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
X/Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Student Blog


Health Professional Puzzle Pieces ⟩
October 2, 2015, by Rashelle

Getting Involved

One of the greatest things that USC offers is the chance to learn from and network with the breadth of programs offered at USC. This past Saturday I attended the 5th Annual Inter-professional Health Symposium. This unique opportunity allowed me to interact and collaborate with USC students in their journey of becoming doctors, physician assistants, pharmacists or physical therapists. USC was even able to invite nurses from Mount Saint Mary’s University, to further expand the disciplines represented! The conference focused on the large-scale issue of Urban Health, and emphasized how the solution lies within the cohesion of our health professions.

Teaching Teamwork

Teaching Teamwork

Each speaker talked about the individual responsibilities of each profession, and the necessity of interdependence if we truly wanted to form an effective, patient-centered recovery process.

Collaboration during Lunch

Collaboration during Lunch

During lunch, we were given a case study to practice our newly acquired skills, which we have learned in our respective programs thus far. I was beyond excited to able to tell other professions about what occupational therapists can do with our holistic lens, creative adaptations and healthy routines! It was also exciting being able to reconnect with friends from my undergraduate years at USC.

Fight on forever!

OTs at Symposium

OTs at Symposium

Lastly, it was nice to see my fellow occupational therapy colleagues representing our profession in casual conversation and groups alongside me!

Stacey Janofsky, a first year occupational therapy student, can attest to the value of the symposium as she even mentioned it as her favorite memory in the program thus far.


My Favorite Occupation: Socializing! ⟩
September 22, 2015, by Rashelle

Fieldwork What are OS/OT?

As humans, we are social creatures who crave and rely upon close interactions with others. The ability to socialize is a skill that most of us have, utilize daily, and may frequently take for granted. As occupational therapists we can analyze the art of socializing and can facilitate this complex process with individuals who may have difficulties doing so.

To give you an example, at the CHLA UCEDD (Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, University Center of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities), where I completed my second Level I Fieldwork, I worked with children with selective mutism. These kids had extreme levels of anxiety in social situations, which prevented them from speaking to classmates, teachers, and even certain family members. In the treatment session, I observed how two children, who were both selectively mute, could overcome their apprehensions of speaking by engaging in meaningful activities. Since children love playing, we utilized fun, intrinsically motivating games, to encourage the children to speak to one another and to step out of their comfort zones.

Also at the UCEDD I was able to observe a social skills training program called the Secret Agent Society. This group allowed boys with high-functioning autism to role play being secret agents, with the mission of decoding the thoughts and emotions of others. Typically, children diagnosed on the autism spectrum have difficulties communicating and forming relationships. The Secret Agent Society creates an open and stimulating environment to target these social skills. The creative intervention also utilizes an interactive computer game, board game, and even “home mission” work sheets, to facilitate hands on learning and the application of learned skills to real life scenarios.

These fieldwork experiences at the CHLA UCEDD are just a few of the many, which have opened my eyes to the key role that occupational therapists can have in social skill development. Additionally, USC provides its own type of hands on learning, through the emphasis on engaging socially with students and staff outside of the classroom. Since USC’s occupational therapy program is the largest in the nation, there are many opportunities to socialize with a diverse variety of students. Also, USC encourages students to form closer relationships with faculty through mentor-mentee gatherings, faculty/student socials (organized by our student council professional development chairs), USC specific receptions at state or national conferences, and more!

Disco Party

The division threw an end of the summer disco party for us!

USC Tailgate

Tailgating is a tradition at USC and what better way to do it than with all of your favorite colleagues?!

OTAC Conference with Rafeedie

Last year at the 38th Annual OTAC Conference held in Pasadena, California we got to hang out with Dr. Rafeedie after she gave a captivating presentation to students from all over California


My Career Treasure Hunt ⟩
September 9, 2015, by Rashelle

What are OS/OT?

When I first came to USC I double majored in undecided and undeclared. I scrolled through the USC list of majors, highlighting anything remotely interesting: psychology, human biology, linguistics, cognitive science, environmental studies, philosophy, health and humanities, health promotion and disease prevention. While I found some interest in how human bodies functioned, what captivated me most was how humans reached a state of happiness and fulfillment. Immediately, once viewing the USC occupational therapy website, I fell in love. The holistic yet individualistic nature of OT is what drew me to this profession. Occupational therapy somehow managed to combine all of the majors I had previously considered, while introducing a key element to recovery that I had never thought of before — occupation. The idea of helping people achieve their greatest potential and life satisfaction, simply by creating the opportunity for them to do something they love, fascinated me. Ever since this moment of realization, I have been happier than ever before. I ultimately found the hidden gem that is occupational therapy, which embodies everything I could have ever wanted in a career. I’ve discovered the way, in which I can make a positive difference in lives daily, by encouraging people to live fully, with or without a disability.

Finding occupational therapy amidst the sea of other career paths, was the hard part. However, remaining just as in love with the profession as I was from the start was easy. Every day in this master’s program somehow increases my excitement, strengthens my passions and expands my curiosity to learn more. Now, here are a few pictures that document my never-ending pursuit of happiness, which ultimately helps others to pursue happiness as well!

Author graduates from USC bachelor's program

Getting my Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy! USC Graduation 2015, FIGHT ON!

Author and friend at white coat ceremony

White Coat Ceremony with my favorite study buddy!

Affirmation cards

One of my favorite activities to increase self-esteem and encrouage positive health promoting behaviors. It’s hard not to smile with this in your wallet!

Author receives vestibular input from swing

Happy to be learning about sensory integration in USC’s pediatric gym!

Page 3 of 3 |  < 1 2 3