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USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Three Reasons Why I Chose USC OSOT ⟩
October 17, 2016, by Raisa


“Why did you want to go to USC?” this was a question I would get a lot while I was working on my application. I never really knew what to say except “why not USC?” Now having experienced the MA-1 program for myself I have come up with a short summary of why I love USC and I would like to share them with you.

1. History

USC has been a cornerstone for research and development in the field occupational therapy. Theories such as Sensory Integration, Lifestyle redesign, and occupational science took root in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

The Center for for Occupation amd Lifestyle Redesign, this historic house is home of the world's first center dedicated to the study of how everyday occupations help shape human health and well-being

The Center for for Occupation amd Lifestyle Redesign, this historic house is home of the world’s first center dedicated to the study of how everyday occupations help shape human health and well-being.

2. The Trojan Family

USC is home to some of the most recognized minds in the field of occupational therapy, many of whom are faculty members who teach classes at USC. The faculty members have expertise in their own practice areas, mainly in the fields of research, education, and clinical practice. USC OSOT also hosts a Global Initiatives project. The Global initiatives project aims to enhance the profession of occupational therapy on a global scale.

White Coat Ceremony 2016, a special event that marks your entrance into the health care profession of Occupational Therapy

White Coat Ceremony 2016, a special event that marks your entrance into the health care profession of Occupational Therapy.

3. #CareerGoals

“#CareerGoals” is what my friends back home would say when we do things that help us achieve our goals. Having practiced occupational therapy for about a year, I was able to reflect how I wanted to structure my practice. I want to specialize in the field of neurorehabilitation and acute care settings. My long-term goal would be to complete my Doctorate degree (OTD) for advanced clinical practice or clinical research in neurorehabilitation.

Post-Professional Master's Cohort, Class of 2017. This was taken during our White Coat ceremony.

Post-Professional Master’s Cohort, Class of 2017. This was taken during our White Coat ceremony.

USC plays an integral role in helping me achieve my career goals, I cannot imagine me taking my master’s program anywhere else. No regrets here! I hope you will consider working towards your #Careergoals and have USC help you in achieving them.


White Coat, Bright Memories ⟩
September 1, 2016, by Kimmy

Admissions Community Getting Involved Living in LA

This past Friday, I attended the Chan Division’s 6th White Coat Ceremony. For those who are unfamiliar with the tradition, the White Coat Ceremony began as a way to mark medical students’ induction into medical school. Over time, other health professions — including occupational therapy — have adopted the tradition.

OT students welcomed with white coats

OT students welcomed with white coats

One year ago, I was sitting in a folding chair, wondering how I would be able to wear a coat in the 95 degree weather. Luckily, my excitement made me forget all about the heat! At the time, I was one of ten undergraduate seniors in the Bachelor’s to Master’s Occupational Therapy Program. The White Coat Ceremony falls annually, on the first Friday of the fall semester, meaning I did not know many of the other students yet, besides those other nine seniors. Though I was initially a bit intimidated by the 130 Master’s students surrounding us, these strangers have since become some of my closest friends and biggest inspirations.

Fight on, Bachelor's to Master's students!

Fight on, Bachelor’s to Master’s students!

This time around, I experienced the ceremony as a student ambassador. Instead of anxiously awaiting my turn to walk on stage, I now eagerly await the opportunity to meet my new classmates and future colleagues. Being on the other side of this event not only allowed me to appreciate the attention to detail required for such occasions, but also made me realize how quickly time moves and things change. As difficult as my transition to graduate school felt at times, I look back on my first year with extreme gratitude. The white coat may get dirty, but the memories will never fade!

Fellow Ambassador, Erwin, taking the Oath of the Occupational Therapist

Fellow Ambassador, Erwin, taking the Oath of the Occupational Therapist


A Positive Move ⟩
August 24, 2016, by Jessica

Admissions What are OS/OT?

For my first blog post, I wanted to share my story of how I found OT. I always find it so interesting to hear other people’s stories of how they discovered OT, and I hope that some of you can relate to my experience.

During my junior year at UCLA, I felt a little uncertain about what I would do after graduation with a degree in International Development Studies. Sure, I loved learning about other countries and cultures, but I wasn’t sure about how I could translate that passion into a career. However, I had a lot of experience working with children and adolescents throughout high school and college, and knew that was something I was good at. So with the advice of some close friends, I decided to apply for an Americorps program called Teach for America, where they recruit recent college grads to teach in underserved, low-income communities around the US. Fueled by my passions of working with children and social justice, I felt like this was the best career move for me. So within a week of my undergrad graduation, I packed up my whole life and moved across the country to Brooklyn, NY to be a 3rd grade Special Education teacher. Sidenote: This also happens to be where I met my fiancé/future husband.

My first two years of teaching were the most challenging years of my life, compounded by feelings of homesickness and constant questioning of whether teaching was the right career for me. Then one day, I vividly remember seeing a woman (who I had never seen before) with a stockpile of hula hoops and giant stability balls working with a student in the hallway. This student, who was previously crying and throwing tantrums every day in class, now had the biggest smile on his face and was appropriately communicating with the woman. I was intrigued, and asked my co-teacher who she was. She aptly replied, “Oh her? She’s an occupational therapist.”

That night I went home and Google searched everything I could find on occupational therapy. I couldn’t believe that this was my first time hearing about OT — everything I was reading felt like it was a perfect fit for me, combining my passion for helping people and opportunities to be creative. I kept this research in the back of my mind for the next year, before ultimately deciding to move back to San Francisco to continue teaching closer to home. Despite the change of setting, I still had the feeling that a change of career was what I needed. As a special education teacher, often working closely with occupational therapists, I was able to see the transformative power of OT in my students’ lives. One student had severe difficulties with emotional regulation, and after his OT sessions, he would come back with the biggest smile on his face. Over time, he was better able to articulate his feelings using the “Zones of Regulation,” and use healthy coping strategies (i.e., drawing, using lotion) to replace unhealthy coping strategies (i.e., tantrums). Witnessing these positive changes, I realized that I was much more passionate about helping kids with their socio-emotional skills than their math skills. After volunteering at an outpatient pediatric clinic, and many conversations with occupational therapists, friends and family, I decided to fully commit to applying to OT school. I only had a year to complete all my prerequisites, but I knew the struggle would be worth it to start a new career I was truly passionate about.

Jessica graduating at White Coat ceremony

Jessica graduating at White Coat ceremony

And now this brings me here to USC. After a year in the program, I can honestly say this is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I feel so grateful to have found a profession that allows me to make close connections with people and provide them with the skills and tools to empower themselves to create positive change in their own lives.

Thanks for visiting my blog, and I’m excited to share the rest of my experiences with you all this year!


Summer is in Full Swing! ⟩
June 17, 2016, by Megan

Admissions Community

Today, the sun is shining and the hallways are buzzing with new OT students!

This past Monday was orientation for all of the new Entry-Level Master’s Students, and I could not be more excited for them to be here! It has been such a pleasure getting to meet some of these students and to learn a bit about how they found their way to USC’s OT program. Each student has such an interesting (and often vastly different) history that has led them to this point, and I think it is so fun to hear how their undergraduate major/ volunteer experience/ personal encounters with OTs have changed their lives and brought them here!

Sadly the only picture that I have from orientation, but so fun to be in an auditorium full of such amazing students and faculty!

It has also been so amazing to meet prospective students at our summer Info Sessions. These prospective OT students always impress me with their knowledge and passion for the profession — and some have luckily discovered their love for OT at quite a young age! I would have to say one of my favorite parts about being an ambassador is talking with prospective high school students. They often have the most interesting stories about how they found OT and have developed such an early passion for the profession. Plus, it is always fun to go on and on about how much I love the Bachelor to Master’s Program! 😊

Happy Friday, Everyone! Try and stay cool this weekend. And to all the new students . . . Welcome to the Trojan Family!! We are so excited for you to start this journey.


It’s That Time of Year Again! ⟩
January 14, 2016, by Jodie


Hello everyone!

As you have probably already read from the other ambassadors’ blogs, we are back from our month long winter break! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with their family and friends. :lol: I can’t believe that this is our last semester before we graduate in May and then complete our last level II fieldwork! It has been very exciting meeting current applicants and prospective students visiting our campus.

I remember when I was waiting to hear back from USC in regards to my admission status, I was so anxious and nervous. I must have checked my emails at least 20 times a day and my mailbox sometimes twice a day (even on Sundays when we don’t get mail! :ohh:). When I received my admissions letter in the mail, I remember I couldn’t stop crying because this was my biggest dream come true and all the hard work really felt like it paid off. For those of you who have applied to our program and are currently waiting to hear back about your admission status, try your best to just enjoy this time you have now that you’ve completed and submitted your apps. That in itself is such a great accomplishment and you should definitely reward yourself by doing something to relax!

My parents always remind me that “what is meant to be, will be” and I think this is a great motto to always keep in mind, especially when waiting to hear back from schools. Don’t forget that the student ambassadors are always available to you and you can reach out to us anytime with questions or concerns you may have about student life here at USC OT! Best of luck to everyone who has applied to our program! I hope to meet many of you within these upcoming months :cheese:.

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