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Alumni Updates 

Read news about your fellow alumni from the: 1950s   1960s  1970s   1980s   1990s   2000s


Mary Guhl (BS 1955) is now retired. “(After graduation from UW) I completed 10 months of Clinical training at the UW Hospital in Madison and then – because my husband was in the Navy and we were stationed at Long Beach California – I finished my clinical training in Calif. at the Long Beach Navy Hospital, Norwalk Psychiatric Hospital and a Cerebral Palsy School in Long Beach. Following my Clinical training, I passed the State and National examinations, and became a Registered Occupational Therapist - OTR. The following year I worked in Madison, WI at Kiddy Camp, a State of Wisconsin home for Rheumatic Fever children. I also worked with the Madison Visiting Nurse Association. I then had three children and became a stay-at-home Mom. During this time, however, I taught a class at the Neenah Tech. on jewelry making. I also taught an O.T. Techniques Course at Lawrence College in Appleton. At that time Milwaukee Downer brought their OT program to Lawrence College. For many years I was on the Occupational Therapy Advisory Board for Fox Valley Technical College. I helped plan and organize the COTA program for Fox Valley Technical College. I was also involved in interviewing different hospital settings etc. to set up the clinical training for the COTA students. When my three children were all in school I became interested in returning to the work force. I thought I would do Occupational Therapy. However I was encouraged by the principal at our children's local school to consider becoming a teacher. I liked the idea that my hours of work would be the same as those of my children - with summers off etc. So I decided to attend UW Oshkosh. I earned my Master's degree in Teaching in 1972. I was then offered at job with the Neenah Public Schools and I was also offered a job to teach in the COTA program at the Fox Valley Technical College. I accepted the Neenah Public Schools position and I was a teacher in Neenah for 25 years. I also taught a few classes for the COTA program in Appleton. I remained involved as a member of the Occupational Therapy Advisory Board at Fox Valley Technical College for many years. I am now retired and am enjoying being a grandmother to 9 beautiful grandchildren. I also have a hobby of writing children's book. My book Springs, published in 2002 by the Richard C. Owen Publishers in Katonah, New York continues to be sold and used in School districts throughout the country. My husband and I enjoy traveling. We have been on over 30 Elderhostel programs and have traveled to many countries.”

Ethel Erickson Radmer (BS 1957) authored The Cheshire Cat Syndrome: My Adventures With Arthritis and Conversations With Carl: My Journey Through Grief and recently published a third book, My Odyssey With Two Uncommon Boys: A Trip To The Western States. The book looks at the early roots of possible autism-spectrum behavior: two boys have emerged to a glorious embracing of the world around them. At age 19, they invite the author (and grandmother to one) on a wonder-filled, 10-day road trip. Across 16 states and 2 Canadian Provinces, they explore history, U.S. Presidents, state capitols & social justice. And they discover a treasure-trove about themselves.

Loree Davies (BS 1959) retired in the early 90s. “I am enjoying travel and activities with grandchildren in our retirement, as well as involvement in our church and community activities.”

1960s

Janet Tredwell (BS 1963) has been retired for 4 years.

Edie Raether (BS 1966) is an author and speaker coach. “My heart will always be with my roots in OT but actually have gone into many other directions. I have four books in 15 countries and as a certified speaking professional CSP, I have presented programs on five continents. I am about to release a character building program for children that is absolutely phenomenal... to encourage, empower and enlighten children to make healthy life choices. We are hoping to get it in the hands of children all over the world. www.raether.com will give you a start and www.wingforwishes.com will give you a feel for the children's program but we have not put much content up yet but can attach mucho info!”

1970s

Barb Schmelzle (BS 1973) retired from Sacred Heart Hospital as an OT supervisor in November 2006. “Since, I have been providing home health OT for Dunn County Home Health Agency, enjoying the independence, flexibility of scheduling, and all the back roads of Dunn County!”

Pat Dasler (BS 1973) is currently in her 4th year working as a school occupational therapist in Gainesville, Fl. “Truly a member of the sandwich generation my 95 year old mother lives with us and our 17 yr old son is in his senior year. We toured UW-Madison campus this summer as a possible college choice for him. It sure brought back a lot of memories. He would be the first 3rd generation Badger in our family if he decides to attend. Previously, faculty at the University of Florida where I was Teacher of the Year twice for the College of Health Professions - now College of Public Health and Health Professions.”

Martha S. O'Connor (BS 1974) is semi-retired. “OT has provided me with many opportunities to work in various health related settings. Although I am semi-retired now, I began my OT career working in Psychiatry in an in-patient hospital milieu program while also having a private practice with a group of psychiatrists in Milwaukee Wisc. I got my masters degree in Adult Education/Educational Administration and taught in the COTA program for a year at the Milwaukee Area Technical College. I moved to Augusta, Ga. to teach OT and graduate students in Health Care Education at the Medical College of Georgia while earning a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. I worked for the American Occupational Therapy Association as the Director of Accreditation in Bethesda, Md. I was the Director of Certification Examination Development for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy in Gaithersburg, Md. Then I moved to Scottsdale, Ariz. to become the Executive Director of the Council on Education. After retiring, I returned to the profession of OT to work part time in home health in the Phoenix, Ariz. area. The opportunities occupational therapy offers are endless and the life long friends made around the country are precious beyond words.”

Terrie Nolinske (BS 1975) is Principal and Managing Member of TNI Consultants LLC, based in Tampa, Florida. Terrie works with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations to become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, conducting accessibility audits of physical space and providing materials in alternative formats. Terrie also designs and presents education and training programs on a variety of topics, including communication, evaluation, survey research, negotiation, mentoring and diversity awareness (including disability awareness). In addition, Terrie works with organizations to conduct needs assessments and institute improved processes and systems across the organization.

Virginia Hunt O'Brien (BS 1976) is currently in a transitional OTD program, with a CHT elective at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, Utah and is expected to finish in 2010 or 2011.

Penny Goldman (BS 1976) works as a lead therapist for CESA #1 in the Fox Point- Bayside School District. “I service children with special education needs, K-4 through 8th grade. I am also on staff as a pool therapist at Columbia St. Mary’s, Milwaukee.”

Barbara L. Kornblau (BS 1977) is the dean of the School of Health Professions and Studies at the University of Michigan - Flint. “(It’s) hard to go from being a Badger to a Wolverine. In June, I was invited to the White House for one of the health care reform round tables. This one was on health disparities and it was webcast. I was the only one there representing disability-related health disparities.”

Linda Klein (BS 1978) is the director of the therapy department at Hand Surgery, Ltd, in Milwaukee, Wisc. “This is a group of 7 hand surgeons and 10 OT's. I became a certified hand therapist in 1991. I provide continuing education regarding hand therapy through UWM continuing education department. This year I had the privilege of being elected to the Board of Directors for the American Society of Hand Therapists as Board Member at Large, which is a 2-year term. I have also been the editor of the ASHT online newsletter (ASHT Times) for the past 2 years.”

Sue Berger (BS 1978) is a PhD candidate in Gerontology and hoping to finish her dissertation by Spring 2010. “I became a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association in April 2009. I received the Whitney Powers Award for Teaching Excellence at Boston University, Sargent College in May 2009.”

Diane Fish Arenson (BS 1979) is working in Spinal Cord Injuries & Disorders at Veterans Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis.

1980s

Karen Marcus Sames (BS 1980) is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. “The second edition of my textbook, Documenting Occupational Therapy Practice (2nd ed.) was just published by Pearson Prentice Hall. The textbook was translated into Chinese last year. In addition to teaching and administrative duties, I am the vice-chair of the Affiliated State Association Presidents committee of the American Occupational Therapy Association. In that role, I represent the state association presidents in the Representative Assembly of AOTA.

Mary Lenling (BS 1981) works as a private contractor in the Illinois Early Intervention program. “Being an occupational therapist has led me on some interesting journeys this year. Working with families, I am always amazed as to how the simplest of suggestions can make a huge difference in the function and daily routine of families caring for disabled children. I also had the opportunity to practice my skills In Zambia as part of a medical team from our church. Occupational therapy can do so much to raise up the health care and function of the individuals I worked with. OT can be so versatile. We can work in any setting and do not need a lot of equipment and infrastructure to make an impact. The medical team I traveled with worked in a small clinic and also made home visits. A large part of our mission was to offer training and education to 26 health care workers who volunteer in their community to work with the very ill. It was a wonderful exchange and a moving experience.”

Sari (Lefco) Lewis (BS 1981) moved her private therapy practice, Sari Hands PLC, to an integrated office with acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care and nutritional counseling. Sari uses Craniosacral Therapy and other manual therapies to help her clients achieve their highest functional levels and improved quality of life.

Lynn Chassee (BS 1987) is an Illinois Licensed and NBCOT Certified pediatric occupational therapist with 33 years of clinical and school experience. Since graduating from UW, Lynn has worked in school systems, initially for Winnebago County Special Education, Northwestern Illinois Association and currently for Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative. She is currently supervising 21 occupational therapists across five school districts for the Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative. She is a member of AOTA the American Occupational Therapy Association and sits on the board of the Friends of Child Advocacy for Kane County.

Betty C. Hasselkus (PhD 1987) is an emeritus professor in OT and Kinesiology at UW-Madison. “I am working with my publisher SLACK, Inc. on a second edition of my book, The Meaning of Everyday Occupation, probably due out next spring, 2010. I have agreed to write a chapter for a new textbook Occupational Science for Occupational Therapy, edited by Doris Pierce of Eastern Kentucky University. I am currently serving as an external examiner for a dissertation from South Africa, and recently completed an external examination for a New Zealand doctoral candidate. I do occasional manuscript reviews for the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy and OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health. Terri: Add The Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy to the third item in my previous email (ms. review).

1990s

Kelly Jo Lynch (BS 1993) worked as an Assistive Technology consultant with the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative from 1994 to 1999. “I presented at WOTA and AOTA conferences during my time working in Assistive Technology. In 1999 I went to school full time to get my Masters of Arts in Counseling. I've been working as a Licensed Professional Counselor since 2001.”

Laura Flood (BS 1994) is in her 12th year as an occupational therapist in Edgerton School District, Edgerton, Wisc. “I especially love to work with students who have autism and sensory processing differences. In 2008-2009, I completed the four course series from USC/Western Psychological Services and became S.I.P.T. certified, and I have also taken courses this past year from AOTA, Mt. Mary College and Viterbo College in health care policy, autism, motor learning, school based practice, and Yoga for educators. I am a member of AOTA and WOTA, and participate in the Sensory Integration Corsortium of Wisconsin. So it has been a busy year. The more I learn, the more I love my job!”

Ruth A. Huebner (PhD 1995) is the Child Welfare Researcher for the state of Kentucky. “In that capacity my mission is to develop the resources, data, people, and ideas to improve outcomes for families and children. I evaluate programs and conduct research using administrative datasets. I still hold a full professor position in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Eastern Kentucky University and a graduate faculty position in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Kentucky. My work with Kentucky includes consulting with the federal government on child welfare issues and policies. Occupational therapy provided me the opportunity to work with children and their families for most of my life. I hope that my research will improve the lives of children and families affected by violence that leads to developmental and other long-term health disabilities.”

Martin Saunders (MS 1996) is an associate preceptor in Kinesiology at UW-Madison. “One thing that I am proud of in the last year is that we have completed a project on Adult Psychiatry to come up with a useable Functional OT Scale which we use on admission and discharge to measure functional improvement of our patients. As always, we continue to enjoy training students and have played a part in educating OT students, of course, but also participating in training Nursing, Medical students and Psychiatric Residents and Physicians Assistants and opening them up to an understanding of the formidable role that we play in caring for Adult Psychiatric patients on the inpatient unit. We continue to re-invent our programming to most effectively evaluate and treat people within the confines of ever-decreasing lengths of stay, and continue to refine our treatment planning strategies in accordance with these changes. I am sure that we could continue to add to our ‘boast-list’ but suffice it to say that we are proud of our program which has received consistently excellent ratings on customer surveys, and of our profession which offers us so much potential to expand services in an effective manner.”

Todd Andres (BS 1996) has worked in a number of settings but mainly industrial rehab and ergonomics as well as some administration work. “2 years ago, I left my position as head of an occupational health department to start my own clinic. It is called Andresource, LLC (that’s my last name and the word resource merged together) and is in Green Bay, again, specializing in industrial rehab (FCEs, work conditioning/hardening, pre-employment tests, ergonomics, etc.) For more information, bio, etc, my website is www.andresource.net.”

Anne (Hoffman) Harrmann (BS 1998) worked for several years in a private hand clinic in Appleton where she became a certified hand therapist. “A year and a half ago, I left the private hand clinic and have become Director of Rehab at a sub-acute rehab/SNF in Shawano, WI. I am actually going to come back to Madison on the 26th for my first Badger game since graduating—I can’t wait!!”

Erik Rasmuson (BS 1998) worked in a skilled nursing home setting in Monroe, Wisc. “I've been married for 6 years and have 2 incredible kids... Christopher is 3 and Alexis will be 2 very shortly. I'm loving the SNF setting which I never really thought I would but it is extremely fun and educational. Just this year I became a Certified Kinesiotape Practitioner and attended the National Kinesiotape Symposium in Chicago. In the future, I would like to be certified in Lymphedema management and possibly branch out into more outpatient type treatment and settings.”

Laurie (Fiechter) Romanowski (BS 1998) pursued a career working as an OT in the Woodstock Illinois School District. “I have been in Woodstock about 11 years now. While working in the schools, I always continued to work prn or part time in a hospital or SNF doing rehab. I love both. In June, I opened my own private practice with another OT in Lake Geneva, Wisc. Our clinic is Midwest Pediatric Therapy LLC. I am married to a wonderful and supporting husband and we have a miracle baby named Ethan who is 5 months old with great motor skill development :) Hope the class I graduated with is doing great as well!”

Tammi R Lavin (BS 1998) lives in New Orleans with her husband and five children. “Within the past year I have opened up my own private pediatric practice, Integrative Touch Pediatric OT Services. My partner and I provide OT services to Children ages 0-18 years of age. Many of our patients/clients are on the Autistic Spectrum and ADHD. We specialize in sensory integration, Interactive Metronome. We also provide services to several autistic schools in the area as well as inclusive schools.”

2000s

Kate Bacon (BS 2001) just completed her research and class work for a master’s degree in Disability and Human Development at University of Illinois at Chicago. “My research focused on how the accessibility of one's home affects his or her community integration and I developed a tool to assess this with several clients at the Assistive Technology Unit at UIC. I'm now looking for full time employment in Chicago, in a position where I can apply what I learned at UIC, along with my interests in accessibility. I'm looking forward to learning what other OT alumni are up to!”

Jennifer Schmidt (BS 2001) is working at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. “I have been working in the Pediatric Program here for the past 5 years. I was the Pediatric Program Specialist for the past 2 years, and was responsible for program development and management support. Recently I was promoted to the Allied Health Manager for the Inpatient Pediatric Program, which allows for me to continue with clinical practice about half time, and then management of OT/PT/SLP staff the other half. I work primarily with children birth to 18 years, and the most common diagnoses I see are brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and burns. One of my specialty practice areas is Constraint Induced Movement Therapy. I occasionally am given the opportunity to teach in a variety of CE courses offered by RIC as well.”

Allison Salm Kroll (BS 2001) took an OT position after graduation with Advanced Therapy and Rehab in the Chicago area. “In 2003, I moved back to my hometown of Appleton, Wisc. and began working as an OT for PeopleFirst Rehab in subacute rehab and geriatrics. I celebrated 6 years with the company last April. On a personal note, I got married in 2004, and have two sons. Sean is 4 and Rudy is 2. I also have a 5-year-old border collie, Tess, who is a certified therapy dog and comes to work with me every day. I love the field of OT! I feel so blessed to be trained in a profession that is family-friendly, hands-on, and allows me to be creative. I have FUN at work everyday, even when things get stressful or the operational side of things seems to overshadow the clinical side. OT gives me daily opportunities to touch the lives of people that are in their most vulnerable hour. There is nothing more rewarding than walking with a patient on their journey from total dependence to their return home. In the future, I'd like to return to school to study health care administration or public health. OT has given me an excellent foundation for which to pursue my future endeavors.”

Hailey Fellinger (BS 2002) is the director of the Occupational Therapy Department at Wheat Ridge Regional Center. “I have been working in Colorado since my graduation. I currently work for a state residential facility for adults with developmental disabilities. I have a great variety at this job working with medically complex people, behaviorally challenging people, and mentally ill people all with the diagnosis of mental retardation. We have 20 homes throughout the community where our residents live and we are able to do a lot of client centered therapy here, which is great. All of the residents have vocational and residential programs that are generally handled by other coworkers with just consultation from the OTs. We do a lot of positioning, eating, sensory integration interventions, and groups. We are not funded by insurance so it opens a lot of doors as far as occupational therapy goes. Since I started working here I started a functional cognitive group where I measure the allen cognitive level scores before and after a year of group. I have also started a gardening group with the hypothesis of increasing the figure ground perception of the individuals that I work with. It is a great setting for case studies also. I have worked in several other settings since I graduated from UW and really love that job I am at. I am planning in the next year to work on getting a student program set up for level 1 and level 2 students as I think that this is the ideal place to learn about OT and the value of meaningful occupations. We shall see how that goes. That is all the update I have for now. I really think that my education at UW has helped me to get to where I am today... Thanks!”

Phillip Wendt (BS 2002) recently finished his term as president of the Society of Alberta Occupational Therapists. During his term, Phillip oversaw the development and implementation of many notable events such as holding the society's first annual conference, and representing Alberta in discussions with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists to form a confederated model of governance between the SAOT and the CAOT. Additionally, Phillip has concentrated his clinical work in the areas of vocational and neuro rehab and has been approved for his first published article in the March 2010 edition of OT Now for his work implementing Constraint Induced Movement Therapy programs in out patient neurorehabilitation clinics in Alberta. He currently lives in Ontario and is owner and occupational therapist for PG Health Consultants.

Krista Bielmeier Murphy (BS 2005) is working as a pediatric OT outside of Phoenix, Arizona. “I have my own small company, Murphy Pediatrics. I see children ages 0-12 with a wide range of disabilities. I do, however, spend a fair amount of time completing evaluations and consultations for children with sensory processing dysfunction, particularly toddlers. I work part time and am getting ready to welcome Baby #2 to the world in November. Check out my website at www.murphypediatrics.com.”

Jennifer Leavitt (MS 2007) works in Novi, Mich. in an acute-care hospital setting (inpatient rehab). “It is very fast-paced, and most of my clients are over the age of 65. This hospital is brand-new and is busy expanding their neurosurgery department. I work mainly with patients with orthopedic and neurologic concerns. Word to the wise: if you decide to move to another state, make sure you get your licensure application and other paperwork filed at least 12 weeks before you want to start working.”

Michelle Wolfgram (MS 2008) finished her level 2 fieldworks at Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital in September 2008, and Bellin Psychiatric Hospital in Green Bay in December 2008. “I then started my job at Bellin Health in Green Bay in February. I work mainly in the Inpatient Rehab Department, but every once in a while will head over to the main hospital to do therapy/evaluations. I really enjoy working in IRD, and seeing the progress that the patients make during their stay with us, as most improve well enough to go back home instead of a nursing home. I'm learning something new everyday, and the other therapists, nursing staff, and MD are great to work with, and I also really enjoy the client population I work with.”

Bob Jankowski has been providing OT and Assistive Technology services for the Eau Claire Area School District for the past 20 years. He’d love to hear from any classmates at bkowski@charter.net.

Lisa (Hall) Mahaffey (BS 1984) is an assistant professor in the Occupational Therapy Department at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Ill. “This is a bit after the fact but I did serve as the MHSIS chair for the last three years 2006-2009. Also have served on two Ad Hoc committees looking at bringing back OT in mental health practice. I've written a little though probably not significant. I will begin a two-year term as the treasurer for the ILOTA next month. I do miss Madison and am hoping my son decides to go there next year.”

Julie Robbins “I have been working as an OT in pediatrics since graduation. I currently work in an outpatient pediatric unit at Mills-Peninsula Health Services in San Mateo, CA (outside of San Francisco). I also work as a toy designer for Development by Design (www.dbdtoys.com). We use universal design techniques to make toys accessible for children with special needs and better for all children. I also recently (9/06-9/07) spent 1 year living in Rwanda, Africa working as an occupational therapy trainer through an organization called Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO- Canada). If anyone has a similar interest, I would love to be a contact for them.”

Cindy Hinrichs “I am currently working full time at St. John's hospital. I work mainly in their Transitional Care Unit but I also float to their acute adult in patient setting. Soon I will start working half days as their outpatient Lymphedema Therapist because I just finished my certification to be Lymphedema Therapist. I also work PRN in a birth to three program for a privately owned pediatric clinic called ChildRite Development. As you can see, I keep myself very busy and there are NO shortage of Occupational therapist career opportunities in central Illinois!”


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