Department of occupational therapy celebrates 2023 graduates

By Anne Riker Garlington

The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions department of occupational therapy hosted a full day of activities December 14 to honor the 55 graduates of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy 2023 class.

The department’s 2023 graduation event included capstone poster presentation sessions, professional networking and a career fair, as well as pinning, awards and white coat ceremonies.

For their capstone projects, the students participated in internship programs throughout Florida and around the country in states such as Idaho, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. One student even completed her internship in Peru.

The capstone projects covered a diverse range of topics, including pediatrics, oncology, fieldwork, curriculum development and employment readiness.

The OTD program facilitates students’ clinical knowledge and skills, professional development, leadership and advocacy skills, and advanced knowledge base to inform high quality, evidence-informed practice in occupational therapy. Students engage in projects and leadership activities that will improve practice quality and advance evidence-based clinical practice.

Several of the graduates provided comments on their experiences in the program:

  • Grace Gerry: “The program helped me to learn how to advocate for my patients and manage my time and schedule. I’m looking forward to the next phase in Atlanta, Georgia, and feel the future is bright!”
  • Nina Naran: “The capstone program helped me to understand what was behind the scenes and learn to think on my feet. I’m so excited to be going to work for Pillar Child Development!”
  • Emma Rudman: “UF OT provided a rewarding, but challenging, experience and I would do it again! I’m excited to search for the next phase in my career.”
  • Ana Ghislandi: “The capstone project was such a valuable experience and showed me things I never thought I’d be doing! I look forward to working in either adult inpatient rehabilitation or NICU.”
  • Megan Peoples: “The capstone project was unique, allowed me to be creative, personalize for my interests, and help people. Faculty and staff in the program were very supportive. I’ve accepted a verbal offer from Encompass Health, working in inpatient care.”
  • Hannah Morse: “The program helped me prepare for life beyond OT and allowed me to be a better human being, more loving and caring. It helped broaden my world view as I’m from a small town. I look forward to working on research projects with Dr. Horowitz.”
Student and family at OT pinning ceremony
Student and family at OT pinning ceremony
Student and family at OT pinning ceremony
Speaker at OT pinning ceremony
Audience at OT pinning ceremony
OT student being pinned at ceremony
OT student and Dr. Horowitz in front of research poster
OT student in front of research poster
OT student in front of research poster

(Photo credit: Lindsay Gamble and Nathanial Guidry)