Returning to TU in fall 2018 for the post professional Occupational Therapy (OT) Doctorate Program was a no brainer for Steffi. “I never looked at any other OT doctoral program. I knew there would be no other choice,” she says. “The fact that it was a part-time program was attractive to me.” Steffi could continue working while earning her degree. “There would have been no other way,” she says.
Designed for the working professional, flexibility is central to TU’s doctoral program. On faculty in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Community College of Baltimore County since fall 2020, Steffi teaches courses in geriatrics. “My reason for going back is because I want to go into academia.” But she will always have her hands in the clinical side—even when she teaches. “I want to keep current in practice.”
Teaching is everything she expected and more. “Being able to see students learn and apply the knowledge, that’s why I teach,” says Steffi. She aspires to be a dean or OT department chair one day. But, she says, the field lacks diversity. “This is one of the reasons I want to get into academia. We need to be represented in the space for the change to occur.” In addition, it is memories of her TU experience and the support she received from all her professors. “They truly want students to succeed and it shows every single day.” She says that Dr. Sonia Lawson is one of the main reasons she decided to return to TU for her doctorate. “Dr. Lawson has a passion for students and the field of OT. I wanted to be what she was for me, for my students.”
Although she will finish her doctorate before she can take advantage of the new Health Professions Building, Steffi affirmed that keeping pace is critical—now and in the future. As the demand for health care professionals grows and greater public health challenges present themselves, cutting edge technology, equipment and facilities will need to keep pace.