Occupational Therapy

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 email OTAdmissions@missouri.edu.

Sarah Dodoo

Third-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Why Mizzou OT: 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

Third-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Johnston, Iowa

Best part of the program: 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: 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

Third-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Columbus, Mississippi

Why Mizzou OT: 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 TigerOT clinic throughout our coursework as well as the added hands-on practicum aspect of our curriculum that better prepares us for future fieldwork.

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

Third-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Boonville, Missouri

Describe your path to OT: I’ve 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!  

Zoey Hrabovsky

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Fulton, Missouri

Describe your path to occupational therapy: My path to occupational therapy is very unique. I began my undergraduate career as an engineering major, switched my major multiple times, then fell in love with OT. I wanted a career that valued people and personal connections above all, so ultimately OT is the perfect path for me.

Describe your dream OT job: One day, I would love to work in adaptive sports, especially focused on the pediatric population.

Ryan Kissel

Secondyear Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: El Dorado Springs, Missouri

Describe your path to occupational therapy: When I first started college, I found a passion to improve others’ quality of life through health-promoting activities. I wanted to apply this passion to a career that offered abundant opportunities. After becoming an OTA in 2018, I then gave myself time to explore other careers. Nothing was as satisfying as the direct client care and scope of practice that OT provides. Therefore, I decided to progress my career in OT because I wanted to advance my practice and knowledge.

Describe why you chose Mizzou OT: Prior experience in the OT profession has taught me the importance of evidence-based practice. I chose MU OT because of the many opportunities they offer their students, such as research, interprofessional development, and collaboration between students and professors.

Lexie Moore

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Geneva, Illinois

Describe your path to occupational therapy: I applied to the University of Missouri (MU) in 2018 as a pre-nursing student. From working at MU hospital, my eyes were opened to other health professions, and in the spring of 2020, I officially changed my major to Health Sciences. This change was exciting and extremely thrilling and helped me to officially chose Occupational Therapy which was exactly what I was desperately searching for, a combination of both emotional and physical intervention.

Advice for future students: My advice for future students is to prioritize their mental well-being. Mental illness is something that I believe affects everyone at some point in life in some way. The Mizzou OT faculty and your cohort are there to support you in all facets of your well-being, so use them for support whenever you need it.

Amy Naaman

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Jefferson City, Missouri

Describe your favorite part of the program and/or profession: My favorite part of the profession is helping people do the things they love. There is so much that we fix under the umbrella of OT so there are endless possibilities for how we can improve the lives of our clients. I love that our program is focused on creating excellent practitioners and the professors want you to succeed just as much as you do and are by your side along the journey.

Advice for future students: You are in the program now, take a breather. This is this time to focus and become the OT you always wanted to be. Create healthy study habits and have an open mind. You are meant to be here.

Mikayla Simons

Second-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Emporia, Kansas

Describe your favorite part of the program and/or profession: I have really enjoyed getting to know my classmates and meeting some of my best friends. It is exciting to get to work with and collaborate with students in other professional programs through the Interprofessional Education days.

Describe your path to occupational therapy: I always knew I wanted to work in health care, but for the longest time I did not know what exactly I wanted to do. During a course in my undergrad, we had an occupational therapist come and talk to our class. I was really interested in OT because I liked the idea of following a holistic approach when working with clients, and I have come to find that I have a lot of the same values as this profession.

Anna Cates

Second-year Occupational Therapy Assistant Student

Hometown: Columbia, Missouri

Describe your favorite part of the program and/or profession: It is obvious that the occupational therapy assistant program at Mizzou has been well developed. So far, every class through each semester synchs and builds off each other in wonderful unison. It makes for very engaged and productive learning. Additionally, each class is very hands on! This has made learning SO fun! We also have a unique opportunity to go on several field work rotations to various setting types. Finally, I cannot express how wonderful the professors and faculty are. They all have such unique backgrounds and experiences that they bring to our education. They are very passionate about what they do and care a lot about us as students!

Describe your dream OTA job: I have a heart for the adult and geriatric population! My dream is to work in an inpatient rehabilitation setting and integrate animal assisted therapy! I feel that the use of dogs in settings like this is beneficial in so many ways! I am currently working on developing my baccalaureate project in animal assisted therapy!

Emma Garrison

Emma Garrison

Second-year Occupational Therapy Assistant Student

Hometown: Webb City, Missouri

Describe why you chose MU OT: While talking with my advisor about switching to OT, I figured out that I can graduate with both my bachelor’s and, if I choose to, my doctorate in seven years without ever having to leave the University of Missouri. This was such a blessing to me because I had access to this amazing bachelor’s program that isn’t really offered anywhere else even though I didn’t come to Mizzou for occupational therapy originally. The more that I learned of the program the more I was impressed and felt like I was where God wanted me to be. The faculty is known nationally for their work and practice outside of the walls of the University and every day in the classroom I get to see not only their expertise, but also their passion for the profession and us as future COTAs. I am so glad I didn’t even once consider looking into programs elsewhere.

Describe your dream OTA job: Through opportunities in high school and college, I have discovered that I have a heart for serving those in lower socioeconomic communities and/or a non-profit setting, especially the kids. I am looking forward to seeing what opportunities come my way after graduation because who knows where God may lead me.

Sydney Carlisle

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Carthage, IL

Describe your favorite part of the program and/or profession: My favorite part about the program is truly the community that exists within. All of the professors and staff are so personable and passionate about OT. They consistently speak from real-life experiences in practice, facilitate thoughtful discussion, and encourage critical thinking. Additionally, my class is another one of my favorite things. While there are 44 of us it feels as though our class is much smaller because of how much we all have connected one-on-one. Being able to share and relate to those who have similar goals and interests on a daily basis has been so fulfilling and I truly have found life-long friends through MUOT.

Advice for future students: My advice for future students would be to work hard and remember you are capable of more than you think, it just takes some determination, discipline, and hard work.

Tamaya Carter-Moore

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Describe your path to occupational therapy: I first discovered occupational therapy when my cousin was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. After seeing how an occupational therapist impacted my family’s life, I knew I wanted to do the same for others.

Describe why you chose MUOT: I applied to the Mizzou undergraduate program with the intention of being a part of the OT program. What drew my attention to the Mizzou OT program was the hands-on opportunities available on-site. I wanted to ensure I attended a school that would set me up to succeed out in practice.

Anna Kirby

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Columbia, MO

Describe why you chose MUOT: I chose MUOT because of the unique opportunity to be a part of their 3+3 program, which allows me to enter the OT program a year earlier, and thus graduate a year earlier than normal. Also, I went to Mizzou for my undergrad and loved the campus environment I found here and knew I wanted to continue my experience here post-undergrad.

Advice for future students: Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors and ask them questions. They are there to help you and only want to see you succeed.

Reagan Lehenbauer

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Palmyra, MO

Describe your path to occupational therapy: I have always known I wanted to be in a career that allowed me to work with people by helping and teaching them, but I was not quite sure what job was the right fit for me. In high school, my job shadowing teacher told me I should observe an occupational therapist because she thought that profession would be a really good fit for me. I immediately fell in love because I could be of service to many different types of people and guide them through the process of engaging in activities that are meaningful to them.

Describe your dream OT job: My dream job is in a school setting in or around my hometown, but I will be happy anywhere I can use the skills I learn in the program to be of service to the population.

Shelby Webster

First-year Occupational Therapy Student

Hometown: Camdenton, MO

Describe why you chose MUOT: I chose MU OT because it was the closest doctoral occupational therapy program near my hometown, and it was the best financial option for me. MU OT has an amazing reputation, and I had great conversations with an MU OT alumnus who had nothing but amazing things to say about the program.

Describe your dream OT job: My dream OT job would include a position where I can work with individuals with disabilities who want to participate in physical activity or recreational sports. Adaptive physical activity and recreational sports have so many unique opportunities for occupational therapists to assist in, and I would love to be able to use my Exercise Science background, alongside my passion for OT, to help individuals who value the same things that I do.