Our alumni have found employment in a variety of settings and specialty areas. Below are some examples of the diverse environments where our alumni currently work.
Allison Osipow, MA, MS, OTR/L (Sargent ’15)
Employer: Riverside Early Intervention
OT’s Role in Early Intervention Settings
Occupational therapists in early intervention settings are committed to a family-centered approach to working with children and their families. When providing intervention, Allison considers families’ goals and priorities to form an intervention for families and children that address skills and activities that are important to and meaningful for families. Allison’s typical day involves home visits where she helps children develop skills to participate in activities within the natural environment of home and community. She collaborates with families, other clinicians, and daycare providers to assess and address the functional needs of children in relation to adaptive behavior, motor development, play, and social interaction in their daily routine. She also considers children’s sensory preferences and the role of sensory stimuli on children’s daily activities.
Why Allison enjoys working in an Early Intervention Setting
Allison values the opportunity to work with children and their families in their natural environments. She finds it fulfilling to participate in activities with children and their families and enjoys working with them in settings in which they feel most comfortable. Allison believes that collaborating with colleagues from disciplines other than occupational therapy is an essential component of working in early intervention.
Community program for children & adolescents
Brooke Howard MS, OTR/L (Sargent ’05)
Employer: Skills For Life, a program of the Ivy Street School
OT’s Role in Community Programs for Children and Adolescents
Skills For Life is a community based service provided by a group of occupational therapists who work with young adults ages 16+ in their homes and communities to support the acquisition of independent living skills, development of self-determination, increased independence and meaningful engagement in the community. The majority of clients are transitioning from high school into early adulthood. Skills For Life services include an intake to determine strengths, needs and priorities for the family and client. Services are individualized to meet the specific needs of the client and family and are focused on skill acquisition and facilitating a shift in responsibility from the parent or caregiver to the young adult. Brooke provides intervention in the natural environment of home and community to develop skills and support the development of consistent habits and routines that develop and sustain independence. Brooke mainly focuses on instrumental activities of daily living and engagement in meaningful activities.
Brooke’s typical day involves traveling to various settings including clients’ homes, colleges, or workplaces to address the development of clients’ skills in their natural environments. Brooke also co-manages the program which includes supervision of other occupational therapists, networking and marketing.
Why Brooke enjoys working in a Community Program for Children and Adolescents
Brooke enjoys how spirited the clients are and believes that individuals in this age range are very dynamic which keeps her interested in the work. She gets a lot of satisfaction from seeing adolescents and young adults develop independence and become self-advocates. She appreciates the variation in her daily schedule that working in a community program offers. She also enjoys the close collaboration with families and others in the community that this job requires.
Genevieve Cyrs, MS, OTR/L (Sargent ’13)
Employer: Occupational Therapy Training Program – San Francisco
OT’s Role in a community-based program for youth at risk
Occupational therapists at Occupational Therapy Training Program – San Francisco (OTTP-SF) work with vulnerable youth, ages 5-24, many affected by traumatic experiences. By engaging in meaningful, purposeful activities that result in positive future orientation and goal fulfillment, occupational therapists teach youth how to cope with difficult situations, express themselves assertively, and engage in the activities necessary to successfully live in their community. OTTP-SF offers a variety of client-centered and strength-based programming so the roles of individual occupational therapists vary depending on the programs with which they work. Genevieve primarily worked on a youth workforce development program. In this initiative, she met with youth, ages 14-18, involved in the juvenile justice system to gather information about their interests, needs, supports, experience, and schedules. Based on this information, she supported youth in connecting to community-based partner agencies, providing job training and supported placement internships or competitive work placements. At OTTP-SF, Genevieve also provided individual occupational therapy for youth ages 5-21 with mental health diagnoses. Genevieve provided intervention sessions in schools using push-in or pull-out methods to support students’ participation in the classroom or met youth in the community where they felt most comfortable to engage.
Why Genevieve enjoyed working in a community-based program for youth at risk
Over five years, Genevieve worked with hundreds of youth that defied stereotypes, had great potential, hope, and the ability to achieve great things in the face of challenging obstacles. There, she learned as much as she guided. Genevieve further valued the supportive and nurturing work environment which allowed her to collaborate with and learn from her colleagues. At OTTP-SF, she was given autonomy as well as support and encouragement, which led to her co-developing the Double OT assessment, a tool used to determine a young person’s occupational profile, including strengths and areas for growth-related work skills. This tool is currently in development for publication in partnership with Western Psychological Services.
Catie Ryan, MSOT, OTR/L (Sargent ’16)
Employer: Open Sky Community Services
OT’s Role in Behavioral Health Settings
Occupational therapy practitioners are well prepared to address many of the social, emotional, psychological, and often underserved, physical and cognitive aspects of mental illness. Occupational therapists working in behavioral health settings within human service organizations may have different roles depending on the population and the service delivery models within the organization. As an occupational therapist, Catie functions in two roles. In one program that provides a wrap-around model of care, Catie consults with an interdisciplinary team to develop and implement individualized plans for youth ages 5-19. For example, she consults with her colleagues regarding strategies to support engagement in family therapy, alternative approaches for interventions, identifying and utilizing sensory-based coping strategies, and problem-solving barriers to participation. In the residential program for people ages 18-25, Catie provides direct intervention to support individuals’ transitions from long-term hospitalizations back home, to their own apartments, or to college dorms. She works with residents to build community connections, create daily routines and structure, and manage medications and appointments. In addition to individual intervention with residents, each week Catie leads a life skills group and co-leads Illness Management and Recovery and Dialectical Behavior Therapy groups with other mental health clinicians.
Why Catie enjoys working in a Behavioral Health Setting
Catie values the opportunity to get to know and build relationships with the residents in their current living situation. She enjoys being able to spend time with the residents, which allows her to develop customized interventions with each person. Catie is particularly interested in supporting residents to identify barriers and then develop strategies to support residents’ participation in desired activities.
Health care for the homeless
Caitlin E. Synovec, OTD, OTR/L, BCMH (Sargent ’18)
Employer: Health Care for the Homeless, Baltimore
OT’s Role in Health Care for the Homeless
Occupational therapists in community-based primary healthcare settings work with people experiencing homelessness in varying capacities. Caitlin helps people develop functional skills and offers transitional support. The functional skills she addresses can range from self-care to instrumental activities such as budgeting, managing medication, and cooking. Caitlin works with people in the community where they are living, so her typical work day involves collaborating with clients at the clinic, their homes, and in the shelter. If people are experiencing homelessness, she may help them develop skills at the shelter while they wait for housing. If people are newly housed, she may assist in the adjustment process to help transition people into the community.
Why Caitlin enjoys working in Health Care for the Homeless
Caitlin values working with people experiencing homelessness because she has the opportunity to provide intervention for an under-served population in their communities. She is inspired by clients’ resilience and motivation and seeing improvement is very rewarding. Caitlin also enjoys being part of an interdisciplinary team to address basic and important needs for the clients, such as working with case managers to determine housing options for the clients
Private specialized school
Pam Vaughn, MS, OTR/L (Sargent ’13)
OT’s Role in Private Specialized School Settings
Occupational therapists working in private specialized schools may provide intervention for elementary, middle, and high school students. At Pam’s school, occupational therapists provide intervention for elementary school students to address foundational skills that support occupational performance. Foundational skills may include fine motor, visual motor, or sensory motor. In middle school, occupational therapy intervention focuses on functional and life skills tasks. For high school students, occupational therapy interventions further develop these skills, focusing on the executive functioning skills needed to facilitate independence for adulthood.
Why Pam enjoys working in a Private Specialized School Setting
Pam believes that the focus of occupational therapy in a private specialized school setting should be on students’ functional performance and necessary skills to support independence. Pam provides direct services in small groups of 2-3 students with similar levels of functioning. She collaborates with teachers, parents, and other clinicians to identify students’ needs and provide individualized interventions for students. She values the time spent with students working on transferable skills that will help them become more independent. Pam appreciates that occupational therapy is built into students’ school schedules so they are not pulled out of classroom activities.
Samantha Fonseca-Moreira, MS, OTR/L (Sargent ’16)
Employer: Cambridge Public Schools
OT’s Role in Public School Settings
Occupational therapists in public schools support and provide services for students with and without disabilities; train school personnel, families, and caregivers; collaborate with teams; and support district initiatives such as positive behavior intervention supports (PBIS), response to intervention (RTI), healthy schools, and anti-bullying campaigns. They support students’ ability to participate in desired daily school activities and access the school curriculum. Depending on students’ needs, Sam provides one-on-one individualized or small group interventions, either inside or outside of the classroom, to address students’ foundational skills to participate, function, and access the school curriculum. She collaborates with school staff to provide modifications, adaptations, or accommodations for students to access curriculum to the best of their abilities.
Why Sam enjoys working in a Public School Setting
Sam values collaborating with colleagues in various disciplines. She believes that interdisciplinary perspectives have helped expand her approach to intervention. Interacting with children is the best part of her job ,and she enjoys hearing from families about the value of occupational therapy. The children on her caseload motivate her to continue to learn more about how to address each child’s individual needs.
Special education preschool
Adam Swatt, MSOT, OTR/L (Sargent ’18)
Employer: Kennedy Children’s Center
OT’s Role in a Special Education Preschool
Occupational therapists in special education preschools promote children’s development and engagement in everyday activities. Adam provides one-on-one intervention to help children develop specific skills in the areas of activities of daily living (ADL), play, and social participation. He also works with students in the classroom to support their participation in classroom activities such as circle time, free play, or mealtime. Adam collaborates with other occupational therapists to co-lead group sessions to facilitate social interaction among the children. He consults with teachers to support students’ skill development and collaborates with parents to support family life.
Why Adam enjoys working in a Special Education Preschool
Adam enjoys working in a preschool because it’s a really fun environment. He says that adults don’t have the opportunity to play as much as children, and he appreciates that he can go to work and be playful and silly. He spends his day doing meaningful and fulfilling work and he has a lot of fun supporting children and their families.
Specialized outpatient clinic
Janvi Patel, OTD, OTR/L (Sargent ’15, ’17 ’19)
OT’s Role in a Specialized Outpatient Clinic
Occupational therapists working in a specialized pediatric outpatient clinic collaborate with children and their families to support children to engage in their childhood occupations relevant to their school, home, or community settings. In her job, Janvi has the opportunity to engage with children in a variety of environments including a specialized enhanced sensory environment, a kitchen, and a pedestrian walkway closed to traffic. She may work with children in the sensory environment and engage the children in activities with vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile sensory input to help them develop a foundation of ordered sensory processing on which functional skills can be built. If meal preparation and mealtimes are valued family occupations, Janvi may collaborate with children on cooking-based interventions in the kitchen. To address social skills which may be important for attending school, Janvi may offer a social skills group with other children or go to the store with children to practice interacting with store owners in the community.
Why Janvi enjoys working in a Specialized Outpatient Clinic
Janvi loves working with children, but she also values supporting the entire family. She acknowledges that some parents may have received a recent diagnosis for their children and are just beginning to learn about this diagnosis or condition. Janvi advocates for children so parents learn to understand their child’s disability and how to manage life while parenting a child with a disability.
Private practice - children
Angie Telatovich, OTD, OTR/L (Sargent ’15, ’17 ’18)
Employer: OTA The Koomar Center
OT’s Role in a Private Practice for Children
Angie works in one of the nation’s largest occupational therapy private practices specializing in sensory integration. Occupational therapists in this setting consider how children process sensory information and how processing sensory information affects functioning in everyday activities. Difficulty with processing sensory information could affect children’s abilities to participate in activities of daily living, transition smoothly throughout the day, pay attention in class, or play with peers on the playground.
Angie spends most of her day providing interventions and typically sees each child once a week. Intervention is provided within a sensory rich environment with specialized therapeutic equipment designed to address children’s needs in the areas of sensory processing, self-regulation, body awareness, motor planning, and development of gross and fine motor skills. Angie collaborates with parents, teachers, and other healthcare professionals to design home programs and strategies for supporting children at home, school, and in their communities.
Why Angie enjoys working in a Private Practice for Children
Angie values sharing in successes with children and their families. She enjoys watching children’s confidence grow when they engage in a new activity or master a previously challenging activity. She particularly relishes hearing stories about the child’s increased participation within their community and schools. Angie creates a setting that supports play as a way to fully engage and motivate children and delights in the opportunity to be playful and creative during intervention sessions.
Jessica Asiello, OTD, OTR/L (Sargent ’17)
Employer: Massachusetts General Hospital
OT’s Role in Acute Care Settings
Occupational therapists have an early impact on long-term functional outcomes for patients in acute care settings. On the ICUs and hospital floors, they begin the process of facilitating patients’ re-engagement in meaningful daily activities after an acute illness or injury. Jessica uses clinical reasoning to design tailored interventions for patients and their caregivers. Based on patients’ unique needs and goals, she may provide consultation on functional cognition and home safety evaluation, ADL and IADL retraining, strategies for coping during hospitalization, and upper extremity rehabilitation. Jessica’s assessment of patients’ functional abilities helps the interdisciplinary team determine a safe and optimal plan for patients’ hospitalization and discharge.
Why Jessica enjoys working in an Acute Care Setting
Jessica values the impact that occupational therapy can have for patients at this critical stage in their journey. She enjoys the fast-paced medical context and variety that working in a hospital offers. In her department, Jessica has the opportunity to rotate to a different inpatient area of the hospital approximately every nine months. These rotations may include neurology, cardiology, medicine, oncology, orthopedics, trauma, burns, pediatrics, and inpatient mental health. She believes the opportunity to work in the various inpatient service areas makes her an effective generalist occupational therapist. She also has the opportunity to be involved in clinical research, as her occupational therapy department is a part of a large academic medical center. Overall, she finds working in acute care personally fulfilling and a great learning opportunity.
Whitney McWherter, MS, OTR/L, LSVT BIG Certified (Sargent ’17)
Employer: West Florida Hospital
OT’s Role in Neurological Inpatient Rehabilitation
Occupational therapists in neurological inpatient rehabilitation units work with clients to ensure they are as functionally independent as possible before discharge. Interventions focus on activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), and activities that clients need or want to do. Occupational therapists assess clients’ functional cognition when providing intervention since OTs recognize that clients’ abilities to perform a specific occupation is determined by their skills, the task demands of the occupation, and the environment. Occupational therapists assess clients’ performance and then teach strategies to complete the occupation or identify the level of assistance required. They also provide family education and training to support caregivers.
Why Whitney enjoys working in a Neurological Inpatient Rehabilitation Setting
Whitney values the opportunity to provide intervention at the beginning of a major event in clients’ lives. She enjoys setting the tone for clients’ recoveries by building a sense of hope and urgency since there is great potential for healing if clients begin intervention as early as possible. Whitney is committed to helping clients build their confidence and advocate for themselves.
Alicia Hoffman, OTR/L (Sargent ’18)
Employer: Arbour Hospital
OT’s Role in Mental Health Settings
Occupational therapy practitioners in mental health settings use engagement in meaningful activities to promote physical health, mental health, and well-being. Alicia provides group interventions for patients with a variety of mental health challenges in an acute psychiatric hospital. She leads four groups a day on the acute, adolescent, and dual diagnosis (co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder) units. She collaborates with clients to identify meaningful and realistic activities that clients can engage in while experiencing symptoms of psychosis. Alicia advocates for the distinct role of occupational therapy in mental health by educating colleagues and clients about the potential impact of sensory processing on occupational performance.
Why Alicia enjoys working in a Mental Health Setting
Alicia enjoys helping clients re-engage in meaningful activities. She finds it rewarding when clients learn new strategies for managing life experiences, such as relationships, communication breakdown, anger, stress, etc. from the groups. In addition to being a strong advocate for occupational therapy, Alicia also advocates for inclusive practices within the hospital. She saw a need for education on LGBTQ+ identities and how to speak to patients with a range of gender identities. To address this need, Alicia developed a training for staff at the hospital and has presented at orientation sessions to educate employees about the range of gender identities as well as strategies for respectful communication with clients who have gender identities that staff may not be familiar with.
Research and Teaching Positions
Teaching in higher education
Kevin Berner, OTD, OTR/L, ATP (Sargent ’16)
Employer: Boston University, Sargent College
OT’s Role in Teaching in Higher Education
The role of occupational therapists teaching in higher education is to prepare students to become competent and confident occupational therapists. To help students envision the role of occupation therapy in practice, Kevin draws from his clinical experiences and relates those experiences to theories and evidence-based literature. On days that Kevin teaches, he arrives on campus early to prepare for class. He facilitates class discussions to create opportunities for students to interact and reflect on readings and lectures. After teaching, he works at his clinical job for the remainder of the day. On days that Kevin does not teach, he engages in clinical practice, reviews literature and texts on theory and practice to prepare for class discussions.
Why Kevin enjoys Teaching in Higher Education
Kevin values teaching in an academic environment because he believes teaching makes him a better practitioner. He appreciates the energy, inquiry, and excitement that students bring to the classroom. For Kevin, students’ passion for occupational therapy is contagious. Involvement in higher education helps Kevin reflect on his occupational therapy practice and remain current with theories and evidence.
Ariel Schwartz, PhD, OTR/L (Sargent ’19)
Employer: Boston University, Sargent College
OT’s Role in Research
Occupational therapy researchers identify questions of importance to the field. Their research builds knowledge to support effective and evidence-based practices. Researchers use occupational therapy theories and their clinical experience to inform their work. Ariel is deeply committed to participatory action research, a research approach in which people with disabilities collaborate in the research process as co-researchers. To best serve the needs of people with disability living in the community, Ariel collaborates with young adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities to ensure that research meets their stated needs and desires. She adapts and modifies research tasks when needed so people with disabilities may fully engage as research partners. Her work includes recruiting potential participants and stakeholders to gather information, collecting data through participant interviews or focus groups, and engaging with research collaborators in data analysis.
Why Ariel enjoys a Research Career
Ariel always wanted to be a researcher and chose to complete her clinical degree in occupational therapy because she discovered that the profession values the intersection of the person, environment, and occupation. These values aligned with Ariel’s background in disability studies. Occupational therapy is a client-centered practice and attending to what matters to clients is congruent with Ariel’s commitment to participatory action research. Through her research, Ariel hopes to shift the conversation about how people think about disability and disability research. She enjoys the problem-solving aspect of conducting research and appreciates learning something new every day.