Student Resources by and for Occupational Therapy students 
Students, we thank you for your continued membership and engagement and we hope that you are staying safe during the pandemic. More than ever, student membership is crucial for protecting the profession, so please consider renewing your FOTA student memberships! Thank you to ALL of the students who attended the 2020 virtual FOTA conference last month. Please welcome the new FOTA Student Resource Editors/Writers beginning in January 2021.
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A Note From The Editor
by Sue Ram, OTD

Thank you FOTA/New Beginnings

Hello FOTA student members! For those of you that know me, know that I have taken on the role as   Student Resource Coordinator and Writer over the last 3 years. Since our last issue, I have become a   licensed occupational therapist! With bittersweet emotions, this will be my final issue as I hand the  FOTA Student  Resource Page over to a new group of  amazing individuals who will provide you useful   information about all things related to the OT/OTA student experience. Since graduation, I   have   moved from Tampa to Cincinnati to begin an AOTA-approved pediatric fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where I am gaining specialized skills in the pediatric setting. As I continue my leadership journey and focus on furthering my career, I   felt that it   was time to have a set of fresh eyes to be here to support the students across the state of Florida now that I am in  Ohio. With that, I am grateful to have connected with so   many students and professors from OT and OTA   programs across the state while making life-long friends and professional connections. I want to leave readers with a few words of wisdom and advice for success.

sue ram

  1. Always support FOTA and AOTA. Your student memberships set the stage for a foundation of support, resources, and all things OT. Think of it as insurance for your career- you don’t want to be caught without it. There are many benefits outside of just the website. Make sure you retain these memberships once you become a practitioner. These associations advocate for you, your profession, and your future clients. Please enjoy the tips below:

  2. Get involved. There is something for everyone- volunteer at a conference, network, join a special interest section, advocate for OT and support your legislative team, stay up-to-date on the newest interventions and research, build lifelong friends. There are so many opportunities available through FOTA and AOTA to get involved from specialty internships to other hands-on experiences.

  3. Network. OT is such a small, close-knit community. The best thing is to have someone to turn to when you have questions or need support. I have an amazing OT support system due to the connections I have made over the years through FOTA. 
    sue ram

  4. Check your FOTA email updates and the website often. This is how you will be able to stay on top of new opportunities such as deadlines for the FOTA Leadership Development Program, scholarship deadlines, conference information, FREE webinars, and more. Take the few minutes out of your day or week to see what opportunities may interest you.

  5. When you are feeling burnt out or stressed out, whether it’s due to finals, assignments, board exam preparation, or fieldwork- think about the reason why you entered your OT/OTA program. Think about the reason why you chose to go into a helping profession. Use that to help ground yourself during challenging times. Making time for self-care helps too! Take care of yourselves and lean on your support systems. 

sue ram occupational therapy
As i bring this to a close, I want to thank every single student I have met over the last 4 years through FOTA. Thanks to my conference buddies who always helped me set up my poster presentations and came to clap after my short course sessions (in-person and virtually). Thank you to FOTA leadership and my "OT mom", Dr. Douglene Jackson for always allowing me opportunities to volunteer and grow. Thank you Janine for being amazing, every step of the way. I will always remember that first call we had where you showed me how to use the back end of the FOTA website. You know I’ll always be around to help. To the new group of students taking on this project, I wish you all the luck and I am sure you will come up with innovative ways to keep FOTA students connected and supported. If anyone would like to keep in touch, my email box is always open for support, tips, or just to talk about OT in general. Thank you all so much and thanks FOTA for supporting my OT dream from day 1. Now go get your memberships and get to work! Stay safe everyone and keep in touch!

Much love,
Sue Ram, OTD, OTR/L
[email protected]
[email protected]


Beginning OT School During a Pandemic!
By Deborah Kofsky

As with all aspects of life in 2020, the first year of OT school did not look the same as anticipated. Each person’s experience has been different, but as an occupational therapy student, I feel better equipped to demonstrate resilience and an ability to adapt. On reflection of my first two semesters, I would like to acknowledge some of the positive effects of our current situation, which I believe will have a lasting impact on my development as an OT.

1. My peers and I have managed to form meaningful relationships despite the distance.

Transitioning into a rigorous doctorate program, I was looking forward to the peer support of my cohort. I am glad to say that despite the physical distance, we have managed to become close friends and colleagues just six months into our journey, a closeness which I am certain will only strengthen as we progress. In addition to connecting as is necessary for group projects and study groups, we have become a strong support network and have even had a few virtual happy hours. We stay in touch through a group chat and encourage one another regularly. Students who live close to one another have managed to meet up (safely) for some practical work, but I can confidently say that I have also formed close relationships with some students that do not even live in the same state.

2.  We have become experts at collaborating digitally.

With the seemingly endless options for virtual collaboration, we have been forced to become masters at working together from a distance. Tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Drive have allowed us to learn together quite well. These skills will continue to serve us as we progress in the program and as professionals. Especially when considering the need to stay current to provide the best evidence-based practice, effectively collaborating with those who are physically distant will strengthen our ability to serve our clients in the long run.

3. It is a great year to put your head in a book.

Life is filled with distractions. Being in a graduate program will always pose a challenge of trying to find the right occupational balance while thriving in school. This year, so many of the typical leisure activities have been put on pause; what was once a busy social calendar has become one that is much easier to manage while adjusting to a new program. Big events like concerts and festivals have been canceled. For me, this slower-paced year has allowed me to zoom in better on my studies. Many of the activities that are most appropriate for occupational balance in 2020, such as going for a walk or playing a socially distanced sport like tennis, also happen to be great decompression activities for the stresses of graduate student life.

4. It will make us better occupational therapists.

For occupational therapy to be successful, clients need to be willing to adjust and demonstrate resilience. With everything this year has thrown at us, I have been able to apply the theoretical underpinnings of OT to challenges that have been presented. This gives me some perspective in my personal life and allows me to grateful for the silver linings in every obstacle. I am confident that this experience will strengthen my ability to guide others through challenging transitions in practice as I reach the next step of my journey as an OT.

Deborah Kofsky



Your FOTA  Membership dollars are at work! The FOTA board is pleased to announce a partnership with AOTA to enable your state association to offer a scholarship to an OT student. Monies from a long-held, but small scholarship fund in the name of Myra McDaniels were given to the AOTF to manage. AOTF reported this month that over 1,000 students began the process and over two hundred students submitted their applications. The Scholarship Selection Committee reviews applications on a yearly basis. Your Association Board and future
recipients of this scholarship thank you for your membership! For more information visit:
AOTF Scholarships Overview
AOTF Scholarships Available
AOTF Scholarships -- How to apply
AOTA Scholarship Info page

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About Student Resources:  
sue ramJasmine Lake, OT/S, Student Resource Editor 
My name is Jasmine Lake and I am a second year Doctor of Occupational Therapy student at Nova Southeastern  University! I graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in  health science on a pre-OT track. I have always believed that a disability does not define the person or their limits and to always treat the whole person, so I am proud to be a part of a profession that shares these values. I have a passion for neurological rehabilitation and I hope to create positive change in this area of occupational therapy. Please feel to contact me at [email protected] if you would like to contribute to the page! 

Deborah Kofsky
, OT/S, Guest Writer

Hello! My name is Deborah Kofsky, and I am a first-year Doctor of Occupational Therapy student at Nova Southeastern University at the Tampa Bay Regional Campus. Occupational therapy is a career transition for me; I completed my Bachelor’s in Advertising at Rowan University in 2012, and since then have held roles in communications, hospitality management, and sales. When I chose to study OT, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in which I could use creativity and have a positive impact. I fell in love with occupational therapy during my observations; being so early in my studies, I am not yet sure which practice area I want to pursue. My goal on this platform is to foster communication among students in various programs across the state to strengthen the Florida OT community. I can be reached at [email protected] for opportunities to connect and collaborate.

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