Rachael Baum, OTD/S 2014
What advantages does the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis offer you that other programs don’t offer?
The Program in Occupational Therapy provides a very unique learning environment, which is one of my favorite aspects of the program. Being in a city with well-renowned medical professionals and on the same campus of top-quality hospitals provides the opportunity for experts in the field to come lecture. Many programs around the country provide their students with occupational therapy degrees, but Washington University School of Medicine provides an extremely vibrant learning environment.
Why did you choose the Program?
One of the main reasons I chose the Program was because of the wonderful visit I had in April before classes began that fall. After visiting, I knew this was the program for me. Not only was it a highly ranked school, but also the environment was exactly what I was looking for. Everyone was very friendly, welcoming and willing to answer any questions I had. I left with a very good feeling and was excited that I was accepted into the program.
What can you say about the quality of education you are receiving?
The Program provides an excellent education. It is very hands-on, challenging, and rewarding. When talking to family and friends, I can definitely tell that my knowledge of occupational therapy is growing as I progress through the program.
The program is also unique in some of the courses offered, especially in regards to Assistive Technology and Environments. These components of therapy are not usually a focus of many other occupational therapy programs and I am extremely thrilled we were able to take them.
What is the learning atmosphere like? (people, resources provided, attitudes of faculty and staff, approach to teaching, quality of mentorship relationships, etc.)
I have really enjoyed the learning atmosphere. Professors are very open to questions and always willing to help. I have stayed after class numerous times to have conversations about class material or just talk about some aspect of occupational therapy. Professors are skilled in a specific practice area of occupational therapy and we are fortunate to have them teaching us.
What do you like best about attending the Program in Occupational Therapy?
All of the opportunities we have. We are constantly getting emails about different ways to get involved in the St. Louis community, faculty research labs, fellow student groups, etc. There are many opportunities – you will never be bored – it is just hard to choose what you want to be involved in.
For me, everything about the program is wonderful. I have been extremely happy with my decision regarding the Program and highly recommend it to anyone interested.
As a group, how would you describe your classmates? What do you like best about your classmates?
We have a great group of people – very diverse. It is a large program, which definitely allows every student to find his or her own niche. About half of our classes are all together in the auditorium and the other half are split into 2 sections (approx. 40 people each). This allows you to get to know people in your section, and really helps in the first semester when trying to make friends. Overall, I would say we have a great class! People are open to new ideas and willing to help each other when needed.
How would you describe the faculty?
Experts. They are very knowledgeable about occupational therapy and offer objective perspectives regarding the field. All faculty are involved in some form of research, which keeps them excited about occupational therapy and up-to-date with current issues.
What do you like best about the faculty?
Their passion for occupational therapy and in creating future clinicians and leaders in the field.
What about the school do you most want prospective students to know?
It is a wonderful place. As long as you come ready to learn and work hard, you will get out of it as much as you put in. Grad school is not about getting the best grades, but rather on mastering the information and knowing how to implement what you learn in the classroom to your clients.
What do you think of living in St. Louis?
I really enjoy living in St. Louis. The hardest thing for me is the distance from home (Cleveland, OH). St. Louis has plenty to offer – there are always things to do. There are great restaurants, museums, parks, events, nightlife, etc. St. Louis is the perfect mix of relaxing and beautiful, and always having things to do. I love it here.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
I would like to travel for a few months and then begin my career as an occupational therapist working with older adults, most likely in a nursing home.