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Student Ambassadors

The Student Ambassadors in the Department of Occupational Therapy are a select group of students that provide guidance and valuable insights to prospective students. The Student Ambassadors are responsible for providing department tours, advising prospective students, contributing to communication activities, and representing the department at recruitment and marketing events.

To schedule an advising appointment with a student ambassador, please e-mail OTAdmissions@missouri.edu.


Maya Cody

Maya Cody

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: St. Louis

Describe your favorite part of the OT profession: My favorite part of this profession is the fact that we have opportunities to advocate for and make a difference with vulnerable populations such as people with disabilities and people of minority races and ethnicities. As an occupational therapist, you can start your own practice or organization that is specific towards your goals.

Describe your path to occupational therapy: I was very close with my grandma who was diagnosed with MS during her adulthood. Growing up, I saw how her disability impacted her ability to engage in self-care tasks and meaningful activities. I would help her around her apartment and help her with certain tasks that she needed and/or wanted to do. From that point on, I knew I wanted to work in a field that allowed me to work with individuals with disabilities. I wanted to be in a field that gave me the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life and that allowed me to help others continue to find meaning in life after an injury or disability, and that was occupational therapy.

 

Melisa Hasanovic

Melisa Hasanovic

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Columbia, Missouri

Describe why you chose MU OT: I attended the University of Missouri for undergrad, so it is was the first school that I looked into for OT programs. I decided to get involved to learn more about the program and joined Pre-Occupational Therapy Association (POTA), where I engaged in activities all over the community and met other students who share the same passion and goals. Through POTA, I learned about Tiger OT, which provided community members with pro bono therapy services, as well as hands-on experience for OT students. I was intrigued by the various research studies being conducted by the OT professors and was fortunate enough to meet some of them. Through my undergraduate experiences at the University of Missouri, I knew that I wanted to continue my learning experiences with MU OT.

Describe your dream OT job: Neurology (TBI and stroke) or outpatient pediatrics

 

Emily Hollander

Emily Hollander

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Roseburg, Oregon

Describe your path to occupational therapy: I always knew I wanted to work with people in a helping field. I did not learn about Occupational Therapy though until my junior year of college. I realized soon thereafter that OT was the career path for me. Through this field I would get more time to learn about people’s stories and what was meaningful to them. I would have both an all-encompassing lens of people as well as see their finer details. I loved OT’s unique focus on everyday activities as a means to improving health and wellbeing.

Advice for future students: My advice to future students is to keep checking in with yourself and doing what you need to do to feel good about where you are at. Try to cultivate your own occupational balance!

 

Evan Hutcheson

Evan Hutcheson

second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Carl Junction, Missouri

Describe why you chose MU OT: My decision to choose MU OT was due in large part to the inclusive, personable, and motivated group of faculty and staff who are trying to make a difference in the lives of all people they interact with. Throughout my interview experience with some of the faculty members of MU OT, I was further motivated by their high standards, value of evidence-based practice, and desire to expand the knowledge and skillsets of those seen fitting for their program.

Describe your dream OT job: The amazing thing about OT is how many different environments one can work in! With that being said, I think it would be an intriguing experience to serve various individuals as a travel occupational therapist within the United States!

 

Shawndrea Magee

Shawndrea Magee

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Describe your path to occupational therapy: I knew that I wanted to be an OT after switching my major to Health Science in undergrad. I had several shadowing experiences that sealed that goal for me. I appreciate the client-centered nature of our practice and I enjoy helping people live more meaningful lives.

Advice for future students: Everything is going to be okay! All of your hard work will pay off at some point, so enjoy the ride and take lots of pictures along the way!

 

 

Annemarie Shackelford

Annemarie “Annie” Shackelford

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Describe why you chose MU OT: As an undergrad student at Mizzou, I learned about various opportunities that Mizzou OT could provide to their students while advancing their education that not many OT schools could provide to their students; the use of a pro bono clinic, advanced clinical practices that allows for interactive and hands-on learning, and research opportunities were all factors that I wanted when deciding on where to further my education to becoming an OT!

Describe your dream OT job: My dream OT job is to open my own nonprofit practice and specifically work with pediatric clients that do not have optimal resources or access to OT services! Within this practice setting, I would love to centralize my treatment to children who have physical, cognitive, or mental disabilities!

 

Rebecca Worthington

Rebecca “Becca” Worthington

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Rushville, Illinois 

Describe your favorite part of the program and/or profession: My favorite part of the MU OT program is that it almost feels like a close-knit family on a big campus. There are so many great things to do in Columbia and here at MU. However, I love being in a smaller program where I know all of my fellow first year students and the majority of the staff.

Advice for future students: Don’t be afraid to seek support. The faculty, staff, second year students, and fellow first year students are here for you. I have met some of my best friends here at MU, so don’t be shy, rely on others for support, and support your fellow students. Furthermore, don’t forget to take time for yourself. While school is very important and you will need to stay focused to succeed, take time to relax, spend time with friends, and just have fun. It’s all about balance.

 

Britney Akers

Britney Akers

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Dixon, Missouri

Describe your path to occupational therapy: After breaking my arm in the 7th grade, I spent several months receiving OT and PT. I fell in love with OT because it used a holistic approach to help me engage in activities that were meaningful to me. I job shadowed OTs in many settings and discovered my passion for helping people with neurological conditions such as traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

Describe your favorite part of the program and/or profession: I love occupational therapy because it can help anyone do anything at any point in their day. Our primary focus is to help people do things they find meaningful to improve their quality of life.

 

Sarah Dodoo

Sarah Dodoo

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Describe why you chose MUOT: The professors are so supportive and helpful it truly feels like I am gaining a family.

Advice for future students: Your hard work will pay off, everyone is rooting for you, your classmates, professors, family and friends. Take pictures of the journey so you can remember the trials and tribulations in your time of glory!

 

 

 

 

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Johnston, Iowa

Describe your favorite part of the program and/or profession: My favorite part of the program this far are the professors. They have been so welcoming, helpful, and dedicated to each of us as students to meet our highest potentials. They push us to be the best occupational therapy students we can be but also help us when we are down.

Advice for future students: My advice for future students is to take it day by day and to never be afraid to ask for help. The professors are there to help you succeed and are a great resource for all concerns and questions.

 

 

 

Kathryn Mackey

Kathryn Mackey

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Columbus, Mississippi

Describe why you chose MUOT: My story of how I chose MUOT is pretty long and crazy. Ultimately, I truly felt like this was where I was supposed to go and once I did my research on the program I was really excited about the variety of experiences I would get here that other programs didn’t offer. Some examples of this are getting to be involved in the TogerOT clinic throughout our coursework as well as the added hands-on practicum aspect of our curriculum that better prepares us for future fieldwork.

Describe your dream OT job: I am really interested in being a traveling Occupational Therapist. I think it would be so neat to travel to different places and meet/help a variety of different people from around the country. I would love to do a travel OT gig for a few years before settling down somewhere to work in one place.

 

Jordan Weaver

Jordan Weaver

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Boonville, Missouri

Describe your path to occupational therapy: I have always had a passion for the therapy world ever since I was in high school. I wanted to work in a field that had the ability to truly impact people’s lives and OT just seemed like the right fit. I received my OTA degree in 2018 and am now working towards my doctorate degree at the University of Missouri.

Advice for future students: Just remember that you are invited to be a part of this program for a reason. While it maybe overwhelming at times, your cohort and this faculty and staff will put you in the best situation to succeed. Even more so, trust in your abilities!

 

 

Katherine Ng

Katherine Ng

First-year Occupational Therapy Assistant Student

Hometown: Topeka, Kansas

Describe why you chose MUOT: I chose MUOT because the OTA program is new, and I had heard good things about the OT program. Mizzou is also far from home but not too fair that I can visit my family when I get home sick.

Describe your favorite part of the program and/or profession: My favorite part of the OTA program has been meeting the rest of my cohort and becoming close to all of them in the span of one semester. They were the first people I really got to know when I moved here.

 

 

Madison Ebeling

Madison Ebeling

First Year Occupational Therapy Assistant Student

Hometown: La Plata, Missouri

Describe your path to occupational therapy: During high school, I was introduced to occupational therapy by my counselor and started job shadowing local OT practitioners. From there I continued to shadow and get involved in organizations in college. I then decided I wanted to first become a COTA, gain experience and work in the field, before my ultimate goal to work as an OTD.

Advice for future students: My advice to future students would be to stay engaged with the activities and discussions during class time. Take advantage of all the opportunities, events, programs, and speakers that the department brings in!