Yvon Cobian, MSOT/S '15
Clinical Research Track: Performance, Participation and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory
Why did you choose WUOT for your occupational therapy education?
I knew that WUOT would provide me with a well-rounded education that focused on evidence-based and client-centered practice.
Why did you choose the clinical research track option for your degree?
I was initially convinced I would do the clinical track option. I changed my mind when a second-year student pointed out that I was at one of the best research universities in the country and I’d never get the opportunity to take part in such a unique experience.
Briefly describe the research lab you chose.
I chose the Performance, Participation and Neurorehabilitation lab because of the opportunity to learn more about persons who experience the cognitive effects of chemotherapy. Dr. Wolf acquainted me with the fact that women undergoing chemotherapy often reported cognitive impairments. I’d always been interested in working with individuals with cancer, but as an occupational therapist I didn’t think I could. His lab piqued my curiosity, and it’s been incredibly rewarding to learn how much OTs can help such a diverse group of people.
What project/s are you involved with in your lab?
I’m involved in the Chemotherapy Induced Cognitive Impairments project, which focuses on investigating whether providing occupational therapy to women experiencing cognitive impairments (chemobrain) after chemotherapy is helpful.
How does the clinical research experience contribute (beyond the rest of the set curriculum) to your overall skill and preparation as a generalist practitioner?
It’s fascinating to see how therapies, assessment batteries and tests are formed. There is so much research that goes into developing these, and it heightens my appreciation for them.
What kind of guidance is provided by your faculty mentor?
Dr. Wolf is incredibly honest. It’s refreshing to receive straightforward answers from him. He’s also very intelligent and is always willing to share his knowledge with us.
How would you describe this experience to prospective students who may be interested in clinical research?
When we joined his lab, Dr. Wolf told us (jokingly) we’d made the best decision of our OT career; however, I do believe what he said. He’s very well known throughout the country, which has opened many doors for us. The research he’s doing is the most impactful research I’ve ever been involved with. Everyone in the lab is very friendly, intelligent, and committed. It’s the best decision I’ve made since deciding to attend Washington University.
How will this clinical research experience contribute to your career?
I’ve been able to interact with real clients and gained valuable experience on approaching difficult issues.
Anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Wolf is a great mentor because he is incredibly approachable. He makes his lab meetings very relaxed and truly makes an effort to get to know you personally. It’s one of the many reasons I’m so glad I joined his lab.
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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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