Graduate Programs

Blogs from students, faculty & staff

I obtained my bachelors degree in Exercise Science and Health Sciences with a minor in Psychology from the University of Idaho. I found myself deciding between three doctoral programs, and ultimately chose the University of Michigan’s Occupational Therapy (OTD) program here at UM-Flint. I was excited to move closer to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

What first got my attention was UM-Flint’s OTD program is it is a doctorate level OT, and I always knew I wanted to get my doctorate degree. Being able to have the highest education in the field is important to me as I want to be able to compete in the work field, gain the tools necessary to be a top level OT, go into research, and possibly come back to teach.

 There are 31 students in my cohort. I can say we have all accomplished so much in the short seven months we have been in classes. I really feel that we have grown as a family and I have also found some very close friendships this year. I live on campus in the Riverfront Residence Hall; I appreciate the location because I get to walk to class every day. 

I walked into the first semester with an open mindset and ready to start my journey of becoming an Occupational Therapist (OT). That fall semester was a welcoming and baseline semester. We took Kinesiology, Anatomy, Theory, and Intro to OT. I fell in love with Anatomy and enjoyed being able to apply what I was learning to the field of OT because in my undergraduate studies I did not have an Anatomy class tailored to what I wanted to do. Some days were overwhelming, but there were plenty of resources that were available to help us master the information. Between the four classes, I did usually feel like I was always busy; from projects to studying, I was on the go the first semester. 

In January I started my second semester, which is our pediatric semester. Initially, I was not very interested in pediatrics, but I have to say over the course of the semester I have been able to shift my interest to being open to pediatrics. We had a Neuro Rehabilitation OT and an Inpatient OT come in and speak to us. I was intrigued by how the OT can change lives. Neuro Rehabilitation is an area that I am very interested in.

Our courses this semester are a Developmental Course Across the Lifespan, Assessments and Interventions, Conditions and Occupations, Culture, Applied Neuro, and a Level 1 Fieldwork. All of our classes have been interesting because we are finally getting into what an OT does. I have learned SOAP notes, I have gone on site visits and had to do a write-up on performance skills. We are learning interventions, and we are able to actually utilize OT assessments. Our Thursday lab has children ages 3-5 years old come up to our new Pediatric Lab and we get to create our own activities to analyze developmental milestones. Through this experience you get to learn what a neurotypical child is capable of so when working with children that show delay, you are able to have a baseline, which I find very helpful. 

I really have felt that we have learned so much this semester because we had so many opportunities to go into the community and learn. I have had Monday Fieldwork where I have shadowed OT’s in an out-patient facility. I also had to prepare ADL activities for children in the university’s Early Childhood Development Center on my other Monday’s and analyze how they perform bilateral movement. We are just in our first year and already have experience administering assessments. From Anatomy to Conditions I feel prepared to enter my upcoming semesters.

The University itself has so many opportunities to get involved: intramural sports, activity classes at the Recreation Center, Murder Mystery Dinners, and much more. I have found UM-Flint puts on a lot of events that make you feel part of a community. Our cohort goes to the Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays and then goes to CrossFit on Thursdays. You can find us at Cafe Rhema when we have free time to study or catch up. It is is a very welcoming environment on our campus. 

Overall, I am very pleased with the hands-on experience that you get thrown into right away in the OTD program. They really want you to learn through experience, because in this field that is how you learn best. I love being a Wolverine!

AR played women’s soccer at the University of Idaho before coming to UM-Flint for graduate school.