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Student Spotlight: Alison Scarpa, MSOT/S '15

12/1/2014

Alison Scarpa, MSOT/S '15, Gurnee, IL

What advantages does WUOT offer you that other programs don’t offer?
A particularly unique attribute of the WUOT program is its fieldwork database, containing clinical opportunities at more than 500 different sites across the United States. Being able to pick a clinical site and practice setting based on such an extensive list has allowed me to personalize the hands-on component of my education here. Additionally, first-year orientation activities (including trips to the Saint Louis Zoo, City Museum, and the class float trip) combined with educational opportunities like the cultural cooking lab were an enjoyable way to ease the transition into graduate school while introducing me to my classmates.

Why did you choose WUOT?
In addition to its great reputation, I chose WUOT for the positive reviews about the program I had received from older peers.

Why did you choose the degree program you did? (MSOT, OTD, etc)
The MSOT degree is a good fit for me because I’m not entirely sure what I want to do in the field of OT yet. After I explore careers in different settings, I may choose to return to get a doctorate.

What can you say about the quality of education you are receiving?
I feel that WUOT will provide a solid academic foundation for my fieldwork and professional practice. Learning from faculty who are prominent clinicians and researchers in the field of OT has been a great experience as well. Seeing the names of my professors in the latest issue of an academic journal or on an assessment manual we are covering in class makes me truly aware of the quality of education I receive here.

What is the learning atmosphere like? (people, resources provided, attitudes of faculty and staff, approach to teaching, quality of mentorship relationships, etc.)
Despite being a large OT program, the accessibility of faculty and staff here seems similar to that of my small liberal arts undergrad. In addition to my lab mentor and my first-year advisor, I feel that I have a large network of WUOT faculty that I can call upon for questions, advice, or just a casual chat.

What do you like best about attending WUOT?
Interacting with students from other disciplines within the Washington University School of Medicine campus has become one of my favorite aspects of attending this program. Opportunities inside and outside the classroom have allowed me to collaborate with individuals from the medical, physical therapy, audiology, and biostatistics programs among others. Hearing different perspectives on health care and life in general has been a refreshing and unexpected part of my experience here.

What do you like best about your classmates?
Either the stereotypical “OT personality” has a ring of truth to it, or my classmates all happen to very cheerful, friendly, and helpful by coincidence. Regardless of how this happened, I certainly appreciate them for their pleasant demeanors!

How would you describe the faculty? What do you like best about the faculty?
It’s hard to attribute a universal description to our family members because they have such varied backgrounds of experience in the field. As a whole, they are all very accomplished and willing to provide advice or assistance. Their differences allow students to learn about the variety of OT practice settings, techniques, and theories from a multitude of perspectives.

What about the school do you most want prospective students to know?
There’s only so much you can learn about a graduate program from reading a website or piece of paper. Come visit and live the life of a student for a day by taking a tour or sitting in on a class if you think WUOT may be a good fit for you!

What do you think of living in St. Louis?
There are so many areas to explore in St. Louis, and the accessibility of public transportation makes this possible without a car. I am constantly discovering fun new activities here due to the diversity of neighborhoods, restaurants, and attractions in this city. Oftentimes, I don’t have to travel very far for entertainment – events are frequently held in Forest Park, right off of the medical school campus.

What do you plan to do after graduation?
For now, my future goals consist of doing well on Fieldwork II, passing the NBCOT, and finding a job in a setting that interests me. I’m looking forward to elaborating upon this plan in the coming months!

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