OT rockstar headlines events

Shawn Kellmer, Reporter


Dr. Florence Clark, President of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and Chair of the University of Southern California (USC) Occupational Therapy Department will visit campus March 30.

“As a member of the honor society, this is a huge deal. The honor society strives to promote scholarship with in OT on campus, and this event is exactly what we would like to do all the time,” said Jenna Georgia, Pi Theta Epsilon President. “It’s great to know that Misericordia, while a small campus, still makes such a great name for itself that the president of AOTA will come here to speak.”

OT professor Dr. Joseph Cipriani said the visit is a great honor.

“I am the advisor for the organization [PTE], and to me it’s great to see, as it is very rare for a smaller university to get a speaker this well known to come to campus for a specific major,” said. “Hopefully if we can get a large enough room, we will invite other students also from programs in OT in Pennsylvania.”

Clark will present two workshops to the OT Department. The first op will be held for the OT faculty and fieldwork supervisors while the second workshop is for the entire OT student body.

“Sue Lennon, MU’s OT fieldwork supervisor, will be arranging to bring in students’ fieldwork supervisors for workshops,” said Dr. Grace Fisher, OT department chair.

“To the school as a whole, or at least the OT community, it’s a great way to bring us all together for one event. It’s expected that all of the OT students will attend Dr. Clark’s speech, and the seniors’ fieldwork supervisors are also invented to come,” said Georgia. “We are all excited to have such an accomplished OT visit our school to speak to us. Dr. Clark is an inspiration to all of us.”

Clark has been the Associate Dean and Professor, division of Occupational Therapy at the School of Dentistry, USC since 2006 and has served as a chairperson for the department since 1989.

According to USC’s website, she has numerous honors and awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Occupational Therapy Association of California and an Award of Merit from AOTA.

Her USC webpage also states that she has been published in both domestic and international journals.

“Dr. Clark has been involved in writing numerous journal articles and books used throughout our curriculum. Therefore, OT students are excited to meet the woman behind the accomplishments,” said Lane Bishop, Vice President, PTE. “It is such an honor to have Dr. Clark as a speaker at Misericordia.”

OT students belonging to MU’s chapter the National OT Student Honor Society, PTE, and the Misericordia Student Occupational Therapy Association have been doing fundraisers to fund Clark’s visit.

According to Fisher, university resources, such as the OT Department and the dean’s office, will cover half the funds needed for Clark’s visit while the other half will come from the students’ fundraisers and donations.

“PTE has been raising funds through selling polo shirts and decals. We are still selling decals and intend on having another polo sale for the spring semester,” said Lane Bishop, “Our first polo fundraiser was quite successful. There is currently a signup sheet on the first floor of Passan [Hall] to buy the decals.”

“In order to raise money to assist Florence Clark’s visit MSOTA is having a club clothing sale and sponsored a jewelry sale a couple weeks ago,” said Maura O’Rourke, treasurer, MSOTA. “As a student and a member of MSOTA Dr. Clark’s visit is something I am very much looking forward to. She is someone who has an impact on the occupational therapy profession.”

Although the jewelry sale was held a few weeks ago, students can still buy items from the fundraiser online. All profits collected from the sale of items at cookielee.biz/gracefisher will go towards Clark’s visit on the behalf of MSOTA.

“I believe Dr. Clark’s visit is an extremely big deal for me as a student and as a member of the honor society, because every experience shapes who you will be as a person as well as a future health professional,” says Jaclyn Tschantz, MSOTA secretary. “Dr. Florence Clark has been a part of major research projects and findings in the field of occupational therapy.”

This will not be the first time students have seen Clarke speak, but is still a big deal to those going to see her a second time.

“I actually heard her address OT students across the country at the National OT Student Conclave in Providence, RI,” said Tschantz. “There, me and other students within my grade got to meet Dr. Clark. We even got a picture with her. It was pretty exciting.”

“I know when my fellow OT classmates and I went up to shake her hand and take a picture with Dr. Clark at the Conclave, I was very nervous and excited all at the same time,” said Tschantz. “I feel like if I get the opportunity to talk with her personally again, I will definitely feel the same way, because she is a very important person to my future profession.”

This is a visit that almost every OT student seems to be excited about.

“I think that the visit from Dr. Clark is very important to our OT department,” said Megan McChesney, PTE member. “It is exciting for our small school to be recognized and visited by this OT ‘celebrity’.”

Anyone interested in finding out more information about the workshops conducted by Dr. Clark or wants to give a donation can speak to a representative of PTE and MSOTA or contact Dr. Grace Fisher.

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