"I wanted to make a difference and I knew occupational therapy was a hands-on way to improve quality of life for many people," explains Allyson Obluck, who earned her Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree from South University, Tampa in March 2017, and passed her national boards a few months later in May 2017.
Today, Allyson works as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) at Hawthorne Health and Rehabilitation. From July 2017 to February 2018, she also worked at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Pinellas County—an organization where she interned as a South University student.
Allyson feels exceptionally fortunate to help others through her work. From adapting kitchen appliances and finding methods to allow individuals to cook again, to teaching people how to use a smartphone without sight, Allyson witnesses every day the power of occupational therapy to enable patients to regain the independence they thought was lost.
Allyson says South University equipped her to practice as a COTA by fostering her interest in areas like low vision, by giving her the knowledge and clinical experience to succeed, and by providing professors who were truly invested in her development.
"My professors always made the effort to ensure that I understood the material and were constantly encouraging me to be better and do better," she says. "All of my experiences throughout my clinical rotations challenged me to think outside the box and to trust my instincts."
While at South University, Allyson served as the president of the Student Occupational Therapy Association, and she now applies these same leadership skills in the field. In August 2017, Allyson was selected for the Florida Occupational Therapy Association’s OTA Leadership Development Program, and she remains committed to her own learning and growth as well as to working to advance the occupational therapy assistant profession.
"I am excited to see what the future holds for our field and for the graduates of South University, who will undoubtedly make a lasting impact on the low vision community, and on the occupational therapy community as a whole."
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