Occupational Therapy Newsletter

Fall 2022

Message from the Chair

We had a successful semester launch and welcomed about 130 first-year students across all our entry-level occupational therapy programs, which includes students entering the Jefferson Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program.

I am thrilled to announce that the OTA Program joined the College of Rehabilitation Sciences as of July 1, 2022. The College and Department of Occupational Therapy welcomes new and current OTA students, faculty and staff, and alumni! The 2022-2023 academic year will serve as a transition year as we weave the OTA Program into the Department and College culture, activities, and procedures.

Following this transition theme, additional changes are happening within the Department of Occupational Therapy:

  • Our final cohort of BS-MSOT students (junior transfer students) within the MSOT-Center City (CC) program are in Year 3 and will graduate in May 2023 with their BS in Occupational Health and MS in Occupational Therapy.    
  • Our final cohort of MSOT-CC students entered the program this fall semester (2022). They will graduate in August 2024. Within this cohort is the final group of 3+2 students entering from our partnership programs.
  • Our final 3+2 undergraduate track-up students entered Year 1 of the MSOT-East Falls (EF) program this fall. They will graduate with their Bachelor of Science in May 2023 and their Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in December 2024 or May 2025.
  • We are excited that our first cohort of 3+3 BS-OTD undergraduate students on the East Falls Campus entered Year 3 this fall. They are excited about transitioning to the Center City Campus next fall, 2023 to begin their fourth year, which is Year 1 of their professional phase. They will graduate with their Bachelor of Science in May 2024 and their Doctor of Occupational Therapy in May 2026.

With these changes, the Department of Occupational Therapy will offer all entry options for those interested in joining the profession of occupational therapy:

  • Associate of Science in OT – OTA Program
  • Master of Science in OT – MS in OT-EF Program
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy – OTD-CC Program

In addition, we offer a Post-Professional OTD degree and continuing education through our Advanced Practice Certificates for those currently in the profession. I am proud to lead a department that offers programs across all entry levels and promotes professional advancement and lifelong learning. For details about each program, click here.

In this edition, we feature the stories of two alumni and highlight faculty, student, and department activities.

Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful Holiday and New Year!

Catherine Verrier Piersol, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy

Featuring Our Alumni

We are featuring two of our alumni, both of whom represent different paths to the profession at different times in our history. However, both their stories reflect the ambition, innovation and entrepreneurial vision of our alumni. Dan Toland, a second-year OTD student, spent time with both alumni and shares their stories here.

Arthur Yeager, MS, OTR/L

MSOT, Philadelphia University, 2002

By Dan Toland (OTD-CC, 2024)

Colonel Arthur Yeager did not embark on the most traditional route to occupational therapy. Nevertheless, he found his calling in the profession and is now working to expand the role of occupational therapists in the military. Col. Yeager initially joined the military straight out of high school, tempted by the thrill of piloting a Cobra helicopter as an Army attack helicopter mechanic. Unfortunately, with only two seats in the aircraft, his first four years in the military involved very little flying. Despite this disappointment, Col. Yeager made the most of his position, working hard and taking off-duty college courses that introduced him to psychology and social work. Upon completing a year of credits, he applied for and was selected for the Army’s “Green to Gold” three-year academic scholarship at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology. By achieving the status of Distinguished Military Graduate, he earned his choice of military branches, completed helicopter flight school as a CH-47 Chinook pilot, and reported to his first assignment as an officer in Germany. While he participated in and led many assignments and missions, the colonel found that as he advanced in rank, he spent more time than he wanted behind a desk – that he was more “chairborne” than airborne. With only eight years left until he could retire at 20 years, Col. Yeager decided to resign from his commission in hopes of pursuing social work. Instead, on the recommendation of two occupational therapist friends, he enrolled in Philadelphia University for a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy.

At Philadelphia University, Col. Yeager saw the connection between occupational therapy and the military, finding interest in industrial design and adaptation. He began developing and implementing his skills for occupational therapy that perfectly complemented his innate ability for the profession. For his level II fieldwork, Col. Yeager returned to active duty to complete a nine-month internship at Walter Reed Medical Center, arriving two days after September 11, 2001. He saw burn casualties from the Pentagon and assisted them in recovering from both the physical and psychological trauma they experienced. Following his graduation from Philadelphia University, Col. Yeager reported to his first assignment in Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, where he practiced as an occupational therapist, specializing in upper extremity orthopedic rehabilitation. He used the practice and skills he honed at Philadelphia University to submit over 30 invention disclosures for adaptive devices, including the Yeager Knife (shown below).

In 2008, Col. Yeager volunteered for a 15-month deployment in Mosul, Iraq, and later to Kandahar, Afghanistan as a member of a combat stress control detachment where he practiced what he describes as some of his most rewarding work. As a combat stress occupational therapist, Col. Yeager not only helped soldiers experiencing trauma decompress from the battlefield but also provided healthy coping mechanisms to ensure they recovered fully and returned to duty, rather than medevacked for behavioral health reasons.

After multiple assignments as chief of occupational therapy services at various military treatment facilities, Col. Yeager truly became “chairborne,” working as chief of operations for Army Behavioral Health as a staff officer for the Army Surgeon General, primarily focused on policy and new initiatives. In his current position at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, MD as the deputy chief of the Rehabilitation Department, Col. Yeager is part of the push for the new role of occupational therapy in the military. Rather than providing care to soldiers after trauma occurs, a preventive approach more effectively supports soldiers’ well-being. This approach is being explored through the Holistic Health and Fitness Program, or H2F Implementation.

H2F seeks to maintain the highest level of readiness in the Army by maximizing the health and well-being of soldiers with an embedded multi-disciplinary team comprised of an occupational therapist, physical therapist, physician assistant and behavioral health clinician. Col. Yeager believes this is achieved at the brigade level by increasing the number of occupational therapists in the army and assigning them to units where they will train, treat and deploy with the soldiers of their unit. In contrast to being in a separate clinic, integrated Army occupational therapists can inform the unit from within the best practices to maintain holistic health and well-being before, during and post-deployment. The H2F Implementation seeks to cement the place of occupational therapy in the military as part of the unit rather than an outside civilian role.

Col. Yeager is hoping to grow the ranks of military occupational therapists to 130 in the near future. He serves as a member of the recruiting cabinet for future Army occupational therapists. Because Col. Yeager notes that “the military has a manual for everything,” he shares a link to the new Army H2F Doctrine (2020), TRADOC below.

Any further questions can be directed to Col. Yeager on Facebook or Instagram.

H2F Manual

Facebook: @OTarmy
Instagram: @official_army_OT

Rachel Wiley, MS, OTR/L

MSOT, Center City, 2003

By Dan Toland (OTD-CC, 2024)

Rachel Wiley received her bachelor’s degree at The Pennsylvania State University, where she began her journey to becoming an occupational therapist. Rachel was president of the Student Occupational Therapy Club, and, foreshadowing her future career, completed academic projects related to the Environmental Skill-Building Program, developed at Thomas Jefferson University1, now known as the Skills2Care® Program. After graduating from Jefferson in August 2013, Rachel was hired by Dr. Cathy Piersol, director of Jefferson Elder Care, as the interventionist in a program funded by the Pew Charitable Trust of Philadelphia. The program provided an occupational therapy dementia service to low-income elders living with dementia in the Philadelphia area. Fulfilling her commitment to helping people with dementia, this position offered Rachel the opportunity to hone her skills in dementia care, while delivering Jefferson Elder Care’s home-based dementia service that integrated Skills2Care®, a caregiver education program, into the care plan for those living with dementia. This experience launched Rachel’s career trajectory to business owner and entrepreneur.

Rachel is the founder and proprietor of Day By Day Home Therapy and the Dementia Collaborative, two organizations dedicated to providing support and education for caregivers. Rachel’s dedication to caregiver support stems from experiences she and her family had when caring for her grandmother and two great-aunts living with dementia. Rachel’s grandmother and aunts were sisters with the maiden name “Day,” inspiring the name of her private practice, Day by Day Home Therapy, through which Rachel honors their memory. The Dementia Collaborative furthers its mission to promote best practices in dementia care by educating healthcare providers on evidence-based approaches and strategies. Through her entrepreneurial efforts, Rachel is committed to delivering high-quality care, training and education to people living with dementia, their families, care professionals, and the community.

Rachel’s grandmother (center) and great aunts (left and right) shared the maiden name, “Day,” from which her company, Day By Day Home Therapy, is named.

Rachel describes her journey as an occupational therapy business owner over the past five years as a “rollercoaster of entrepreneurship.” Despite the challenges of creating and running a business, she could not imagine doing any other work. Rachel drew upon her professional networks, building a community of supporters and collaborators from which she gathered advice and encouragement. This helped her navigate a multitude of challenges as she balanced her strong commitment to best practices with the realities of running a successful business.

Like many other businesses in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic created significant challenges that required Rachel to restructure her business and lean into telehealth. Even while facing these challenges, Rachel’s entrepreneurial spirit led to her second business, the Dementia Collaborative, established in February 2020. Through her ongoing relationship, Rachel worked with Dr. Piersol to establish a license agreement between Jefferson Elder Care, Thomas Jefferson University, and the Dementia Collaborative to offer the Skills2Care® Certification Training to occupational therapy practitioners. Participants are trained in the family-centered Skills2Care® protocol, which includes caregiver education about dementia, an assessment of caregiver care challenges, followed by problem-solving and development of an action plan of care strategies and a salient component of the program, helping caregivers learn to take care of themselves.

Through Rachel’s efforts, the Dementia Collaborative is training occupational therapy practitioners across the nation in the Skills2Care® program, and as an AOTA Approved Provider, the Dementia Collaborative offers participants continuing education units.

Through the opportunities at Jefferson, Rachel's experience providing Skills2Care®, and her entrepreneurial drive, led to a successful and impactful practice and business. She expresses gratitude for the opportunity to work with Dr. Piersol and Dr. Tracey Earland, initially as a graduate research assistant and now as lifelong colleagues. They share a passion for dementia care and the belief that occupational therapy plays an important role in dementia care, given their expertise in matching individual competencies with activity demand, analyzing the impact of the environment on behavior and action, and creatively developing strategies that optimize participation and reduce dementia-related behavioral symptoms.

Rachel hopes to use her businesses to expand occupational therapy’s presence in dementia care by increasing awareness in the Skills2Care® program and training as many occupational therapists who share her passion as possible. Rachel has a personal goal to train at least one occupational therapist in all 50 states, which she is well on her way to achieving.

More information about Skills2Care® Certification Training and/or to become involved with the Dementia Collaborative or reach out to Rachel Wiley.

More information about direct client services.

1Gitlin, L. N., Winter, L., Corcoran, M., Dennis, M., Schinfeld, S. & Hauck, W. (2003). Effects of the Home Environmental Skill-building Program on the Caregiver-Care Recipient Dyad: Six-month Outcomes from the Philadelphia REACH Initiative. The Gerontologist, 43(4), 532-546. DOI: 10.1093/geront/43.4.532

Faculty Highlights

Amy Carroll, OTD, OTR/L

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Teaching Assistant Professor

Dr. Amy Carroll’s involvement at Thomas Jefferson University began in 2010 as a doctoral student in the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctoral (PP-OTD) Program. She graduated in 2014 and started teaching as an adjunct faculty member in the PP-OTD Program that summer. In 2016, the department was fortunate that Dr. Carroll assumed a full-time faculty position. As a valued faculty member, she brings expertise in knowledge translation and online teaching with professional certifications including Knowledge Translation Professional Certificate, Teaching in the Digital Age Advanced Practice Certificate and Quality Matters Teaching Online Certificate. As someone who values and believes in lifelong learning, these certificates have advanced her teaching approaches and skills.

In her primary teaching role, Dr. Carroll is committed to advancing the knowledge, skills and confidence of her doctoral students. She feels fortunate to teach courses and mentor students in areas that align with her professional interests: knowledge translation, program development and evaluation and health literacy. She is also active in JeffACE (Jefferson Autism Center of Excellence) and an enthusiastic advisor for the Autism Advocacy Group, a student-led service group.  She balances her professional work with a passion for outdoor activities.  Some may be surprised to learn that Dr. Carroll is an avid scuba diver and has an amateur’s certification as a rescue diver. She earned this certification mostly so that she can dive with family and friends right from the beach in Bonaire, an island off the coast of Venezuela.

Dr. Carroll’s scholarship centers on activities that promote knowledge translation, which is the application of new research knowledge in everyday occupational therapy practice. She is currently leading three translational efforts: (1) PrEMO© (Promoting Environments that Measure Outcomes), (2) advancing her doctoral work to promote the use of developmentally supportive care practices among caregivers in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) in India, and (3) the new Innovations Lab for School-Based Practice. Details of Dr. Carroll’s exciting and leading-edge work follow.

PrEMO© entails partnerships between Jefferson occupational therapy faculty, fieldwork educators, and Jefferson occupational therapy students during their level two fieldwork. PrEMO© efforts center on activities that promote the use of model occupational therapy practice, such as applying data-driven decision-making to interventions with clients, conducting a needs assessment to justify program development and integrating knowledge translation frameworks and strategies to promote the use of evidence-based practice among all stakeholders. The PrEMO team, led by Dr. Carroll, has published and presented in a variety of venues. Most recently, they presented a poster at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy in Paris. 

During her PP-OTD work at Jefferson (2013-2014), Dr. Carroll created a Developmentally Supportive Care (DSC) program for caregivers in a NICU in India. This involved a five-week classroom and hands-on training workshop for nurses who worked in the NICU and integrated knowledge translation frameworks and strategies to support sustained use of DSC. Dr. Carroll established relationships with physicians and nurses committed to best practices in the NICU through her doctoral work. Her doctoral project was ground-breaking, with an enduring impact on the delivery of care in the NICU in India. Most notably, the program Dr. Carroll developed and evaluated led to the establishment of the Developmental and Supportive Care Foundation for Newborns & Children (India), for which Dr. Carroll serves as an executive board member. Her partnerships remain strong and offer continued opportunities for collaboration in training and knowledge translation activities in India.

Dr. Carroll’s most recent project involved a collaboration between an interprofessional and international team of Jefferson faculty and Indian colleagues with NICU expertise. Funded through a Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences Dean’s Grant, Dr. Carroll led a group of physicians, nurses and occupational therapists from the U.S. and India with neonatal expertise in an expert review process. This resulted in the development of the NICU Caregiver Behavior Checklist (NICU-CBC), a validated checklist that NICU personnel can use to measure their application of DSC during neonatal intensive caregiving. A poster and the checklist were presented at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy in Paris. 

Most recently, combining her passion for and expertise in knowledge translation with an entrepreneurial spirit, Dr. Carroll in 2020 created and piloted the Innovations Lab for School-Based Practice to respond to the needs of school-based occupational therapy practitioners as a low-cost, low-time burden professional development opportunity. This was initiated in response to the service delivery challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Each lab is designed as a short (~4 weeks) collaborative professional development experience centered on a timely topic for school-based practitioners. The lab's structured learning activities, resources, online discussion posts and live online meetings. Dr. Carroll’s hope is that “the accessibility of the labs will encourage school-based practitioners to attend regularly and develop a supportive energizing learning community!” With the first three innovations labs being well-received, Dr. Carroll is planning three more labs for this academic year. Her early success has led other faculty in the Jefferson Department of Occupational Therapy to consider creating new innovations labs in various practice areas following the same format.

Dr. Carroll is energized when working with her doctoral students, most of whom are occupational therapists who bring knowledge, expertise and passion to their learning. As a faculty mentor for many of our post-professional doctoral students, her guidance and support have led to the dissemination of students’ work, including peer-reviewed publications and presentations. When asked to share “words of wisdom” for our students, Dr. Carroll encouraged students to “use their coursework at Jefferson to realize their professional aspirations.” She inspires students to consider what fuels their work and reflect on those experiences and interests to hone their professional journey. Dr. Carroll says, “students may be surprised where they land!”

Dr. Carroll values working with and learning from the Jefferson faculty, an impressive team that drew her to Jefferson. "It has been amazing to have my work wholly aligned with what brings me joy," she says. "I feel my participation in the Jefferson Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate program provided me that opportunity.”

Marie-Christine Potvin, PhD, OTR/L

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Dr. Marie-Christine Potvin came to Jefferson in 2015 as an experienced faculty member who had previously worn many hats, including program development, teaching, mentoring and research. Over her seven years at Jefferson, she has also had many roles, such as teaching in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy-East Falls (MSOT-EF) Program, mentoring students in the Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) Program and the Post-Professional OTD Program, as well as developing courses and curriculums. She finds that Jefferson afforded her the opportunity to build on her strengths and engage in aspects of academia that she loved most.

One such opportunity was the creation of the GOALS2 program (Greater Opportunity for Academic Learning & Living Successes) in 2016. This one-of-a-kind program offers occupational therapist-led coaching that supports Jefferson students who have disabilities and/or chronic conditions. Coaching is a specific type of conversational partnership used by occupational therapists to facilitate occupational change in clients. With coaching, the occupational therapist supports the client in identifying important goals, leveraging their strengths and resources, thinking creatively and creating feasible action plans.

An AOTA Quarterly article written by Dr. Potvin and her students described the coaching model used within the GOALS2 program, Coaching in Context, and its application with neurodiverse college students. The value of the GOALS2 program have been overwhelmingly positive and described in two published articles to date, a pilot study and a qualitative study. One of the program clients captures the value of the program best when stating, “It’s great, it’s great. You should do GOALS2.”

Coaching in Context is an evolving model whose continued refinement has been made possible through collaboration with Dr. Ashley Seiver, the preceptor of the GOALS2 program, and the Jefferson Center for Outcomes and Measurements, specifically Drs. MJ Mulcahey, Namrata Grampurohit, Rachel Kim and Nicole Gerhardt. Their combined scholarly accomplishments, understanding of the value of coaching within the occupational therapy profession, and ability to train occupational therapists through the Coaching in Context Advanced Practice Certificate, place Jefferson at the forefront of the emerging movement to infuse coaching into occupational therapy practice within the U.S.

The GOALS2 program also serves as a fieldwork and doctoral capstone site for Jefferson’s students. Each year, six to eight students learn to coach and the art of embedding coaching within occupational therapy practice, while completing their fieldwork or capstone experience in the GOALS2 program. They then serve as the primary occupational therapy coach for the clients served by the program.

This experience of teaching occupational therapy students to gain the knowledge and skills to coach and, importantly, to embody the coaching mindset, made Dr. Potvin the ideal candidate to develop and teach the courses for our new Coaching in Context Advance Practice Certificate. “Teaching coaching to practicing occupational therapists has been fulfilling,” Dr. Potvin says. “They come with so much expertise. There is a need for them to be comfortable with unlearning some of their ‘usual’ ways of doing things as they start to coach. This change takes time, but when it clicks, it clicks, and then they see the power of coaching.”

Dr. Potvin became the director of the PPOTD program this summer, which she describes as a “tremendous privilege.” Jefferson established the PPOTD program 15 years ago under the leadership of Dr. Susan Toth-Cohen. With over 140 alumni to date, the accomplishments of the PPOTD students and alumni speak to the program’s impact and its long-term legacy, with 55 student and alumni peer-reviewed publications, numerous faculty appointments post-graduation, awards and even a deanship. “The program has an outstanding reputation, and I’m inspired to build on it with the support of an exceptional faculty,” says Dr. Potvin, adding that mentoring is among her favorite roles at Jefferson.

“Facilitating growth in students, especially around scholarship, is rewarding and can have a huge impact on the profession,” she says. “Mentoring is not just for thesis and capstone projects. It can happen in every interaction we have with students and alumni. Now, I infuse a lot of coaching principles in my approach to mentoring.” The University recognized her passion for mentoring with the Jefferson Mentoring Award in 2020. Two years later, she was honored with the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Distinguished OT Educator Award.

When asked about advice for students, Dr. Potvin told us this story: “The late Dr. Maralynne D. Mitcham, an extraordinary mentor, told me 30 years ago, ‘Learning is in the process.’ I was puzzled by this at first. What was important to me at the time, as a post-professional master student, was the end product ─ a study that would be meaningful. Later, as an educator, I more fully understood the meaning of her words, which I now translate to my students as, ‘learning is a journey, not a destination.’ If you were traveling by train from New York to Los Angeles, you wouldn’t wait until your destination to enjoy your travel. You’d likely take in as much as possible along the way. The same is true of occupational therapy education at all levels: Take in as much as possible; maximize the journey. That is where the learning occurs. The degree is just the destination.”

For her, the journey continues ─ she says she “learns from everything that I do at the University.” She wanted to invite Jefferson and Philadelphia University alumni, and others to take advantage of the continuing education opportunities that the Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences (JCRS) offers, including coaching workshops, micro-credentials through advanced practice certificates, and the PPOTD program. Alumni are encouraged to stay in touch through the Alumni Network, the JCRS Facebook page and/or through emailing Dr. Stephen Kern and Dr. Potvin, who are both faculty-liaisons for Jefferson’s alumni.

Dr. Potvin’s message: “There are many opportunities for alumni within the Department of Occupational Therapy. Stay in touch!”

Student Highlights

Congratulations to two of our OTA students who received Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA) Scholarships!

  • Quadeera Burchette entered the program in September 2021.  She will graduate in August 2023.
  • Katherine (Kate) Deppen entered the OTA Program in January 2021.  She will graduate in December 2022. 

More about Quadeera...

Why did you choose Jefferson?

The professors!

When looking into this program, I was told amazing stories about the instructors going above and beyond to teach. As an almost 30-year-old, first-time college student, that was important to me. The professors' professionalism, passion and dedication to this program and students have been life-changing for me. They are kind, compassionate, hard-working, and push you to reach your highest potential. They care about your development and are available with open arms if you happen to struggle ─ because they want you to succeed. 

Why do you want to be an occupational therapy assistant?

I want to make a difference!

My core values are to be kind, humble and ultimately a God-fearing woman. When I was younger, I prayed to God and asked that he guide me to improve others' lives. That prayer has led me to work in a special education classroom, serve others at church and use my resources to provide food and supplies to those experiencing homelessness. That same prayer has led me to the Thomas Jefferson OTA Studies program. I was unsure if I was smart enough to complete this program; however, I always knew I had a huge heart and loved to help others. In my culture, some of us face diverse challenges and do not generally beat our circumstances. I knew this program would educate and transform my mind to help me break those stereotypes. The OTA Studies program has forced me to overcome my barriers, and I hope to receive the first degree in my family and make my mother proud.

What is the best part of your educational experience?


Before I came to Thomas Jefferson University, I did not know how to use a computer, Word or even write a paper. I was nervous and doubted myself, but I had an open mind. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and worked hard. Each term, I surprised myself with everything I could do. Because of all the knowledge I received, I can confidently apply what I am learning daily. I have started to think differently and look at things from an OT perspective. I am proud to say I made the dean's list and received four scholarship awards.

What activities have you been involved in at Jefferson?

It gives me great joy to help others, so I supported everyone in my cohort from our first day. I was elected to be a SOTA (Student Occupational Therapy Association) officer. I joined because I wanted to learn to collaborate with others and overcome my fear of public speaking while still offering a helping hand to anyone who needed it. I am also a Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) officer. I was excited to have the opportunity to show that regardless of your hardships and skin color, you can still achieve your goals. After being elected as a SOTA representative, I helped organize a fundraiser making Easter baskets of food items for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. I have also helped organize COTAD events, collaborated with other officers from different campuses, and even learned how to manage budgets!

What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you?

I lost my mother two weeks before my interview with our program director, Sara Loesche. I never complained about life or my circumstances, so I fought back the tears as I answered her questions with a smile. My grief journey has not been easy, but school has helped me to grow and find a purpose. The OTA Program has improved my life, and the psychology/mental health class helped me to identify what I was battling internally. I would not have believed it if someone had told me a year ago that I would be featured in the Thomas Jefferson University newsletter with my mentor, Kate (Deppen). However, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel if you keep fighting!

More about Kate...

Why did you choose Jefferson?

The Jefferson OTA Program was the most accessible way for me to be able to enter the field with an excellent education in the Philadelphia region while balancing a full-time job.

Why do you want to be an occupational therapy assistant?

I want to be a part of helping people live their lives to their fullest potential! I am excited and ready for a hands-on career that will make a difference in the lives of others.

What is the best part of your educational experience?

My cohort! I have learned so much from each of their unique backgrounds, and they have inspired me to push myself further to get the most out of my education. My fieldwork experiences have also been an excellent way to see OT in action from a variety of perspectives.

What activities have you been involved in at Jefferson?

I was an officer in the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) and secretary for the Jefferson chapter of the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) during the 2021-22 school year.

What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you?

I have held over 17 different jobs in the past 20 years!

Undergraduate BS-OTD Students Held a Back Pack Awareness Event

On September 22, 2022, our undergraduate students, with support from their advisor, Dr. Adel Herge, set-up a back pack awareness event in the Kanbar Campus Center on the East Falls Campus. Many people stopped by to weigh their backpacks, play “backpack awareness BINGO” and check out the information on their table.

Department Highlights

Students produced a variety of culminating projects in the 2021-2022 academic year. We are proud to share their work:

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy-Center City

Collaborative Research and Evidence Among Therapists and Educators (CREATE) Presentations

MSOT & BS/MSOT Cohorts, Class of 2022

CREATE Day projects are listed and described on the Jefferson Digital Commons

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy-East Falls Capstone Projects, Class of 2023 [Presented June 2022]

Capstone Project


Student and New Graduate Perspectives on Role-Emerging Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Placement: A Scoping Review

Arben Bajrami
Kaila Blouch
Kali Cappuccio
Kristen Powers
Marisa Waite
Jessica Westerfer

Exploring Falls in Adults with Spinal Cord Injury

Ashley Boyd
Shayna Dozier
Marshea Miller
Chloe Smith
Kassandra White-Prillman

Handwriting Difficulties in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Scoping Review

Danielle Flanagan
Ashley Gelenites
Alyssa Hallsworth
Alice Johnston
Joseph Litz
Kasey Schlupp

Animal Assisted Occupational Therapy: A Scoping Review

Caitlin Crespo
Lindsay Corallo
Maddison Manigly-Haney
Cassandra Hickman
Maggie Grehlinger
Holly Springhorn

Recreation Patterns of Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A scoping review.

Emmi Eltz
Taylor Romano
Nicole Pagano
Libby Tenbusch
Juliana Rivera
Jillian Paternoster
Natalie Hughes
Amy Waldrab
Adrianna Langley

Occupational Therapy Doctoral Capstone Projects, Class of 2022

Capstone projects are listed and described on the Jefferson Digital Commons

Post Professional-Occupational Therapy Doctoral Projects, 2021-2022

Doctoral Project


Faculty Mentor

Current Practice Patterns of Certified Hand Therapists in Rehabilitation of Complex Traumatic Hand Injuries: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Jennifer Dodson, OTD, CHT, OTR/L

Namrata Grampurohit, PhD, OTR/L

Heart Smart: A Virtual Self-Management Program for Individuals with Heart Failure

Sara Kate Frye OTD, OTR/L ATP, CAPS

Alison Bell, OTD, OTR/L

Describing the Breadth of Interventions for School-Aged Individuals with Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities in School-Related Areas of Difficulties

James Gillette OTD, OTR/L

Alison Bell, OTD, OTR/L

Implementation of a New Vision-Based Protocol for Neuro Trauma Patients in Acute Care:  Acceptability and Practicality

Emily Goodwin, OTD, OTR/L

Catherine V. Piersol, PhD, OTD/L, FAOTA

Building Communities of Practice in Skilled Nursing Facilities to Facilitate Interdisciplinary Discharge Planning for Patients Experiencing Homelessness

Joel R. Guerrero, OTD (C), MA, OTR/L

Namrata Grampurohit, PhD, OTR/L

Assessing Functional Cognition in Patients with Mild Stroke: Results of a Feasibility Study in the Acute Care Setting.

Judy Hamby, OTD, OTR/L 

Catherine V. Piersol, PhD, OTD/L, FAOTA

Examining the Implementation of Skills2Care within a Home Health Agency: A Mixed Methods Approach

Kanchan Kamra, OTD(C), OTR/L


Catherine V. Piersol, PhD, OTD/L, FAOTA

An Occupation-Based Mindfulness Meditation Training for Teachers and Other School Staff  

Chanie Messinger, OTD, 


Susan Toth-Cohen, PhD, OTR/L

Retention of Occupational Therapy Students of Color: Examining Experiences of Occupational Justice within Entry-Level Programs

Caitlin Rhoten, OTD, OTR/L

Amy Carroll, OTD, OTR/L

Evaluation of an Interdisciplinary Individualized Stroke Education Program

David Santacroce, OTD/OTR/L

Namrata Grampurohit, PhD, OTR/L

Exploring Community Recreation and Leisure with Young Adults with Autism

Alexandria Rae Taylor, OTD, OTR/L, EIS  

Amy Carroll, OTD, OTR/L

Fostering Interprofessional Collaboration in Pediatric Medical Residency Education:  Using A Contemporary Game-Based Simulation 

Jessica Trio, OTD(C), OTR/L


Tracey Vause Earland, PhD, OTR/L

Sensory Integration and Praxis Functions in Children with ADHD

Katie Oien, OTR/L, OTD, BCP

Roseann Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Development and Preliminary Examination of a Fidelity Assessment for the Spinal Cord Injury Movement Index

Nicole Gerhardt, OTR/L, OTD, CBIS

MJ Mulcahey, PhD, OTR/L

Virtual Mindfulness Program for Occupational Therapy Practitioners Experiencing Burnout: A Pilot Study

Sue Persia, OTD, OTR/L

Amy Carroll, OTD, OTR/L

Leadership Development of Women of Color in Occupational Therapy: A Qualitative Intersectional Analysis

Ushentha Nirmul, OTR/L, OTD, CPAM, CSRS

Pamela Talero, OTD, BScOT(Col), OTR/L, CPAM, COT

Using Justice Oriented-Data Driven Decision Making during School-Based Occupational Therapy Evaluation: A Feasibility Study

Nicole Eisenhut OTD, OTR/L

Amy Carroll, OTD, OTR/L

Early Detection of Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Pediatric Primary Care: A Scoping Review

Paulette O’Hara, OTD, OTR/L, HTC, SWC, CKTP

Tracey Vause Earland, PhD, OTR/L

"You're Just a Number." Burnout Experiences of School-Based Occupational Therapists

Susan Lingelbach, OTD, OTR/L

Namrata Grampurohit, PhD, OTR/L