Megan McCray, MOT 1 student in occupational therapy (OT) at Doisy College of Health Sciences, has graciously let me interview her to find out why occupational therapy is such a great degree. MOT 1 means that Megan is currently in her first year for the Master of Occupational Therapy portion of the program and has only one more year until graduation. Besides her OT studies, Megan has a lot on her plate! She is currently the Education and Volunteer Chair of the Student Occupational Association (SOTA); president of Students United for Africa (SUFA), which helps bring an appreciation of the African cultures to SLU, as well as promote sustainable development through education in the continent; she is involved in community activities and uses her occupational therapy skills to expand the knowledge of OT to others. Read more about Megan and her time at Doisy College.
Hometown: La Grange Park, IL
Degree: Master of Occupational Therapy
What do you like most about Occupational Therapy?
I like that occupational therapy is different for each person and can help such a wide variety of people. I love that occupational therapy focuses on meaningful engagement and works holistically to help the client have the best quality of life possible.
Why do you want to become an occupational therapist?
Occupational therapy has a unique perspective on health and combines physical, emotional, and social aspects of well-being. It is a field with a very wide scope of practice and allows therapists to work in many different settings. I like that it is always challenging and focused on creativity!
What is one thing that excites you about occupational therapy?
The profession is growing very quickly which means increasing research and numbers of clients that are being referred to occupational therapists. Society is starting to recognize the importance and positive impact that occupational therapy can have. It is exciting to be a part of a profession that is growing so rapidly!
How did you know this program was right for you? How did you heard about the OT program at SLU?
My older sister went to SLU for physical therapy and she was the one that suggested I go into occupational therapy. Of course, as an angst-y teenager, I said no way. I had never even heard of OT! She convinced me to check it out, so I attended an Explore OT Day at SLU. It was amazing! I had no idea that there was a profession that could do everything that OT does! I felt like I fit right in and could really see myself at SLU after meeting with Cindy Matlock, an assistant professor in the OT department, and talking to her about what being an OT means.
Where do you see yourself after graduation?
Right now, I have so many interests in OT! I am very interested in rehabilitation, neurology, pediatrics, burn therapy and prosthetics, as well as international work. I would like to work in a place that allows me to explore all of these options. Being from the Chicago area, I'd like to work in a teaching hospital there.
Are you involved in activities around SLU?
SLU has so many great things for students to get involved in! I am a member of several student groups, and have been fortunate enough to be given leadership roles in them as well. I am the Education and Volunteer Chair of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), where I help coordinate activities for OT students in St. Louis to help students give back and engage in community activities, as well as promote and expand the knowledge of OT in the community. I am also the president of Students United for Africa (SUFA), which helps bring an appreciation of the African cultures to SLU, as well as promote sustainable development through education in the continent. Through SLU, I was able to study abroad in Madrid and travel to Ghana with SUFA. I have been able to volunteer at many places in the community through SLU, such as Casa de Salud and the Juvenile Detention Center. I have been involved on a global scale as well. There are countless opportunities to get involved in whatever your interests are!
Each student at Doisy College is assigned a faculty mentor, do you like having a faculty mentor?
Having a faculty mentor is wonderful. This is a person that you can talk to about your field of interest, what you want to do with your career and helps you find professional opportunities. The occupational therapy department is great because even though I have one official mentor, all of my professors' act as mentors and are more than willing to help you in any way you need.
Why did you choose SLU?
I chose SLU because of the occupational therapy department and its undergraduate emphasis on occupational science. However, while I still love those parts of SLU, I have found many more things that make SLU such a great place, especially its focus on service and community.
Now, why would you recommend your program to potential students?
I would recommend the OT program to students because it has such a strong foundation that prepares students really well for the challenges of working in health care. Our background in occupational science helps us to gain an in-depth understanding of occupational therapy and its importance to health. The faculty is very supportive of all students and works very hard to ensure the success of everyone. They create a wonderful environment that is very conducive to learning and exploration! It is also a great program because it is an entry-level master's program, which helps alleviate the stress of finding and applying to a graduate school, so you can really focus on learning!
Do you have any parting words for prospective students?
Visit! Reading about different programs is a great way to learn, but experiencing the program is a whole different thing. You want to choose a school where you feel comfortable, that will be challenging and stimulating and give you a solid foundation for your professional life, as well as provide you with many outside opportunities. When you visit SLU and talk to members of the OT department, you'll feel right at home!