Tova Ganz, a student in the BS/MS Occupational Therapy program at Jefferson, received the Ethel Beard Burstein Scholarship in January 2012. Ms. Ganz is the first recipient of the scholarship, which was established by Mrs. Ethel Beard Burstein, an occupational therapist with roots in Philadelphia.
In her application essay, Ms. Ganz reflected on her experience as a student, working to improve the lives of patients: “Together with my clients I have experienced the joy of learning to walk again, the frustration of losing friends after a stigmatizing diagnosis, the intricacies of dealing with various family and team members, and most of all, the client’s exhilaration as they come to understand and realize that they can and will live their life to the fullest extent possible.”
Ms. Ganz’s interest in the field of occupational therapy began when she observed her siblings’ transformation as a result of OT services. She tells the story: “When the triplets joined my family at age four each of the boys had significant developmental delays. My family teamed up with the occupational therapist to work on many different aspects of the boys’ functioning; ranging from learning to eat with utensils, toilet training and general skills of independent functioning, to learning to interact with others through training in communication, social skills and verbal expression. The complete revolution of these children as they began to progress towards their highest possible level of functioning inspired me to become a practicing occupational therapist.”
As she considers her future, Ms. Ganz envisions a career focused on each client’s individual needs and collaborating with other members of the healthcare team to help each client reach his or her fullest potential.
Mrs. Burstein established the scholarship to honor and express gratitude to Ms. Helen Willard and Ms. Clare Spackman, occupational therapists who influenced and helped fund her occupational therapy education and career. “My hope is that the scholarship recipients will view occupational therapy with dedication to improve the quality of life for our patients,” she says.
Mrs. Burstein says, “We as therapists have the rewards of challenging work and training students to be creative, diversified and honorable professional clinicians. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of being a creative and innovative therapist, and not giving up when faced with a challenging patient or client.”
The Ethel Beard Burstein Scholarship is available annually. Applicants must be Jefferson School of Health Professions occupational therapy students who are Philadelphia residents in good academic standing and who intend to work as registered occupational therapists in a clinical setting for at least two years following graduation.