a little introduction about ourselves and our reason for taking this course; during the second session and onwards, we start the class with a recap of last week’s session.

2. Dr. Camille Dieterle will discuss the topic for the day. It could be about how to use different assessment tools or how to utilize specific strategies and intervention.

3. We also get to practice this approach with our classmates. We are grouped into a triad and let’s name the students as A, B, and C. So, student A will be the therapist of student B; student B will be the therapist of student C; and student C will be the therapist of student A.

My therapist and I are now on our third week of session. During the first session, she interviewed me to create an occupational profile that was very holistic. During that session, I informed her about my adjustment with the new semester. I find this semester quite overwhelming, but still very manageable. We are working on a goal about rest and sleep, which includes creating a night routine.

I appreciate how my therapist gives so much attention to me and to my goal. She makes sure that every session that we have is interactive and client-led. She gives me worksheets about rest, sleep, and even drafting a routine. Last session, she gave a sleep checklist that I can fill up at night before I sleep and the morning after – this is to keep me in check!

Here’s to achieving a healthier mind and body this 2020!! Fight on!


Thank you occupational therapy for…
Posted , by Kevin

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I’ve loved every class and experience here at USC in the Entry-Level Master’s Program! Not only have I grown as a profession and student, but I have grown greatly as a person from my time in this occupational therapy program. So to show my gratitude to this wonderful profession, I would like to say thank you occupational therapy for…

Showing me the importance and meaning behind the occupations in my life. From school, to family, to leisure, I learned the value that each occupation holds in my life and how to balance my daily schedule so that I can spend more time doing the occupations I love.

Teaching me to be mindful. The concepts of mindfulness were covered in several courses throughout the program and I have adopted many of the mindfulness strategies into my life such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and most importantly being present in the moment. Mindfulness has allowed me to connect with clients, friends, and family on a deeper level than I had in the past and I will always be grateful for this.

Giving me the strength and knowledge to pick myself up when I feel stressed or down. Through the mental health immersion and wellness courses, I gained valuable insight into the impact occupation has on my mood and stress. By keeping in touch with my emotions and stress, I have been able to make small changes to the occupations in my life to improve my wellbeing. For example, after performing a self-assessment called the Occupational Questionnaire, I realized that I was no longer exercising which was an occupation that always helps me reduce stress. With this information, I was able to reschedule my days to allow for time to exercise and quickly regained the physical and emotion benefits that come along with physical activity. 

Improving my leadership and advocacy abilities. Both in the program and in my role as a Student Ambassador, I have had the privilege to step into many leadership roles and promote the profession of occupational therapy.

While I only named a few of the things I am grateful for, there are numerous ways occupational therapy has improved my life. If you have an interest in occupational therapy…know that you have discovered a gem of a profession that will give back as much as you put in!

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