By Jean Wannall, professor of occupational therapy
Each year, the month of April each is set aside as National Occupational Therapy Month. Throughout the month, the OT division and the two OT organizations, Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) and Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), help sponsor many activities that promote “Living Life to Its Fullest.”
As part of the promotion, senior OT students displayed poster presentations about their Level I Fieldwork experiences to faculty and underclassmen. Each class level completed an assignment relevant to their level of education. This is a great opportunity for the various levels of classes to come together and celebrate the wonderful things that OTs are doing in the field.
During the month of April, PTE has also assisted Strong Memorial Hospital in running a workshop for clients who have had a stroke. They also co-sponsored (with social work and education) a group of facilitators on and off campus to present a case study utilizing various disciplines. On Saturday, May 1, PTE inducted 17 students into the national honor society: Hannah Brown, Jamie Caldwell, Stacey Groom, Stacy Gulick, Alyssa Hermenet, Tialin Hines, Megan McGowan, Kala Mitchell, Mary Nicholas, Deanna Nortier, Courtney St. Pierre, Britney Stillman, Kara Volz, John Ippolito, Sara Rose, Maria Staub, and Emily DeSanctis. These students have maintained a 3.5 cumulative GPA since entering the junior year. Along with receiving membership certificates, each member was honored at a luncheon with their parents immediately following Honors Convocation.
SOTA also remained busy during April with two, in-house faculty members presenting on modalities used in OT and splinting. These presentations were done by Professors Trickey and Talty, and were well received by all students. Professor Talty has also done some initial work in the area of office ergonomics here at Keuka College and several students got the opportunity to work closely with him on this project. There will be more to come in this area.
National OT Month also created an opportunity to recognize three students who have earned the distinction of “Honoring Occupational Leaders of Tomorrow.” Clarise Saeva, Rebecca Salyards, and Alicia Sieling will graduate with OT honors distinction. This is the first time that the OT division has recognized anyone with honors distinction. Throughout April, faculty members also conferred on other students who stood out as exceptional. This year, Alicia Sieling was presented the Academic Excellence Award for her overall academic excellence as demonstrated in GPA. John Ippolito was awarded the Occupation as Therapy Award due to his understanding of occupation as therapy in classroom work, Field Period, and fieldwork experiences. The Peter Talty Professional Commitment Award was given to Heather LaFountain. Heather demonstrates professional behaviors, commitment and personal dedication exemplary of a future OT practitioner. Rebecca Salyards was recognized as the Leader in Occupational Therapy. This award is given yearly to a senior for his/her collaborative effort to promote the profession of OT. Two other OT students recognized this year for scholarships were Kristin Curran and Jennifer Welles.
During the final week in April, nearly 4,000 OTs came together for the national conference in Orlando, Fla. Keuka was well represented, with four faculty members attending along with two seniors. Professors Smith, Battaglia, Wannall, and Robinson all enjoyed the many workshops and opportunities for networking with other colleagues. For the first time, Keuka hosted an alumni reception at the conference and many former students came together to network and catch up on Keuka news. Included at the conference was a poster presentation by our most recent graduate, Ashley Joswick, from the Class of 2009. Since the inception of the graduate OT program here on campus, Keuka has had five alumni present at the national conference.