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James Madison University

13 Students, Four Faculty to Present at Conference

By: Sydney Palese
Posted: October 15, 2013

In April 2014, 13 current graduate students and four faculty members from the occupational therapy master’s program will present research at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) 94th Annual Conference & Exposition in Baltimore, Maryland.

According to Dr. Jeff Loveland, the program director of the occupational therapy department, nearly 1,500 proposals were submitted for review with 1,021 accepted for presentation.

“To present at a national conference, students and faculty must submit a conference proposal that describes their project; list learning objectives and how they wish to present the information.

These proposal submissions are evaluated by three independent conference proposal reviewers and critically scored. Not every proposal is accepted for the AOTA conference with the process being very competitive.”

The research topics range from experiential learning to spirituality.

Emily Hamilton, a student presenting at the conference, has spent about a year working on her topic, titled “Resilience, routines, stability and their impact on the transitional process from foster care to independent living."

“I'm looking forward to sharing our information and enthusiasm for a potential emerging practice area for occupational therapists,” Hamilton said. “I'd love to see this spark additional studies that explore the topic or investigate OT intervention methods.”

Attending and presenting at conferences is important to the development of both graduate students within the program and the program itself.

“A graduate who can claim that they have completed and presented their research at an important conference when they are applying for their initial entry-level job has a feather in their cap compared to graduates who chose not to do so,” Loveland said.

Hayley Mata, a student presenting on the topic of “Occupations Pursued by Individuals after Gastric Bypass surgery,” said she hopes attending the conference will “provide me an opportunity to network with other professionals, gain experience with presenting at the national level, gain new evidence-based intervention strategies, and to represent JMU’s master of occupational therapy program.”

Students presenting their graduate research include Marylyn Kenney, advised by Jeanne Wenos; Kala Doss and Emily Hamilton, advised by Jeanne Wenos; and Hayley Mata and Ashley Mikkola, advised by Jeff Loveland. Students presenting with OT faculty members Elizabeth Richardson, OT Clinic Director, and Jeanne Wenos, research coordinator for the department, include Jessica Palmer and Alison Wilson; Katie Chapman and Teresa Mata; Lauren Wine and Bree D’Alessio. Students Maxi Valiente and Ashley Ramdeen will be presenting with OT faculty member Amy Russel Yun. Wenos and Richardson will also be presenting together.

Wenos said, “This success reflects well on the occupational therapy program and the department of health sciences.

We’re truly proud and excited to see our students strive for excellence and position themselves as leaders in the profession.”

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