UW-Madison OT Program - 2011 OT Matters - Alumni Updates

OT student doing research with child
shadow

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Occupational Therapy
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Email: otoffice@education.wisc.edu
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2011 Alumni Updates

Barbara G. Miller (BS ’56)
“There is no earth shaking news from me. I have been a widow for 20 years and am enjoying retirement and spending time with my two grandchildren. I took the family to Disney World last fall and now am watching Abby play T ball and James play coach-pitch ball. I belong to two book groups and participate in the Lifelong Learning Institute at the local community college, taking classes and going on day trips. I also belong to PEO and am active with church groups. I have done a fair amount of traveling but now just visit my brother and sister-in-law and former neighbors and friends in AZ. I lived there for 6 years after my husband died but moved back to Oswego, Ill, when the grandchildren arrived. Because of some health issues I attend cardiac rehab three times weekly. A hiking path is behind my house and I enjoy walking my dog, Shadow, twice daily. I also have a very mischievous cat named Chloe and she and Shadow are best buddies. That's my uneventful but very satisfying life.”

Angela [Gubbay] Brown (BS ’62)
“I am retired now, but I worked in primarily in pediatric OT. I just loved it. I became certified in Neurodevelopmental Therapy and Sensory Integration, which I just loved. I was also quite good in splinting and designed my own to suit the patient I was treating. I also designed the Sensory Integration department of the Apple Program of former UCP of Queens. It is still being used by the OTs there and very little has been altered in the design. I also had a private practice. My favorite part was working with the babies. Seeing them improve and change to become very active and functionally human being was very rewarding for me. Recently, now that I am retired, I needed a splint for my hand. My doctor no longer had an OT on premises so he gave me a sheet of orthoplast. I was able to design a sling to fit my needs and make it over my stove. It looks and feels great. I still give advice to friends and family when their children or grand children have difficulties on movement, perception and sensory issues when they ask for it of course. I have learnt over the course of years that it is best to wait for a parent to be ready to seek advice on their child before volunteering any info. It has been a great journey and my experience at Univ. of Wisconsin were the happiest years of my life. No regrets!!!!! The best OT department in the country!!! PS I still remember Caroline Thompson with affection and admiration.”

Ruth Zemke (BS ‘65)
“I joined my Oconto Falls (WI) High School 1961 graduation classmates for a 50th reunion weekend including the high school graduation ceremonies in May. I was honored to be awarded a plaque on the OFHS "Wall of Fame" recognizing my lifetime of work in occupational therapy and occupational science. It wouldn't have been possible without my background in high school as preparation for work on my BS in OT at UW-Madison in 1965. Yu-rah-rah, Wi-i-i-scon-sin!”

Linda Berigan Schwehr (BS ‘68)
“I retired in 2001 due to a minor health problem that interfered with working as an itinerant OT in schools from San Francisco to San Jose. Showing up on as many as 5 school campuses per day to treat my clients became exhausting. It was amazingly rewarding though. Now I am *working* from home on a never-ending series of art projects. And I have also begun to help some local kids diagnosed with autism. My husband and I travel frequently as my kids live in NH (Kurt is a professor at UNH) and WA (daughter Kiley is an exec. news producer for a Seattle TV station). We also try to spend a month at a small lake in Northern WI and travel to see family in Madison.”

Lana Sheets (BS ’69)
“I stayed working in the field for over 30 years. I really feel that the secret to my longevity in the field is that I took 7 years off to raise my children through their formative preschool years. When I returned to my professional role, I continued to keep family first and only worked part time. This kept my life in balance, allowing me to continue actively working as an OT and loving it. No burn out here! The crown of my career was working with the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative for 8 years and teaching a University Extension class to classroom teachers. That gave me a whole new positive perspective on the education profession. Currently, I own my own business, where I can take all my experience and select products and materials from an occupational therapist point of view. Visit me at www.beacon-ridge.com and read About Us to see how I've used my OT background.”

Deb [Lease] Becker-Galewski (BS ‘75)
“Although I have been retired from OT for a number of years due to being disabled, my knowledge base has been invaluable in my personal life. I live with chronic pain and fatigue. My husband and I have modified our home to better fit our current and projected abilities. In 2006 we remodeled out bathroom. I wrote an article about this for the Wisconsin OT Association Newsletter. In 2008 we remodeled our kitchen. In the midst of this my mother moved in with us due to a medical emergency. After five months here, she was able to live nearby in her own apartment with my help. She is able to shower here safely due to our modifications. I have shared our experience with revising our home through newspaper, magazine, radio, and television coverage on the local, state, and national levels. I would say that the problem solving skills, analysis of what it takes to function well, and heightened awareness of options have been the greatest advantages due to my education and work as an OTR. Without this perspective, my life would probably be very limited.”

Peggy [Marcouiller] Barta (BS ’75)
“UW Madison has been on my mind lately. We will be visiting there the end of July. My 17 year old son is interested in the physics program there. I have a 20 year old daughter who is considering a career in OT. My husband, Dan and I live now in Rochester, NY where I'm working for the University of Rochester Medical Center (Strong and Highland hospitals). I've been working consistently as an OT these past 35+ years in Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and now New York. I've worked in all areas of OT from early intervention to skilled nursing homes and everything in between. It's a great career. Never any problems finding work (there's a dearth of OTs here in upstate New York). My education at UW Madison has been invaluable.”

Virginia O'Brien (BS ‘76)
“I would like to note that I have graduated with my post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate, with an emphasis in Hand Therapy, as of December 2010 from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Provo, Utah. I will actually walk the "stage" August 6th, 2011 in the graduation ceremony, again in Provo. This is an accredited university and has a strong base in evidence based practice. I also have my first publication, in press: Journal of Hand Therapy: Clinical Commentary in Response to: Comparison of Two Carpometacarpal Stabilizing Splints for Individuals with Thumb Osteoarthritis.”

Barbara L. Kornblau (BS ‘77)
“I was appointed by HHS Secretary Sebelius to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Negotiated Rulemaking Committee to Define Medically Underserved Populations (MUP) and Health Profession Shortage Areas (HPSA). I also just completed taping a TV program as part of a panel for SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Agency) Road to Recovery program called Treatment and Recovery in Behavioral Health for Americans With Disabilities. It will be broadcast around the country in August.”

Karen Sames (BS ‘80)
“I received the 2011 Excellence in Teaching and Advising Award at St. Catherine University. I was nominated by students for this award. 15 faculty from across the University were nominated. We then had to submit our course syllabi, student evaluations of faculty, a CV, and samples of classroom materials. A call for letters of support went out to all members of the University community. A committee reviewed the materials and recommended me to the President of the University who made the final decision.”

Betty Hasselkus (BS ‘60, MS ‘74, PhD ‘87)
“The second edition of my book, The Meaning of Everyday Occupation was released by SLACK, Inc. in January 2011. A blog for the book is being developed to promote sharing of ideas among faculty and students, and can be found at hasselkus.wordpress.com.”

Amy Vandenberg Pricco (BS ‘91)
“I am married to D. Jeff Pricco and we have 6 amazing children: Gianna (13), Evan (11), twins Ethan and Ava (7), Owen (5), Aidan (4). I continue to work on call Saturdays at Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis and I really enjoy the weekend flexibility it offers. In my spare time (which isn't much) I enjoy travel, DIY projects around the house, reading, and volunteering at my children’s' school.”

Laurie [Fiechter] Romanowski (BS ‘98)
“I have enjoyed working as an Occupational Therapist since I graduated from UW Madison in 1998. I have worked in a variety of settings and I have now found my niche in geriatric rehabilitation. I worked in the schools for 12 years and my passion was working with children with Autism and I was part of developing the first Autism Classroom with the district I worked in. I resigned from the schools and decided to try a shot at rehabilitation and I just love it!!! We have a 2 year-old son, and the hours and flexibility work out much better for our family. The job allows me to work part time and enjoy the other part time just being mom and I love that. I am proud to say that I am an Occupational Therapist and I wake up each day looking forward to providing care and therapy in efforts to improve the quality of life in each and everyone of my patient's. It is so rewarding and I hope to be working well into my 70's!!!!!!!!!”

Rachel [Herszenson] Galant (BS ‘01)
“I am director of rehabilitation services at Shriners Hospitals for Children - Chicago, and I have been job sharing this position for the past year with my PT colleague. I completed my master’s degree in nonprofit management at Spertus College in 2010 and my husband, Ron, just graduated from John Marshall Law School and is studying hard for the IL bar exam. We stay very busy with our 2-year-old son, Ezra!”

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