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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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Friendtorship Circles 2021-2022

by Global Initiatives Team

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Diversity Getting Involved

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By Brendan La Scala, OTR, Global Initiatives Doctoral Candidate

Editors Alison Chang and Vanessa ElShamy
Entry-Level Professional Master’s students

Danny Park OTD, OTR/L (pictured on the right) and Brendan LaScala, OTD student (pictured on the left) at the ice cream social/Friendtorship mixer in November 2021

This semester, Global Initiatives hosted our first in-person Friendtorship (friendship + mentorship) Circles event for the USC Chan community. Friendtorship Circles were intentionally created with students in our Post-Professional Master’s, Entry-Level Master’s (first and second years), OTD, PhD, Bachelor’s to Master’s, and Bachelor’s to Doctorate programs. Meetings were held one time per month, with each event including large and small group discussions and activities for students to get to know each other.

The Friendtorship Circles were started in the summer of 2020 as a product of the Chan Community Commission, a student initiative that aims to help cultivate connections between incoming Master’s students. Second-year Professional Master’s students formed this commission, recognizing the importance of social connection, having received a significant portion of their education experience remotely. At the end of the summer, Global Initiatives decided to add the Friendtorship Circles to their programming with a focus on the international student population.

First virtual Friendtorship EventFirst virtual Friendtorship Event

First virtual Friendtorship Event

Students took the time out of their busy schedules to share moments with other students, some whom they had never met before; this represents the nature of the occupational therapy community. Our very own Josh Digao (MA-1) stated that, “Friendtorship was a way for me to connect with people I would have never met otherwise and I am grateful that Global Initiatives provided this amazing opportunity to us.” The Friendtorship Circles served our community by providing an avenue for international students to get to know local students from other cohorts in the Chan Division. Below are some pictures from our time together during the Fall semester. I am personally excited to continue this effort as a member of the Friendtorship planning committee and plan to help expand the program this Spring semester!

First in-person Friendtorship event with groups pictured on the Broad Lawn during a surprisingly gloomy day at the USC Health Science Campus