Melissa Stringer, MSOT/S '14, Portland, OR
What advantages does WUOT offer you that other programs don’t offer?
I think the focus on research at WUOT really provides an advantage for its students. We have a unique opportunity to work in research labs and create our own projects within those labs. The work we do here while in school has the potential to contribute significantly to the profession and I think that is so awesome!
Why did you choose WUOT?
I was attracted to WUOT because of the high value placed on evidence-based practice here. I also really admired the faculty and staff and was excited to see everyone in action. The environment felt so inspiring and it simply made me more excited than any other school. I knew that I wanted that same excitement every day to fuel me through my education.
Why did you choose the degree program you did? (MSOT, OTD, etc.)
I am excited to get out in the working world and start making a difference in people’s lives. I feel that the MSOT degree will efficiently get me to that point. I can see the value in an OTD degree if you plan to teach or go into research right away, but for me, it was not the best fit.
What can you say about the quality of education you are receiving?
I am very pleased with the quality of education I am receiving at WUOT. I feel as if I am not only being taught important facts for OT, but I am also learning how to think. I am confident that when I graduate, I will have all the tools necessary to be a successful therapist.
What is the learning atmosphere like? (people, resources provided, attitudes of faculty and staff, approach to teaching, quality of mentorship relationships, etc.)
I feel this is a wonderful learning environment. The students are motivated and have a genuine interest in learning and understanding the material. The faculty is always there to support us in any way we may need, whether that be in class, during office hours or through online communication. There is a good balance of individual work and group work, which challenges us to work together and advocate for our point of views as we might have to do in the working world.
What do you like best about attending WUOT?
I feel everything we do here is cutting edge for OT. The faculty is invested in making sure we are up to date in the most current research and are prepared for what we might face in the working world. I know that I will graduate from here confident in my skills and ready to apply them.
As a group, how would you describe your classmates?
We are a very diverse group in every sense of the word. We come from all parts of the country (plus one international student), we each have different practice areas of interest, and we have different backgrounds and experiences to bring to the table. However, we all have a common passion and fierce determination to make a difference in people’s lives.
What do you like best about your classmates?
I honestly feel as if I could walk up to any one of my classmates and strike up a conversation. Everyone is so friendly and accepting. I have never been in an environment like this where there appear to be no cliques. Instead, I feel as if I can really get to know everyone.
How would you describe the faculty?
The faculty is all very important people in their field. They are constantly working to improve themselves and make a difference in the OT community. They are sincerely interested in making sure the students succeed and are genuinely fun to be around.
What do you like best about the faculty?
I love that they really seem to respect the students and are attentive to our needs. I really like they are here to support us and excite us about this field we have chosen for ourselves.
What about the school do you most want prospective students to know?
Don’t be afraid to get involved! If there is something you are interested in, there is most likely a group you can join. I love to sing, and after a little searching, I found a couple singing groups organized by the Medical School. It has been a great opportunity for me to meet students from other health care professions, plus it is a wonderful creative outlet.
What do you think of living in St. Louis?
I really enjoy living in St. Louis. My favorite thing is how cheap everything is! There is constantly something to do here and many activities are free. I am discovering new things about St. Louis every day and one day, I will look back and happily say that I lived here. St. Louis can really cater to whatever interests you might have, you just have to explore a little to discover all that it has to offer.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
I plan to move to Oregon, where my family lives, and hope to find work quickly. I would love to be in a pediatric setting, but I have also been told by many therapists while on fieldwork that variety is best. So, maybe I will try to work in a setting where I can gain experience with multiple populations.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would be remiss not to mention Dr. Baum and her impact upon this program. We are so lucky to have her handcrafting every step of our education. We are fortunate have several lectures taught by her. I always feel extra excited when those lectures come around. Her talks inspire me to do my best, and remind me of the importance of what I am doing here in school. She is definitely an asset that gives WUOT the upper hand when compared to other programs.
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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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