Alumni updates for 2016 OT Matters

OT student doing research with child
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CONTACTING US

Main Office

Occupational Therapy
School of Education
UW-Madison
2120 Medical Sciences Center
1300 University Avenue
MadisonWI  53706-1691

Tel: 608/262-2936
Fax: 608/262-1639

Email: otoffice@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form
 

Alumni Updates

1950s

Janice Erickson Evans – BS 1956 Janice continued her education at UW-Whitewater and she worked in the field of special education for 16 years until retiring in 2000. She says she enjoyed all the art courses that she took as an undergrad in OT but feels that OT and PT should be combined as one profession.​
  

Ethel Erickson Radmer – BS 1957
Ethel’s home base is in Cary, North Carolina. She recently had her seventh book published, “Now is Enough/Nu ar det Nog: A Trip to Sweden with Three of My Grandsons.” Ethel reports that she travels to a lot to conferences, to see friends and family, and to see new places.

1960s

Edie Rabas Raether – BS 1966
After practicing OT and teaching at a community college, Edie became a psychotherapist, a talk show host with affiliates of ABC and an international motivational keynote speaker and corporate trainer, which she continues to do. Only the topic changes! In the last 12 years, Edie has written 12 books (one is a bestseller in China) and 15 anthologies. The books vary from intuition, influence, winning, bullying and more, to her greatest passion – which is a children's empowering character building program that transforms potential into possibilities. Edie says that “I Believe I Can Fly!” promises to change the way the world thinks, one child at a time. Her next book is, “Trust No One, Love Everyone. (Lessons from my life.)” Edie also is a hypnotherapist and brain trainer, and is in communications with the Carolina Panthers pro football team. She also also applies mind/body techniques for the purpose of healing. Edie adds that she would appreciate connecting with some of her former classmates and will be in Madison in September.

1970s

Mary Lynn Schneider – BS 1973
Mary recently had a paper published in the journal Child Development titled, “Sensory Processing in Rhesus Monkeys: Developmental Continuity, Prenatal Treatment, and Genetic Influences.”

Patricia Bergs Bowen – BS 1974
Patricia retired in 2011 after 34 years with the Wausau School District. She worked four years at Wausau Hospital prior to that. She reports that she is enjoying retirement with volunteer work, outdoor opportunities, travel and short-term OT subbing.

Judy Hill – BS 1975
Judy is in her my 39th year at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago as an OT intern, staff OT, senior staff OT, OT supervisor, director of OT, administrative director, referral development director, manager of bed assignment and financial clearance. Judy recently transitioned to a project analyzing financial denials as they impact patient access to rehabilitation services. She also is an instructor in the Feinberg School of Medicine Department of PM&R. In her off work time, Judy reports that she enjoys travel, camping, natural history, reading, her two Siberian huskies and cat.

Ann Marie Lindberg – BS 1975
Ann Marie has been living and working in Greensboro, N.C., since 1993 in the school system and in early intervention, winnowing down to just early intervention for the past four years with a specialty in feeding disorders. In 2001-02 she worked in Ireland and in 2013-14 worked and lived on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona. Both of these experiences, she reports, were extremely gratifying.

Mary McCutcheon – BS 1975
Mary recently retired from the Oshkosh (Wis.) School District to build her private practice in Feldenkrais.

Maureen Schroeder Engh – BS 1976
Maureen retired after working for many years as an OT both in the United States and Norway, where she currently lives. Maureen reports that the most fun she had was working in home health in Boise, Idaho. She still has contact with the patient population by volunteering weekly at a local hospital through the Red Cross. She reports that she is one of four ladies in charge of the bookmobile, and it's very rewarding.

Sheila Tayrose – BS 1976
Sheila has been in private practice since 1991. She now has give granddaughters and is a caretaker for her father and uncle. Sheila has started to work part time and also teaches an exercise class to 'typical' seniors. As a mental health measure, Sheila reports that she rides her bicycle (a lot) and has started to visit national parks. She recently got back from Glacier and highly recommends it.

Mary Quandahl Frear –  BS 1977
Mary reports that she is retired.

Mary Jo Rajek – BS 1979
Mary Jo helped develop and teach Health South's national education program on adult neuro-vision, which covered adult neurological vision assessment and rehabilitation (2012-16). She has worked collaboratively with a neuro-behavioral optometrists in Virginia to develop OT vision related services in rehab, as well as conduct OT related educational workshops on vision assessment and treatment. She previously served as the consultative OT for UVA's Brain Injury and Sports Concussion Clinic, performing vision screenings, treatment and facilitating referrals. Mary Jo also is a MS certified specialist and has been the primary consulting OT for UVA's James Q. Miller Comprehensive MS Care Clinic. Mary is an instructor of several national MS Society patient education programs, and has been a frequent speaker at multi-state MS-related educational programs. Mary Jo has recently relocated back to Madison and will be working part-time as a program consultant for Can Do MS. She reports that she is excited about returning to the Madison area and look forward to re-connecting and networking with rehab professionals and the UW/MATC academic communities.

1980s

Lynn Chassee – BS 1988
One year short of 40 years in the field of occupational therapy, first as a COTA, then as an OTR, Lynn retired to spend more time relaxing with family and friends. She reports that she can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, and is busy doing just that. Since retiring, Lynn has been to Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Las Vegas. She plans on continuing her travels and spending time with her grandchildren.

Lisa Konrady Peirson – BS 1988
Since graduation, Lisa has worked as an Industrial OT in the St. Paul, Minn., area. Currently, she works for Minnesota Occupational Health. This is her third company to work for and fourth facility she is creating from scratch. Lisa continues to love her job with the variations of clients and on-site ventures she gets to go on everyday. Lisa has worked primarily in a warehouse-type setting for her client’s needs. She also had the privilege to develop an on-site program for Delta Airlines, which went national to other hubs. Lisa reports that she feels very fortunate to have gone through the OT program as she did as an undergraduate – the more in-depth training and education really prepared her for the real world experiences. She says the professors, specifically Nancy McCracken and Bob Christiansen, helped her to develop her skills as an Industrial OTR, which really started to take off at that time in the Twin Cities.

Christine M. Sykstus – BS 1989
Christine is married and living in Batavia, Ill., with her husband and three daughters ages 22,21,18. She currently is a rehab supervisor for a home health company.

1990s

Nicole Risch Schweitzer – BS 1992
Nicole is the director of Rehabilitation Services at Black River Memorial Hospital. She has served on local department public health board, Boys and Girls Club,Library, and a newly opened community center board. I am the chairperson of our county's healthy living coalition called Jackson in Action and serve on the States Active Communities Alliance. I completed my MBA at the University of Wisconsin School of Business in 2016. My focus has been on rural healthcare and population health.

Kelly Jo Duprey – BS 1993
Kelly Jo went on to earn a master's of science in counseling at Denver Seminary. She is currently practicing as a licensed professional counselor in southern Wisconsin.

Linda Hofstetter –  BS 1993
Linda has been a regional manager for Select Rehabilitation for the past 10 years.

Laura Flood – BS 1994
Laura recently retired from the Oregon (Wis.) School District as an occupational therapist, working most recently with preschool children through sixth graders. She worked the past 18 years in school districts, with a great love of working with students with autism. As part of a team effort, she recently received an award from Dane County Community Partnerships for her team's work on coordinated care for a child with mental health needs. Laura plans to spend time with grandchildren, provide care for her elderly mother, as well as travel when time allows.

2000s

Jeffrey Kundert – BS 2001
Jeffrey is working in wellness and fitness. He reports using therapeutic intent in all client-centered activities to restore health, wellness and fitness in disabled, elderly and abled clients. He is relying on the incredible restorative power of the body to heal with the help of nutrition and directed physical activity. He sends his best wishes to all and notes he’s worked with a thousand clients one-on-one and spoken to thousands at seminars in hospitals , corporations etc. He adds that he received a great foundational education at UW-Madison.

Jennifer Schmidt – BS 2001
Jennifer has been serving as the clinical manager of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Center for Pain Management since February 2015. Jennifer has spent most of her career at RIC, previously in the role of allied health manager of the inpatient pediatric unit.

Sarah Clemons Wagner – BS 2001
Sarah reports that she is working in the field that she loves. She has been working as an OT at St. Mary's Hospital in inpatient psychiatry for the past four years, after many years in community mental health positions. Sarah is presenting at this year’s WOTA conference in October 2016 on, “Clinical Observations of and Treatment Recommendations for Individuals with Personality Disorders.” She adds that she is honored to be a member of this profession and is so grateful to her friends, classmates and professors at UW-Madison for the exceptional learning environment.

Jillian Taxman – BS 2005
Jill has been working at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center since her graduation. Over the past several years, she has transitioned from working full-time in inpatient physical rehab to a wellness program focusing on preventative care, chronic disease management and weight loss. This program was originally started by Nancy Wilke, another UW-Madison OT graduate (1977) as an extension of cardiac rehabilitation programming. This wellness program also includes Tai Chi, biofeedback and lifestyle coaching focusing on improved health. Jill says the clinic provides individual counseling and supportive group opportunities for veterans at the hospital and in the community. Our large group, WAMM (Walk a Mile or More) is a program named by the veterans themselves. Over 40 veterans get together to walk and talk three times per week for one hour. The group has averaged a 9 percent weight loss, Jill reports. She says she recently returned from a trip to Camp American Legion where 30 veterans fled the big city to Lake Tomahawk, Wis., for a week of boating, fishing, walking, camp fires and camaraderie. As OTs, Jill reports, “we are fortunate as we often have the opportunity to work in such rewarding areas of practice. I am happy to have found a niche in a growing area of the OT world, health, wellness and preventative care.”

2010s

Laura Lauck ­– MS 2014
Laura has been working at a pediatric clinic in New York City for the past year, and loves it. She has been lucky enough to take multiple continuing education courses already, but the coursework she’s most excited about is all the courses within the Handwriting Without Tears model. Laura is currently en route to becoming a certified handwriting specialist through Handwriting Without Tears. She has been able to train the additional staff on this multi-sensory model of handwriting, and the entire clinic has adopted it.

Sarah Ruplinger – MS 2015
Sarah is currently volunteering as a foster parent and occupational therapist at a children's home for children with special needs in India. The NGO serves 160 children. Nine boys ages 3 through 16 are under Sarah’s direct care.

Ismail Umer – MS 2015
Ismail is continuing in the Madison area, working at a place called CI Pediatric Therapy Centers. It's great to still be in the area and maintain connections to the campus and staff, he reports.

Sabrina Hilton – MS 2016
Sabrina was chosen to be a 2017 Emerging Leader for the American Occupational Therapy Association. The program provides leadership training and mentorship as well as service learning opportunities that address the strategic priorities of the organization.

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