About

I am about to finish my second year of graduate school for my masters of occupational therapy. After graduating college and working for 5 years, in 2010 I quit my job at a web-based company and decided to switch paths and pursue a degree in occupational therapy. After taking the prerequisite classes I needed and before attending grad school however, I decided to fulfill a deep-rooted dream of mine to backpack through Asia & Australia.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal: Agra, India

In 2011, I made my way through China, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Australia. It opened up my eyes and my heart to the differences amongst cultures, but also to the similarities of humanity. It jolted my perspective when I heard young people tell me how their only dream was to someday go to the U.S. It quelled in me the restlessness that I had felt as yet another one of those bourgeois Americans having a quarter life crisis. It showed me indelibly who I was, what I wanted, and what to value in life. I saw poverty and misunderstanding. I heard stories of political corruption. I was cheated for my money.  But I experienced the most amazing camaraderie, hospitality, kindness, humor, and willingness to help a silly foreigner brazen enough to waltz into worlds that she knew practically nothing about which has forever touched me and that has helped refine me.

Last summer I spent 4 weeks with the NAPA-OT Field School in Antigua, Guatemala, where anthropology and occupational therapy students come together to study Spanish, research, learn how to apply the things they’ve learned in a different cultural context, and collaborate to help promote social justice through enabling occupations. The project at the field school that I was involved in more specifically was working with the local population on pediatric nutrition and development in a country whose history is rife with corruption, poverty, violence and malnutrition.

I conquered The Great Wall of China

I conquered The Great Wall of China

I hope to continue this trend of promoting occupational justice as an OT throughout the world and here in the U.S. through advocacy of the field and by breaking down the bordersphysical, mental, geographical, economic, emotional, and/or political – that keep people from pursuing meaningful occupations in their lives…an occupational therapist without borders.

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16 thoughts on “About

  1. I’m starting OT school this summer and I’m all about the social justice connection! Definitely how I want to direct my professional trajectory. Happy to have uncovered a great new blog and a kindred spirit — I’m excited to peruse your archives 🙂

    • Thanks for checking in:) I have been consumed by school, so hoping to get back on the blog wagon. It’s exciting to see there are other kindred spirits out there, spread around the world!

  2. Did you go to NAPA-OT field school as part of your OT level II fieldwork? If so, how were you able to make up the other portion of that fieldwork? My understanding is that this month only covers a portion of the fieldwork right?

    • Hi Natalia, Yes I did attend the NAPA-OT field school, however I was not fulfilling Level II fieldwork at the time. My school would not accept any international fieldwork, so I just went for the experience of it. However, there were other OT students receiving credit for the program as Level II fieldwork. You are correct in that it only fulfills a portion of the 12 week requirement for Level II fieldwork. Their schools allowed them to participate in the fieldwork for 4 weeks, and then make up the rest of the 12 weeks in another more traditional placement. So you’ll have to check with your school and see what they’re willing to do. Hope that helps!

    • Yes they should! Not sure you’d get credit for fieldwork, but it’s still a great experience. Their application deadline was just extended, or is on a rolling basis now, so you should apply for this summer!!

  3. Nice site and I’m happy to know progress is being made by OT’s thinking beyond the myopic Puritan work ethic. I watched the youtube video by Ryan ? of his experiences in Nicaragua and Guatemala. I am an OT of 20+ years, and sad to say that the repetitive, mindless, non-client based “therapeutic activities and exercises” pictured at one of his locations, are not uncommon here in the USA. “LIstening” will always be a primary function of professionals and people, regardless of the culture, and because it involves time (read money), it is rarely reimbursed. I hope your studies are going well and I hope you find time to post again. Peace.

    • Thanks for your comment! I have nearly abandoned the blog, I apologize. I agree, there is such a drive for productivity, that many therapist feel sidelined into using the repetitive, mindless non-client based ther act/ther ex. I will try to update soon!

  4. Did you ever feel different from your classmates, going to grad school a bit later than they might have, or did you feel like it didn’t make much of a difference? I’ll be 27 when I start my LV II fieldwork, and there are people in my program who will only be 23!

    • I was 29 when I started grad school, and there were quite a few younger folks in the classroom, fresh out of college. However, we had a fairly good spread of ages, and there were people in my program who were older than me, so it was good. You will be able to impart much wisdom to the youth in your program:)

    • Thanks! In my first Level II, I had many patients who spoke English as a second language, or did not speak English at all, so we would use the translator through the phone deal, which was not always ideal. I also got to practice some of my Spanish in both my Level II placements. One issue that came up occasionally had to do with roles and the concept of independence/dependence within different cultures. So you have to modify your goals a bit when someone’s goal for dressing is not necessarily independence (since their family is going to help them with it).

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