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Meet first-year student Niraj Shah, MSOT/S '16


Niraj Shah, MSOT/S '16, from Westerville, OH

Why did you choose WUOT?
I chose this program because it allows students to have so many different options regarding where to do a fieldwork or what to do your research in. This school does a great job of recruiting a wide variety of students that best fit the role of an occupational therapist. The faculty is amazing and they really want all students to succeed, which was very evident when I came to visit.

Why did you choose the degree program you did? (MSOT, OTD, etc.)
I chose MSOT because I really want to focus on the clinical side of OT. I want to make an impact on people directly and I feel I can do that through the clinical route. It’s an added benefit that the MSOT gets you out of school quicker and into the working world.

What brought you to OT and what do you want to do with your degree?
I originally was interested in physical therapy but after seeing a few of my family members go through occupational therapy, I really got in interested in the field. I liked the idea of helping patients get back to doing the activities they want to be able to do and making an impact on one’s life personally. I want to be able to practice in the field of neurology and help patients improve their mental impairment. I also hope to obtain my MBA, so I can someday open my own practice, as I also have a strong passion for the business side of OT.

What story does your family frequently tell about you?
My family always tells the story about how I didn’t cut my hair until I was three years old. It’s a tradition my family followed in Indian culture. I had hair up to my shoulders and they always put it into a ponytail, consequently a lot of people though I was a girl. Fortunately, I got my head shaved when I turned three and have never attempted to grow it that long since.

Tell us about something you are involved in (or were) and how it’s changed you?
At Ohio State, I helped start a new organization called Global Medical/Dental Brigades. It was such a great experience as I got to travel to Panama for a medical mission trip. I got to experience all the aspects of the health care practice, as a group of Ohio State students we opened our own health care clinic for an underprivileged community, for a week. We had several stations, including a place to register, triage where we helped take vitals, medical consultation, dental station, pharmacy, and even an education booth. The people of the community were so appreciative because it was the first time most of them had even had access to healthcare. It was a challenging experience, but so rewarding at the same time as we got to treat over 300 patients. The trip solidified my decision to stick in the health care field. It empowered me to want to help others out in the community and go into a field where one can directly make an impact in someone’s life. It made me realize how there are so many people without health care access and how important health care is in one’s life.

What word describes you best?
Sociable. I really enjoy talking to other people and getting to know them. My friends always enjoy having me around, as there’s never a silence as I can always keep a conversation going.

Tell us something about yourself that otherwise we wouldn’t know or guess.
I am color-blind.

Are you working and/or volunteering in addition to taking classes? If so, where?
I am working at Barnes-Jewish Hospital as a physical therapy aide on weekends. It’s really nice because I am consistently working with patients and doing several exercises with them.

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