Megan Carlson is a first-year graduate student in the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) as well as the Washington University Student Occupational Therapy Association (WUSOTA), where she serves on the community service committee. Carlson has volunteered extensively with the local wheelchair rugby team, the St. Louis Rams, as well as with a therapeutic horseback riding program, and with Washington University's Graduate Professional Council.
Your overall feeling of being invited to participate in CGIU--of being one of only 6 OT students here; and one of only 1,000 students invited globally!
It was a true honor to be invited to participate in this event. Opportunities like this don't just show up on your doorstep very often so I had to at least try to be a part of it--luckily for me, it worked out!
Why did you select your particular Commitment to Action?
We had three elements that we wanted to include in our commitment: it needed to be occupational therapy related, we wanted to make it an educational experience for our fellow students, and we wanted it to benefit the medically underserved community in St. Louis. Our mobile hand therapy clinic fit the bill.
After participating in CGIU, what do you hope to do to take your project to the next level?
After CGI-U, we've come to realize that our commitment needs to evolve considerably. Neither one of us has ever attempted something like this. This summer is probably when we'll really buckle down and get this thing going.
Your observations/impressions of CGIU?
I was extremely impressed with the caliber of people in attendance. It was really inspiring to hear about the problems that young people have recognized, and the solutions to them they’ve come up with. Networking with fellow attendees was particularly invaluable. We found it much easier to talk openly with other students about the challenges in implementing a commitment than it is to speak with experts. We didn't meet President Clinton but we did get to hear him speak several times and that was a real treat. Of course, being in the audience when Stephen Colbert interviewed President Clinton was definitely the highlight of the weekend.
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Current, future, and accepted applicants are encouraged to visit. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, one of our faculty members, opens our visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion, followed by a tour that’s led by one of our current occupational therapy students.
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