"St. Ambrose was a very good investment because what I got in return was incredible: a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience, and diverse experiences that went above and beyond."
We don't push you to succeed. We push you to excel. In our OT program, Abby discovered an academic community committed to tenacious growth and holistic success. She chose to invest, and grow, in our program. In turn, we fully invested in her.
How did the OT program prepare you for your current position?
Abby is a pediatric occupational therapist at Genesis Pediatric Therapy Center in Bettendorf, Iowa. "The program provided a frame of reference and offered opportunities to better gain a base knowledge of the pediatric population," she says. It set the stage for Abby to go into pediatrics, and she was offered the job before she completed her education. "The university I attended, and my clinical experiences, were a huge thing for the people who interviewed me," she says. "People know SAU is a quality school and it does make a difference."
How were you challenged in the program?
"Whether it was an internship or being in the classroom, the projects pushed you outside your comfort zone. I had to do research and figure it out, which paved the way for being able to solve problems myself or to approach someone and partner to figure out a solution." Today we offer a fully accredited Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, which means you will experience an even deeper, advanced education that includes a doctoral research project.
How did the program fit your education goals?
"I wanted a holistic experience because the field of OT is so broad," Abby says. Her curiosity and our established clinical partnerships led to field experiences in Iowa and Illinois. Additionally, she chose St. Paul for her inpatient rotation because of its diverse population and completed a mental health field experience in Detroit on her own. "I volunteered to work with refugees because I love that population." And, the OT program made it possible for Abby to go to Ireland for multicultural fieldwork experience.
What did you learn in your graduate program you didn’t expect?
"Everyone in the OT program really cared about me. There were 32 graduate students, and no one let anyone fail. Because the professors are occupational therapists by profession, they broke everything down for the class and helped us overcome anything we were struggling with. They helped us get there. It was unique. I don't think every program or school is like that."
How do you see yourself advancing in your career?
"I really want to help the refugee population. There are so many displaced people, especially because of the Syrian war. My goal is to find my niche or a clinic where I can serve. With my skill set, I can show not only God's love but love from me personally. I picked OT because it is a field where I can combine my education and my passion." That is our goal. Our program emphasizes 'occupational justice' to support individuals as they find meaning and purpose in their lives.