By Steve Harmic, Penn State DuBois
DUBOIS – Three Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) students from Penn State DuBois recently made a presentation on their circular and extra circular work at the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association’s (POTA) annual conference in Lancaster. It provided the students with opportunities to showcase their accomplishments and to network with professionals in the occupational therapy field.
Accompanied by LuAnn Demi, instructor and campus coordinator of the OTA program, the students presented a poster session featuring photos and information about the hands-on learning experiences they’ve had while enrolled in the campus program. Their presentation focused on CarFit, a clinic-styled program that students offer periodically. During CarFit clinics, students work with other health care professionals to help senior citizen drivers stay safe and comfortable behind the wheel. Seniors who attend the clinic receive help adjusting their seats, steering wheels and mirrors for maximum comfort and safety, in a way that best suits each individual. Through their presentation, the students were able to show OT professionals the impact that real-world learning opportunities have had on their education.
“This was a great opportunity for students to take knowledge they have gained during their education to a new level,” Demi said. “The students shared information and experiences they’ve had serving the community through CarFit with occupational therapy professionals in the field who hadn’t even heard of the program. I think presenting a poster at a professional conference gave the students confidence and experience that will continue to benefit them in their future careers in occupational therapy.”
The students said that they couldn’t agree more. OTA student Colleen Prechtl said, “Getting to be a part of the CarFit POTA presentation was a great experience. It allowed us to educate others in the OT field about this great program for senior drivers and how they can also get out in their communities to spread the word of how OT can help make this world a better place.”
“I feel that the POTA Conference was a great experience for me because I was able to spread the word about the program, CarFit, as well as mingle with some other people of the OT profession,” said student Katrina Anderson.