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Alumni Updates for Fall 2014 OT Matters

Mary Jane Ebling GuhlBS 1955
For many years, Mary has been writing children’s stories. In 2001, her book “Springs” was published by R.C. Owen Publishers and is still being sold and used in school districts throughout the country. This year, Mary self published a book titled, “Mary’s-Go-Round,” which is a collection of 31 of her stories. The book was finished just in time to give to her family as she celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary on Sept. 11.

Cynthia Ann Rayburn Wise BS 1959
Cynthia retired from full-time employment in June 2013 and became a 1 percent staffer on call one weekend a month and for vacation relief in her rural Ohio Community Hospital and Wellness Center. After marriage, four children, several moves and 50 years as a working OT, as a staffer and manager, Cynthia reports that the adjustment has been easy, smooth and fun. She says, “It is a real adventure constructing my own day everyday. I am fortunate to have good health as I stay active on cycling trips, yoga, swim, tennis, racquetball and zumba, as well as visiting family.” With a sister still in Sun Prairie, Wis., and a high school friend in Madison, Cynthia gets back once a year for a visit, always with amazement at the changes and advances in the city and the university. She states that “thanks to that BS degree I have had a varied and interesting career and am happy settling in to life in the slower lane! … But I am not done yet!”

Carlene Ann Thorstad Roberts BS 1969
Carlene is currently retired and enjoys volunteer work, grandchildren and traveling.

Missy Woolf Shay BS 1969
Missy is no longer an OT, but says she still thinks like one. She now works part-time in a quilt shop, teaches quilting, and sells some of her own work. Missy and her husband travel a good deal. This year they went to Burma/ Myanmar and to Brazil for the World Cup.

Janet Gruber Arnold BS 1976
Janet continues to work for the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (where she has been since 1984). Three years ago she returned to the Day Treatment Program as part of a specialized Dialectical Behavioral Therapy team. Janet is the mother of four sons and two daughters, and has two granddaughters.

Ginger Grass McDonald BS 1976
Ginger recently co-wrote “Self-Care With Flair! — a practical guide for therapists, parents and teachers of children with autism and other difficulties.” The 2012 book combines the ideas of visual schedules, activity analysis, and rhyme to make it easy to remember poems to help children learn 56 basic self-care skills. Ginger and co-author Bhanu Raghavan have been presenting their idea at state and AOTA conferences to positive acclaim since 2010. They are now working on producing a musical recording to accompany the book.

Virginia H. O’Brien BS 1976
Over the past four years, since receiving her OT doctorate in 2010, Virginia has developed a residency mentoring program for hand therapy. As of August 1, the program began with its first resident. They have a strong emphasis in their residency curriculum so it reflects the practice of OT in hand therapy. The program is an alliance between their hand clinic at Fairview Health Systems, Minneapolis, and the University of Minnesota’s Program in OT, such that it consists of a blend of practical clinical intervention with mentoring, didactic education, work as a teaching assistant, and achieving a graduate certificate in OT. The goal is to apply to AOTA to be a credentialed residency program.

Mary Ougndahl Frear BS 1977
Mary is retired.

Sue Berger BS 1978
Sue reports that she lives in Boston, is a Clinical Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at Boston University, and is happily married for 33 years with two kids. “Life is good!” she says.

Linda Nett Duesterhoeft BS 1978
Linda says hello to her fellow alumni and reports she has been working in Appleton, Wis., for 34 years at St. Elizabeth Hospital, currently in outpatient rehab. She has a certification in treating pelvic floor dysfunction.

Karen Marcus Sames BS 1980
Karen was promoted to Program Director of the Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy Program at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn.

Annette Marie Numrich BS 1980
Annette retired from the Northland Pines School District in January 2014 after 26 years of service, where she served students 3-21. She will be returning to the district in the fall on a part-time basis to mentor the new therapist and to provide services to the Early Childhood program.

Bob Thompson BS 1980
Bob retired as a school-based occupational therapist from The School District of the Menomonie Area in June 2013. He worked 21 years in Menomonie, 3.5 in Boyceville, and as a rehab therapist or skilled nursing OT in Maine, Ohio and Wisconsin. He also worked in The Center for Rehabilitation Technology at UW-Stout during his 33- year career. Since retiring, he has filled numerous long-term substitute occupational therapy positions in west-central Wisconsin. He will continue his role in education as a substitute teacher and/or school-based occupational therapy substitute. Bob’s National Education Association responsibilities have included trips as an elected delegate to the National Representative Assembly the past five years. He currently functions in the role of Communications Liaison for our Wisconsin delegation. He also serves on the Governance Documents Committee for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, and is an active member of his WCEA-Retired group, having been appointed Treasurer in summer 2014. Bob hiked several trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area in October 2013 and in October 2014 will be hiking the Inca Trail in Peru on a 10- day trek. Bob and his wife, Linda, get back to Madison about four times a year and have to take in the Union Terrace on occasion. Bob says “Hi everyone!” and “Go Badgers!”

Jane Lynn Rust Pestel BS 1982
Jane worked in Adult Acute Inpatient Rehab for the past 26 years until she accepted early medical retirement in January 2014.

Lynn Chassee BS 1987
Lynn continues to work as a team leader in the Occupational Therapy Department at Mid Valley Special Education Cooperative. After being in the OT field, first as a COTA and then as an OTR, since 1977, she is retiring at the end of the 2014-15 school year. She says, “I have worked in the schools for most of my career and at this point in my life, I need a change. This change includes spending more time with my two grandkids and travelling when I want and not having to schedule it during a school vacation.” Lynn continues to help train future occupational therapists who are interested in going into the field.

Betsy Foss Campbell BS 1988
After working for 15 years as an occupational therapist, Betsy returned to graduate school for degrees in communication (2009) and political science (2011) from Marquette University. She has served as the Executive Director of the Donna Lexa Art Centers since April 2013. Based in Waukesha, the centers promote creativity, dignity and community for adults and teens with special needs through art.

Linda Hofstetter BS 1993
Linda is the Regional Manager for Select Rehabilitation.

Sari Ockner BS 1998
Sari worked for a non-for-profit agency called the YAI — The National Institute for People with Disabilities — for the first nine years of her career. She worked in their early intervention and school-based program at The Gramercy School in New York City. She was a staff OTR/L and helped with program development (in-house trainings on ADHD, SPD, Typical Development). She also spoke at their national conference on Typical Development. Sari did home-based OT in homes (initially through agencies) and worked closely with the author Lindsey Biel (“Raising A Sensory Smart Child”) and developed her own private practice. In 2008 she moved from NYC to Los Angeles and worked in a private clinic-based pediatric practice for a year. She then began working in the Santa Monica-Malibu School District and has been there for five years. Sari has worked with children from preschool through high school. She has also developed her own home-based and clinical practice. Her website is

Gwendolyn Hermes MS 2007
Gwen was promoted to Assistant Rehab Program Manager for Achieve Therapy Solutions in January 2014. She currently works at Clearview Brain Injury Center in Juneau, Wis.

Elyse Anderson Sienko MS 2007
Elyse will be starting a position as a school OT in the fall of 2014 after almost seven years in outpatient pediatrics. She also worked for an inpatient Acute rehab unit on call for about two years. Elyse and her partner recently had their second baby. They live in White Bear Lake, Minn. Elyse reports that she still cheers for the Badgers even though she lives deep in Gopher country.

Kira Luoma MS 2013
Kira is an occupational therapist on the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Beaumont hospital. However, she has recently accepted a job as an OT on the inpatient rehab unit at UW Hospital.

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