Those associated with UW-Madison’s Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) take a look back at the 2013-14 academic year. Following are several of the highlights …
Outreach and service
In an effort to provide service to the Madison community, SOTA has continued its two major service projects. The first is in partnership with the Badger Childhood Cancer Network. Once a month, students provide childcare while parents of children who have, or have had, cancer take part in a support group. These students lead the children in art projects and play games with them.
SOTA has also continued to work with Avalon Assisted Living by helping run a balance exercise class for older adults. These projects give students the opportunity to work with community members in a way that applies to OT.
Students also took part in a range of other activities during the year, including Family Night at the Museum, an event in April for teen parents and their families held at the Madison Children’s Museum. MSOT students provided information on child development and led an activity for attending families to make sensory bottles to take home.
In February, SOTA members also participated in the Polar Plunge, and jumped into ice-cold water to support Special Olympics.
In October 2013, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) walk event brought OT students together with community members and other disciplines to raise awareness and funds for mental health care. Students last fall also continued to be involved in the Expanding Your Horizons conference by volunteering to help run a career day for middle school girls with interests in the fields of math and science.
AOTA Annual Conference
A group of students and faculty of the MSOT program journeyed to Baltimore in April for the AOTA Conference. The students report that those who had never attended the conference before found the presentations and lectures to be extremely powerful and inspirational.
The opportunity to interact with practicing OTs from around the country served as a great reminder of what this program’s students hope to achieve in their future careers.
Student news ticker …
• SOTA member Sabrina Hilton (class of 2015) and several faculty members attended the World OT Conference in Japan in July. Hilton reports appreciating the opportunity to learn about the global presence and influence of the OT profession.
• The American Occupational Therapy Foundation announced its list of 2014 scholarship recipients this past summer, and two UW–Madison master’s students were winners. Katie Ehlers was selected to receive the Willard and Spackman Scholarship, worth $2,000, while Anne Rego was awarded the Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association Endowed Scholarship worth $1,000.
• Ehlers presented a poster at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in Atlanta on May 15. It was titled, “Stressful, Hopeful, Weak, and Strong Ecological Connections and the Well-Being of Parents of Adolescents with ASD,” with UW–Madison’s Jocelyn Kuhn and Dr. Leann Smith.
• The class of 2014 celebrated commencement at Camp Randall Stadium in May, followed by an evening banquet organized by SOTA. These students are now embarking on their first level 2 fieldwork experiences. Meanwhile, the MSOT class of 2016 was welcomed to the program with an orientation and reception on June 6 at Union South. Faculty and current students attended.
• OT and PT students worked together to organize and run a job fair that welcomed potential employers from many healthcare businesses. The event was well attended by both programs as well as some SLP students, and it was considered a great success.
• The work of Theodore Howard and Sabrina Hilton, both of whom are pursuing graduate degrees from the Master of Science-Occupational Therapy Program (MSOT), had work featured in the eighth annual Health Sciences Student Art Show on campus this spring.
Student scholarship winners
Mildred Averill Scholarship
Hana Ibrik and Sarah Ruplinger
Jean Chapman Kiernat Scholarship
Caroline G. Thompson Scholarship
Jillian Laurent, Katie Taylor and Katie Ehlers
Elizabeth Roughton Travel Award
Pin-Kuei (Cara) Chen and Katie Ehlers
Caroline G. Thompson Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowships
Yeojin Choi and Pin-Kuei (Cara) Chen
Witkay, Lucile Schreiber and Wendel Awards
Sarah Crook, April LeGrave, Karen Lichty, Anna Rice, Anya Chappel, Jessica Leffring and Malissa Roberts