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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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Back to Reality ⟩
September 13, 2011, by Chris

Community Living in LA School/Life Balance

Well, the first week of class has come and gone, which means it’s back to reality.

Although the return to class may not be at the top of my “things I enjoy” list, it was actually really nice to hang out with friends I haven’t seen since May. The start of fall semester also means the start of football season. This Saturday marks the Trojans’ season-opener against Minnesota. I’m looking forward to meeting up with some friends at the unofficial OT tailgate. I’m anticipating an excellent second year in the program (which will hopefully help me make a decision about the OTD).


Welcome International Students! ⟩
September 13, 2011, by Kimberly

Community International

Last weekend I attended the first-ever international student welcome BBQ at Dr. Erna Blanche’s house. This year the OT department decided to pair 2nd year students with international students entering the program. It was really nice to be able to meet all the international students in a setting outside of class. The informality of being in someone’s home, being next to the beach, and actually having time to talk was much appreciated.

After introductions and a nice meal with a few faculty and administrators, all of us students walked around the marina and down through the sand to the ocean. It was fun to see some of the international students react to seeing the Pacific for the first time or being reminded of their oceans at home. It reminded me of my study abroad experience in college when I finally got to see the ocean in Portugal after being landlocked in the middle of Spain for 3 months; a much-needed reprieve for this southern California girl.

We all got to watch the sunset and then just hang out a bit more before heading home. I am excited to get to know all the international students more and talk to them about OT in their home countries. Though I may know LA, I have a lot to learn from them about global issues and how we can work together to strengthen our profession. It’s a really exciting program and I hope that USC continues with it in years to come.


Engage ⟩
March 27, 2011, by Austen

Community Getting Involved

Every Thursday evening, the OT house hosts a weekly program called Engage. We pick up kids in the neighborhood, bring them back to the OT House, help them with their homework, engage in a group activity, eat dinner together, then take the kids home. It is such a fun and rewarding experience right down the hall from me!

I have always loved giving back to the community. Feeling part of it, learning from it, improving it, making a difference. Engage has been my weekly contribution. However, it is not just to the community, but to the lives of those children. I love being part of the group of OT students who serve as mentors and friends, promoting the importance of doing well in school, setting goals, and working hard. I truly enjoy being a role model and setting a positive example for them to look up to. In this day and age, there are so many distractions that can get kids in trouble. Engage is a way to help keep focus and priorities among our youth, keeping them excited about school and their futures.

My favorite activity we have done so far was planting vegetables and herbs in the large planting boxes on our patio at the OT House. The kids had a great time organizing the planters, spacing out the seeds, placing the seeds in the soil, and labeling each row. As the weeks have gone by, the veggies and herbs have grown so much that the kids get to see the results of something they did together. That was a great activity, promoting team work, collaboration, community building, taking turns, and sustainability.

As the school year starts winding down, we have just a few weeks left of Engage. Since I will not be here next year, it will be very sad to have to say goodbye to the kids that come every week who I have developed relationships with. It has been such a joy watching them grow over this past year, and I know they will continue to grow up into wonderful people. I just hope they have gotten as much out of the program as I have.


Interdisciplinary Communication ⟩
December 6, 2010, by Yao

Community Getting Involved What are OS/OT?

The importance of interdisciplinary communcation and engagement.

This past weekend Amanda and I were a part of an interdisciplinary health fair put on by Keck Medical School at one of the local high schools. It was a great opportunity to learn about the other members of a potential medical team and interact with the community.

One fact that I found fascinating was that although a lot of the participants were medical school students, pharmacy students, physician’s assistant students and physical therapy students, many weren’t really sure of what occupational therapists did and to what extent. On the same side we weren’t aware of the full breadth at which these groups also participated in patient care, so it turned out to be an amazing learning experience on both ends. It’s important to have more events that include the different members of a potential team.

I have to admit that Amanda and I had a hard time thinking of what to say when the other disciplines asked what exactly it was that we did as occupational therapists. It wasn’t because we weren’t sure, it was the fact that there were so many ways that occupational therapists went about treatments depending on the situation and patient. We weren’t sure how to give an in-depth understanding including all the different capacities at which and occupational therapist could work.  Finally, we decided to use the sensory integration station that we had set up to help open up discussion about the role of occupational therapists. The station consisted of two large Tupperware containers, one full of black beans and the other with lentils. Buried inside each container were little miniature animals (Polly Pocket sized) and the goal was for the participant to find as many animals as possible with their eyes closed. Skills such as touch discrimination, stereognosis, maintaining attention, and standing balance were all used in this one activity. It helped the other professions understand that occupational therapists used meaningful activities and in this example of a pediatric client, play would be their meaningful occupation as a way to work on developing skills to help them engage more successfully with the environment. It was the most popular activity at the fair and gave us an opportunity to talk about occupational therapy and for the participants to understand through hands-on experience what occupational therapy can do. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to participate and get to know about all members of a potential interdisciplinary team and I’m looking forward to future mixer events.


April is OT Month! =) ⟩
April 10, 2010, by Mari

Community What are OS/OT?

Happy OT Month Student Ambassador Photo Shoot!

Yes, as Myka said, April is OT Month! Happy OT Month! The other day, all of us ambassadors decided to do a photo shoot to show off our awesome OT buttons! Here are some pictures!

Gus & Myka!

Gus & Myka!

Me & Sarah!

Me & Sarah!

Myka & Michelle!

Myka & Michelle!

And, all of us together! Yay for the Class of 2010 Student Ambassadors!

And, all of us together! Yay for the Class of 2010 Student Ambassadors!

OTs encourage people to “live life to its fullest” by helping them to maximize their participation in their occupations, or meaningful activities!

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