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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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Rashelle's Blog


The POT of LUCK at the End of The Year Rainbow >

by Rashelle

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Today is officially my last day of classes within the the Two-Year Master of Arts degree program for Occupational Therapy! This week my biggest stressors were preparing enough food to accommodate all of the potlucks that we have in celebration!

On Monday, the second year bible study leaders handed off the torch to the first year leaders with a wonderful picnic.

Bible Study Picnic Potluck

On Tuesday, we had our final practicum in OT 599: Occupation-Based Adult Neurorehabilitation, then celebrated with a giant feast!

Neurorehabilitation potluck

Then, today for my final class assignment, I will facilitate a group in OT 583: Lifestyle Redesign. I am a member of the group focused on, “Sensory Strategies for Wellness,” which Joe had previously mentioned in his blog. To lead this session I prepared different food items for my group members to sample. Each item was intentionally picked to serve as either an alerting or calming gustatory stimuli, in order to regulate one’s emotions and stress throughout the day.

Sensory Strategies for Wellness Food

While my session is targeting taste as a sensory strategy for wellness, my classmates have led the groups prior, which discuss the other senses. Thus, to summarize and provide closure to our group, I also created this worksheet to remind everyone of what we have learned throughout our semester.

Toolkit for Sensory Strategies

Essentially, we built a toolkit of sensory strategies, to serve as a visual reminder, whenever we experience those emotions listed. I can’t wait to be able to utilize this with clients in the near future!


AOTA National Conference Highlights! >

by Rashelle

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My first AOTA conference was amazing! While Jodie, Joe and I all attended, we each had very unique experiences.

50 year members

1) I volunteered at the welcoming ceremony where I got to walk in the 50+ year members of AOTA. It was an incredible honor, and you should’ve seen my beaming ear to ear grin from behind that sign! It was an incredible feeling to know that in 48 years I could be walking in line with these phenomenally dedicated practitioners.

2nd year master students

2) The USC Trojan Alumni Party is always a great time! This picture shows just some of my 2nd year colleagues that I mingled with surrounded by professors and program graduates.

Hull House

3) I was able to see the famous Hull House that we learn so much about through our Foundations of Occupational Therapy course. This is one of the places that cultivated the initial paradigm of healing through occupation!

Exhibit Hall

4) At the Exhibit Hall I was able to speak with poster presenters, OT companies, and supply vendors! Through the poster presentations I learned about programs being developed all throughout the nation, while networking with practitioners and students with similar interests. As you can tell, there was a lot going on! I loved this because the Expo Hall truly provided a booth that fit everyone’s interest, and room to expand your interests even further! 

Rashelle with AOTA sign

5) Attending this conference was only possible through a scholarship that I had acquired through the OT department! I entered a video submission for the OT Extravaganza student video contest and won! Thank you to the OT department for providing me with such a wonderful learning, growing, and meaningful conference experience.


Annyeonghaseyo Korea! >

by Rashelle

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Hello all! The past couple of weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of events for us second year master’s students. Each year for our leadership capstone, USC students participate in a 2-week externship. Heather describes in detail what that is in her previous blog.

I, along with 10 other classmates, chose to go to South Korea, to participate in one of externships provided by the USC Chan Division of Global Initiatives. We were split between three universities, Inje, Yonsei and Soonchunhyang, and were able to experience a cultural immersion within each respective occupational therapy department. We learned about occupational therapy by studying the diversity within health care and educational systems, along with culture-specific population needs of people with disabilities in Korea. As occupational therapists we realize the importance of understanding each client’s customs, routines and motivations in order to help them participate in meaningful activities. Inje University allowed us to obtain this cultural knowledge by interacting with professors and students, participating in occupational therapy treatment sessions at the HOPE clinic (Healing through Occupational Performance Enhancement) and attending classroom lectures. Dr. An, the therapist and professor we learned from in Korea, taught us specifically about how to be a compassionate, energetic and knowledgable leader in one’s field, which is a lesson that I will take with me no matter what practice area I enter. By coming to Korea we all received much more than we had expected. Aside from all of the knowledge gained about occupational therapy, we believe that we have truly grown as individuals by the relationships formed with Inje University administrators, professors and students. Here is a video that we made to thank everyone at Inje University, which you may enjoy watching if you’re curious to know more!

Furthermore, while I learned so much from actually going to Korea, the best preparation for this trip actually came from meeting Korean students ahead of time during their visit to the United States! Six Yonsei University students actually came to USC about a month ago to experience a similar cultural immersion in America.

Koreans at Griffiths Park

While they were here to learn about occupational therapy at USC, we actually learned so much from them as well!

Koreans Presenting

They were able to give me a heads up on what to expect in Korea, and how to impress my friends at Inje University with popular Korean expressions and cute little hand gestures.

Heart Gesture

Now I can truly feel as though I know both sides of a cultural immersion, by serving as a host to Korean visitors, as well as a guest of honor. Neither of these experiences would have been possible though, without the planning and coordinating efforts of Dr. Daniel Park, and the rest of the USC Chan Division of Global Initiatives.

Koreans at USC

I am forever appreciative for the work that Global Initiatives has done to make these remarkable experiences possible! If you want to learn more about other Global Initiative projects you can see their Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/USCChanOSOTGlobal/?fref=ts


A Sneak Peek into our SChedule and Classes! >

by Rashelle

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Here’s a visual representation of our semester class schedule!

Class Schedule

To break it down for you:

Mondays: We are typically all together in the lecture hall, learning core elements that are essential to our profession (ex: health and wellness, behavioral neuroscience, adulthood and aging, clinical reasoning & therapeutic use of self).

Lecture Room

Tuesdays: You meet with your cohort in your semester-specific practice immersion (either Adult Physical Rehabilitation, Mental Health or Pediatrics), in a room that holds about 1/3 of your class, or about 45 people.

Regular Room

Wednesdays: Last semester, when this screenshot of my schedule was taken, I had my fieldwork day on Wednesday! We spend a full day at a site, relevant to our practice immersion, which offers us a chance to observe treatments with people in real life.

Thursdays: Every week for 3 hours, you will be enrolled in a lab that matches your practice immersion. This lab contains ½ of your cohort, or about 22 people, and gives you hands-on experience to practice certain assessments or techniques on your fellow classmates! You will also have another core class emphasizing the importance of research, so that we may incorporate evidence-based practice in therapy.

Lab Room

Fridays: Days off! People use this time to work, research, or relax. This past Friday was actually our annual OT Vegas Trip! It was so nice to participate in ALL my favorite occupations as we hiked, ate at buffets, danced, and socialized throughout it all!

Hiking Red Rock Canyon

Shout out to the MA-I students who are from various countries, and taught me so much about international OT practices! So happy I got to bond with you all this trip!


The Highs and Highers of 2015 >

by Rashelle

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Happy New Year everyone!

In a nutshell, 2015 was a tremendous year! I graduated with my Bachelors of Science in Occupational Therapy from USC, I completed my final two practice immersions in pediatrics and adult physical rehabilitation, then, I ultimately said farewell to my amazing cohort.

I developed a community project proposal, which I could envision myself implementing as I become a more seasoned clinician; I learned how to cook easy, cheap and healthy meals; and I created everlasting friendships with my OT friends through our class trips to Big Bear Mountain, Las Vegas, and every pocket of Los Angeles from Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Korea Town, Little Tokyo, Hollywood, Pasadena and Downtown Los Angeles. 

Big Bear Lookout

Through all of these events, I’ve grown as an individual professionally, personally, socially, spiritually, and thankfully avoided growing horizontally! When thinking about all the ways in which I’ve matured, I’ve realized that I can owe almost all of it to being in this program. The occupational therapy program at USC truly embraces the holistic lens of our profession, cultivating individuals in every aspect of their lives. For example, in classes such as Health Promotion and Wellness, we are guided in exercises promoting self-analysis and goal setting, in order to integrate healthy habits into our daily lives. Not only is stress management crucial for our future patients, but also relevant in our own lives as graduate students! Furthermore, in the OT & Faith bible study, which took place during lunch, we learned about the overlap between our personal beliefs and professionalism.

Bible Study Group

Then, just a few days ago we had our first class in our leadership capstone course. While each class we have taken thus far emphasizes becoming a leader in whichever practice area we pursue, I am excited to learn about specific qualities, traits, actions and leadership styles that will help me excel further in life. Lastly, while we are no longer studying our practice immersions in cohorts, I am looking forward to delving into electives of interest with new classmates—particularly those from the Post-Professional Master’s Degree (MA I) Program, and the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Program. While 2015 was glorious, I know that 2016 will provide even more memories to cherish as we come to the end of our program, and enter the real world.

Superhero OT

Ready or not, here we come (shortly)!

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