Student Spotlight: Andrea Bennett, OTD/S '16
Andrea Bennett, OTD/S '16, Miami, FL
What advantages does WUOT offer you that other programs don’t offer?
I think one of the biggest advantages the program offers is the ability to do research. As the field is changing to use evidence-based practice, it is important to understand how research occurs and how to track the progress of our interventions. These skills will help us make educated and effective decisions with our patients and allow us to help further the field.
Similarly, the fact that is it part of a top medical school and various health care facilities provides a multitude of opportunities within various areas within the field. The opportunities to work with leaders in the medical fields, attend educational programs, and volunteer within the community are endless.
Why did you choose WUOT?
I chose WUOT because it is a top program, offers a combined program (3-2/3-3), and I loved going to WashU for my undergraduate degree. I had already fallen in love with WashU, and it had been my dream to go to WUOT, so I didn’t spend much time looking elsewhere.
Why did you choose the degree program you did? (MSOT, OTD, etc)
Originally I chose the OTD program because I was told it was easier to switch out of than in to OTD, and I figured might as well stay the extra year to get the higher degree. However, the more I learned about the degree and solidified what I wanted to do within OT, I realized that the program was perfect for me. My dream is to develop programs, work within the community, and possibly be a guest lecturer, which are all opportunities the OTD program prepares you for. Similarly, I liked the ability to have an extra year of learning customized to my interests and to create my own research project.
What can you say about the quality of education you are receiving?
I feel the quality of education I am receiving is very high. We are learning from people who are influencing the future of their field and performing innovative research. Instructors also bring in guest lectures that specialize in the specific topics we are learning to teach us.
What is the learning atmosphere like? (people, resources provided, attitudes of faculty and staff, approach to teaching, quality of mentorship relationships, etc.)
I find the learning atmosphere to be very warm and expansive. Everyone is eager to help you, especially the faculty and staff, and they are always willing to meet. These qualities also apply to current students and alumni, who are always open to sharing their knowledge and experience. One important factor is the fact that it is made explicit that we are treated as colleagues. I find that this makes it easier to approach faculty when I have a question or need help with something.
What do you like best about attending WUOT?
For me, some of the best facets of attending WUOT are the various opportunities to get involved, both throughout the campuses and in St. Louis in general. You have the opportunity to strengthen you knowledge and experience both through school and through outside experiences. Similarly, the faculty and staff are very approachable and always willing to help with just about anything, and we have a student body with very diverse backgrounds and areas of interest. I also really appreciate that the program is research-focused and stresses evidence-based practice as we will have to prove the effectiveness of and evidence for our treatment more and more for insurance coverage and keep the field growing with new discoveries and improved treatment standards, I believe it is extremely important to have a strong background in these areas within the field of OT.
What do you like best about your classmates?
They come from very diverse backgrounds and have various interests and are nice and easy to work with.
How would you describe the faculty? What do you like best about the faculty?
Friendly, approachable, knowledgeable, and doing high-end research. They treat the students as colleagues and are open to feedback.
What about the school do you most want prospective students to know?
At WUOT, the resources available to you are unlike anywhere else, and the program is always trying to best support its students’ education and constantly seeking feedback to improve the program. If you’re looking for a school to give you a strong theoretical framework upon which to base your professional career, WUOT is the place to be!
What do you think of living in St. Louis?
I really enjoy living in St. Louis. You get the best of both worlds, the city and the suburbs, and everyone is nice and helpful (Midwestern hospitality). There are also A LOT of free things to do (especially in the summer), as well as places that offer student prices, and lots of unique culture.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
After graduation, I hope to create parenting education programs for kids with cognitive impairments and inclusion programs for kids with special needs.