Future Leader: Sharaya Hill, OTD/S '24

Name: Sharaya Hill, OTD/S ʼ24
Hometown: Houston, TX
Undergraduate degree: BS in Psychology from Howard University; MEd in Special Education with a concentration in autism from The University of North Texas
Leadership:
Harris-Stowe State University OT Pathways Program Student Coordinator, WashU Environmental Studies Impact Internship UJIMA Intern, WU-COTAD Event Co-Coordinator, Missouri Occupational Therapy Association advocacy week DEI presenter, American Occupational Therapy Association Assembly of Student Delegates Vice Chairperson, Community Experiential Learning Center transition management team, Pilot International Scholar

What are your meaningful occupations?
Occupations are the activities that bring routine, functionality and purpose to life. In my lived experience, I have utilized occupations to engage in productivity, leisure and self-care. My meaningful occupations include traveling, reading, catching up with friends and family, volunteering, walking outside and enjoying cultural foods.

What is your definition of occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is a client-centered health-care discipline that encourages clients to engage in occupations they want and need to do. This holistic approach considers the social determinants of health and how they impact the day-to-day lives of my future clients. Occupational therapy transcends the medical model, which allows the profession to make a profound impact in community spaces where traditional health care may not be offered.

Why did you choose the OTD degree?
I decided to pursue the OTD degree because of the opportunity to engage in OTD mentorship. Through the OTD degree, I have been afforded the opportunity for OTD mentorship with Dr. Dashner in the Washington University School of Medicine Interdisciplinary Clinic. Through this experience, I have grown as a student, critical thinker and future clinician.

What are your career goals?
I am interested in a variety of clinical settings, and I cannot commit to just one. Due to my varied interests, my short-term plan is to become a travel therapist. This will grant me the ability to combine my love of traveling with my passion for occupational therapy and will provide further exposure to a variety of different settings. Long term, I seek to open schools and centers for persons with autism. I am excited to impact this amazing community through a unique school experience that is tailored to their strengths, building upon the strengths-based, client-centered tenets that are so engrained in the WashU OT curriculum.

What WashU experience stands out to you?
Serving with WU-COTAD was amazing and truly allowed for an opportunity to further engage with the WashU OT family. One avenue for this was done through implementing the Safe Space series. This series tackled difficult topics such as racism, sexism and LGBTQ+ education without the fear of judgment. I am proud to have been afforded the opportunity and support to bring such a series to life, giving me the platform to implement these ideals to the wider national level of AOTA.

Anything else you would like us to know?
I would like to thank my dad, my mom and my brother for their undying support, as well as my great community of friends and mentors. My support system has played a huge role in my education, and I hope to continue making them proud.

 


 

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