Major: Occupational Therapy
Hometown: Cazenovia, NY
Graduation Year: Undergrad – 2016
Graduate – 2017
Favorite Girl Scout Cookie: Thin Mint
5 Things You Might Not Know About Lauren
- I am left handed.
- I love love LOVE the New York Giants, and I have some serious game day superstitions (we’re talking lucky socks and eating the same breakfast before every game).
- My summer goal is to learn to ride a bike. Embarrassing. I know.
- I am obsessed with planting terrariums.
- It’s my goal in life to try every flavor of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream (except Pistachio. Gross!).
How have your experiences at Naz challenged your expectations about what college would be like?
I was pretty certain that college was going to be this cold and unfriendly place where professors stood at the front of a classroom and lectured while students struggled to take notes and keep up. I remember my high school teachers saying things like “No one will help you in college” and being absolutely terrified that I was going to forget everything and struggle with my school work. That could not have been further from the truth. I can’t think of a class in my four years where a professor just lectured. I participated in so much hands on learning. Almost all of my professors would still know my name if they saw me today, and they all absolutely cared if I understood the material they were teaching.
I also remember feeling anxious about classes that weren’t in my major, for instance, world religions. But again, I found the professors to be really interested, and invested in my education; key word being MY education. They always encouraged me to relate the material back to occupational therapy, which I think made me think more critically about OT, and made me a more well-rounded citizen.
How has your time at Naz sparked your passion?
I have to give Nazareth full credit for my passion for the geriatric population. I entered the OT program my freshman year certain that I wanted to work with kids. Because of all the clinics and practice courses available to OT majors, I was able to work with older adults and discover that that is what I’m truly passionate about. I was able to further develop my passion by getting involved with the Gerontology Club and volunteering at the Sister of St. Joseph Mother House with my classmates and peers.
What are the benefits of participating in the occupational therapy (OT) program at Nazareth College?
Definitely the five-year program. It is so rare that college freshman can say they’re already accepted to grad school. It is such a weight off your shoulders, and as a recent graduate, it was nice not to add grad school applications to my list of things to do. Also, the hands-on learning that OT majors participate in from the first semester is a huge asset. I felt confident that I was in the right field when I spent my first semester in the observation clinic watching an OT at work and getting to see what they can do! Classes are almost always interactive and teach skills that are applicable to the jobs us OT majors will have someday!!
What kind of clinics do OT majors participate in?
We have two observation clinics our freshman year, one with adult clients, and the other with children. Sophomore and junior year, there are no regular clinics, but we are often asked to write papers and do projects based on observations from OTs or other OT students in the on-campus clinic. Senior year we complete five week-long Level 1 Fieldwork placements, each that corresponds to one of our practical courses: psychosocial, neurological, sensory processing, orthopedic, and cognitive-perceptual. We get to go off campus to a facility that works with clients with these specific types of conditions and get to shadow and get involved in the work of an OT at the site. It is a great professional experience that helps prepare us for both of our 12 week-long Level 2 placements at off-campus facilities during our graduate year!
What is the coolest class you’ve ever taken in your major?
To be honest, gross anatomy was my favorite class. I loved learning from the cadavers and I really used the information I learned there in my other classes, especially as ortho.
What does a typical day in the life look like in your major?
Well, typically, we have our OT classes clustered together so we have some more full days, and some days that are nice for taking Perspective and Enduring Questions (PE-Q) courses or taking classes for a minor. We usually start our classes around 9:00 and we typically have classes right in the on-campus OT Clinic, that way if a professor wants to demonstrate something we’re learning, we can try it out right in class! We have a small OT staff, so you can count on seeing one of their friendly faces in class, along with the small class size of your peers. We all pretty much stick together throughout the day!! Classes are usually done no later than 5:00 so there is plenty of time in the evening to participate in extracurriculars and study!!
What is your advice for incoming freshman in your department?
Relax and keep an open mind. I think freshman need to know that the faculty here are here to help and want their students to succeed. Also, I think a lot of incoming freshmen have a lot of expectations about what they want to do with their career, and I think that they don’t even realize how much OT has to offer. For instance, I was definitely sure I wanted to work with children, but after going through clinics and working with older adults, I found my true passion working with the elderly population.
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