Student Profiles

Meet our current OTD for Licensed Therapists students, Marna Ghiglieri, MA, OTR/L, Rose McAndrew, MSOT, OTR/L, CHT, and Ariana Gonzalez, MSOT, OTR/L.

Marna Ghiglieri, MA, OTR/L
After working for 25 years as an occupational therapist, Marna Ghiglieri, MA, OTR/L, moved from California to St. Louis to pursue her clinical doctorate of occupational therapy (OTD) at the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University. In her previous position as rehabilitation director for a multi-level retirement community, Ghiglieri observed gradual physical and cognitive declines in residents who did not have health conditions or chronic disease. “We helped mediate these age-related changes and enhance wellness with an integrated program that combined physical exercise with memory-enhancing group activities.” For residents with chronic conditions such as stroke, Ghiglieri often needed to advocate for longer lengths of inpatient care to prepare residents to safely manage their medications, personal care and household chores.
In order to validate that mild and moderate cognitive declines impact daily living and to develop and test interventions to help older adults age in place, Ghiglieri knew that she needed to develop a new skill-set. “Washington University has one of the few accredited OTD programs at a research-intensive 1 university in a world-renowned medical center. The research opportunities, robust curriculum and interdisciplinary collaboration to develop evidence-based models are unique to this program,” Ghiglieri says.
Currently, Ghiglieri is working closely with the Program’s director, M. Carolyn Baum, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, who serves as her scholarly mentor. Ghiglieri’s research will overlap with a proposed federal grant that will address health disparities in resource-challenged, culturally diverse populations to improve gaps in service delivery through the transition process from hospital to home. “Many people fall through the cracks once they leave the hospital,” Ghiglieri clarifies. “This project will help to bridge this gap using therapists, community supports, self-help modules and peer educators. My specific research project will apply this knowledge to target the needs of the older adult population to improve healthy aging outcomes.”
Photo of Marna Ghiglieri
Marna Ghiglieri
Rose McAndrew, MSOT, OTR/L, CHT
Since graduating from the Program in Occupational Therapy in 2003, Rose McAndrew, MSOT, OTR/L, CHT, has worked exclusively in hand therapy and work/industrial rehabilitation. As her occupational therapy skills matured, McAndrew developed an interest in the education of both future clinicians and hand therapists. She served as a Level I and II fieldwork educator and mentored many new therapists. McAndrew created and delivered continuing education courses to her peers to address educational gaps their team identified. While she found these informal instructor experiences rewarding, McAndrew knew she needed a formal foundation in adult education theory and mentored research to expand her career into academia and impact future practitioners.
While exploring her options, McAndrew learned of the Program’s Stroke Clinic, which provides free services for clients who don’t have resources for therapy. Students receive specialty training in stroke rehabilitation that allows them to begin working with clients under a licensed therapist’s supervision while completing traditional coursework. Passionate to develop a similar experiential student learning clinic for hand therapy, McAndrew reached out to associate professor Vicki Kaskutas, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA, who was in the early stages of developing such a clinic. Kaskutas was excited to have McAndrew help build the OT Student Hand Clinic as part of her doctoral studies. For McAndrew, the decision to attend Washington University was easy.
Alongside Kaskutas, McAndrew supervises and mentors three entry-level students in the clinic, which opened in Jan. 2018. Prior to seeing clients, the students completed extensive hand therapy–specific training developed by Kaskutas and McAndrew, as are seven new students who recently joined the clinic for their directed scholarship. McAndrew is enthusiastic about the students’ progress. “They are quickly developing their hand therapy skills. Their patients are making progress and are thankful for the students’ effort.” McAndrew’s doctoral project is to develop a best-practice guide to walk educators and students through the process of creating experiential learning clinics. According to McAndrew, “My doctoral project will help demystify the process while sharing how hand therapy, which is often considered an advanced practice skill, can safely be delivered by students who have been adequately prepared and supervised.”
Photo of Rose McAndrew
Rose McAndrew
Ariana Gonzalez, MSOT, OTR/L
Ariana Gonzalez, MSOT, OTR/L, earned her master’s degree in occupational therapy from Eastern Michigan University in 2016. She began her occupational therapy (OT) career at a skilled nursing home for veterans before transitioning to home health care for older adults. During that time, she also gained experience and skills in pediatric and adult outpatient, pediatric home care, inpatient mental health, and acute and inpatient pediatric/neonatal through several contingent positions. “While I enjoyed all of my clinical experiences, my passion has always been in community-based and mental health settings,” Gonzalez says.
During her two years in practice, Gonzalez saw service gaps in the health-care system. “Several of my clients were just not getting the services and care they needed. It compelled me to learn more about program development for underserved communities and to become a leader in the field and an advocate for policy and change,” Gonzalez explains. She reached out to associate professor Vicki Kaskutas, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA, to discuss what opportunities were available in the doctoral degree program at Washington University. “After several discussions with Dr. Kaskutas, I learned the resources here were beyond my expectations.”
Gonzalez is currently working alongside Quinn Tyminski, OTD, OTR/L, for her doctoral project. She helped Tyminski open the Community Independence OT Clinic, a student experiential learning clinic, at a local homeless shelter. Gonzalez assists with student supervision while they work with clients. She is also recruiting participants for her research. “My doctoral project examines the sleep quality and quantity of people experiencing homelessness, provides 1:1 OT sleep-hygiene intervention and examines the impact of my interventions. I hope to enable people experiencing homelessness to obtain better sleep, which may consequently lead to better abilities to complete daily activities required to overcome homelessness,” Gonzalez says.
Photo of Ariana Gonzalez
Ariana Gonzalez

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