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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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USC, CSUDH, and Loma Linda University at the 16th Annual Tea with a Scholar


October 15, 2018
by Serena

Diversity Getting Involved

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At the 16th Annual Afternoon Tea with a Scholar, I received tips from self-care to ways to receive financial aid as a student and practicing OT. The event was very informative and a wonderful way to bring occupational therapists together. Previous student ambassadors have written about their experiences with past Tea with a Scholar events, which have featured Dr. Florence Clark and Dr. Ann McDonald.

So you may ask, “What is Afternoon Tea with a Scholar?” It is an annual event put on by occupational therapists. The intention is to bring the profession together to discuss current research in the field of Occupational Science. To set the scene a bit, there were students, faculty, and staff members from USC, Cal State Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), and Loma Linda University (LLU). Additionally, board members from occupational therapy organizations like the California Foundation of Occupational Therapy (CFOT) and the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) were present. So as you can probably tell it was a great way to get more connected with the larger OT community.

My colleagues and me at the 16th Annual Afternoon Tea with a Scholar proudly holding the Trojan sign in front of USC’s Center for Occupation and Lifestyle Redesign.

The event was held at USC’s historical Center for Occupation and Lifestyle Redesign. The topic of the afternoon was Community Health and Wellness. Dr. Julie Kugel was the honorable guest lecturer and is the director of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program at LLU. She presented on the current research she was engaged in and shared some of the impactful experiences that have shaped the scholar she is today. She addressed the concept of doubt and kindly stated that “Doubt does not make us any less, it makes us human.” The ability to select so many different paths in the field of occupational therapy at times creates doubt, at least for me (lol). However, with this new understanding, I find doubt to now be humanizing and a common life experience. Another concept that Dr. Julie Kugel spoke about was what it means to be a true scholar. A true scholar is a person who is able to engage in conversation and advocate for our profession. I find this skill to be crucial in our ability to expand in areas where OTs are not currently practicing but are so desperately needed in helping to promote overall health. Additionally, the benefits of volunteering at conferences was also touched upon since this allows you to understand and learn about what goes on behind the scenes. Plus, you can possibly receive a conference ticket discount by volunteering a couple of hours of your time. While volunteering, you never know who you may meet and what those connections may lead to in the vast world of occupational therapy.

Dr. Julie Kugel after her lecture on Community Health and Wellness

Dr. Julie Kugel after her lecture on Community Health and Wellness.