University of Southern California
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Meet Our Trojan Family

Eliza Hart, MAII ‘15

Two-Year Master's

Hometown: Agoura Hills, California

What brought you to occupational therapy?

I was interested in a career change and wanted to pursue a helping profession. After doing some informational interviews with some OTs and shadowing a USC OT alumna in a pediatric outpatient setting, I was sold!

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

Playing tennis, cooking, hiking, and kayaking

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.

I have made so many wonderful memories thus far, so it is hard to choose just one. My classmates and I planned a surprise baby shower for one of our professors, Dr. Rafeedie. We all worked together to contribute to the surprise and make it a special moment for her. She is a fantastic professor and we wanted her to know that we appreciated everything she did for us - she really made learning fun. The smile on her face when she walked into the room was amazing and she was so grateful. She hugged every single person in the class, personally saying thank you to everyone. It was a great moment that demonstrated mutual respect between students and professor and teamwork and collaboration between students in our cohort.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I would want to be able to travel places at the snap of my fingers. I commute from Orange County to campus, so this would be very helpful in eliminating my morning commute. I also love to travel, but do not enjoy long plane rides, so it would be amazing to be able travel across the world so quickly.

What are two truths and a lie about yourself?

I have an identical twin. I went bungee jumping with my mom on my 21st birthday. I once won a booty-shaking contest.

David Park, MAII ‘14

Two-Year Master's

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

What brought you to occupational therapy?

Lot of researching & volunteering

What area of practice are you interested in?

I’m really interested in working with adults and elder adults (adult rehabilitation) and forensic and at-risk youth population (mental health).

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

I like to stay active, grab late-night donuts with friends, watch movies, listen to music, and laundry.

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.

One of my favorite memories from the program is when I got to dip Rob Russow at the Boat Party.

What Hogwarts house would you be in and why?

Hufflepuff: hard work, patience, justice, and loyalty.

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you pick?

Jane Baumgarten. She is the most amazing OT I’ve ever had the privilege to study under. She has so much clinical knowledge and experience. She never ceases to amaze me with her skills.

What are two truths and a lie about yourself?

I lived in Poland before coming to America. I almost lost my sight at age seven. I love the Los Angeles Lakers.

Megan Ruth Atkinson, MAII ‘14

Two-Year Master's

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

What brought you to occupational therapy?

I lived and worked in New York City for nine years, and for part of that time I was a practice manager for a behavioral optometrist in Brooklyn. I found out about OT there, since many OTs referred kids to him, and after some research I decided it was the perfect follow-on to my psychology studies.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.

In high school, my mom encouraged me to teach dance classes to kiddos in Head Start programs outside of Pittsburgh.  Mom is amazing with children and incredible with older adults.  She taught special-needs pre-school and is now a home aid for people with Alzheimer’s who have additional serious medical conditions.  I feel like I learned a lot about OT from her, even though she was unfamiliar with the profession before I applied to school. 

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

Boogying on down the road; finding hikes for me and my best friend who is a schnauzer-dachsund named Oliver; apparently watching lots of “Foreign Steamy Romances” and “British Biographical 20th Century Period Pieces” on Netflix.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?

Delicious dips.  I basically live off hummus and salsa and dip-delivery methods such as delicious chips.

What are two truths and a lie about yourself?

I’ve lived in 3 of 5 boroughs of NYC; I’ve worked at fish markets in both NJ and CA; I’m a clog dancer.

Susanne Elkrief, MAII ‘14

Two-Year Master's

Hometown: Encino, California

What brought you to occupational therapy?

Witnessing the impact occupational therapy had on my grandfather when he was in the hospital, encouraged me to research OT as a potential career option. After shadowing a clinical school psychologist and a school based occupational therapist, the incomparable amount of progress pediatric OTs were able to facilitate and maintain in children helped me determine that OT would be the most personally rewarding field for me.

What area of practice are you interested in?

The areas of practice I am interested in are pediatric mental health and school-based occupational therapy. I feel both areas play such a vital factor in childhood development and I would love to play a role in facilitating health-promoting interventions to encourage healthy growth and development.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.

Before coming to OT, I was a psychology – pre-med student at University of California, San Diego.  I had a strong passion for psychology and found myself gravitating towards neuropsychology research and autism. I worked as a research assistant in three different labs throughout my undergraduate experience: a language and development lab, a memory lab, and a research on autism and development lab. After researching several career paths, I found OT would provide me with the most opportunity to interact with children on a personal basis and really cater my skills towards targeting their individual difficulties and goals.

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?

Starbucks double shot coffee cans and hummus!

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you pick?

I would pick Dr. Jean Ayres, a true leader in the discovery and development of treatment methods for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and sensory integration dysfunction.

Korey Brent, MAII ‘14

Two-Year Master's

Hometown: Simi Valley, California

What brought you to occupational therapy?

The mother of a baby I nannied in undergrad who was an autism specialist heard that I was looking into various health professions and she said that I HAD to be an OT.  All it took was a google search to realize that OT was for me!

What area of practice are you interested in?

Currently I am split between adult rehab and pediatrics

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far:

My favorite memory from the program so far was when we were at our Level II fieldwork for the summer and I met two of my classmates for dinner one weekend and we all shared our stories (both positive and negative). We just all realized that we know so much more than we thought we did, and that we couldn’t be more excited about choosing OT for a profession.  Also, hearing my Level II clinical instructor say that she believed I was going to make a great OT was definitely a high point.

What Hogwarts house would you be in and why?

Gryffindor, because I would definitely have been the fourth wheel to Harry, Ron, and Hermione (or at least I would’ve tried to be)!

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you pick?

Kobe Bryant is the most dedicated person I can think of.  He is 110% dedicated to his field and being the best that he can be at it, and has an overwhelming amount of passion for what he does.  He is constantly working to be better and to refine his skills, works harder than most, and still maintains a sense of humor; these are all traits that I am working on!

Jonathan Li, MAII ‘15

Two-Year Master's

Hometown: Hong Kong

What brought you to occupational therapy?

Being a person who is big on balance and practicing what I preach, I believe occupational therapy was the field for me. I want to learn more about myself and the field of occupational therapy and be educated on how I can share my experience with others. Helping others come closer to achieving their potential while leading happy, healthy, balanced life.

What area of practice are you interested in?

Ergonomics, Wellness, Lifestyle Redesign, Home Modification, Pain Management

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

Exploring the city of Los Angeles and hopefully partaking in a road trip to the various states in the United States. Enjoying the various restaurants available in Los Angeles. Spending time with my family, especially my younger sister who is also studying in USC, and meeting up with my friends. I also enjoy sports and am willing to try new sports if given the opportunity. Some of the sports I currently do are hiking, running and practicing Traditional Chinese Martial Arts. I also enjoy playing a computer game called Leagues of Legends.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

The one superpower I would like to have is the power cosmic, which the Silver Surfer has. The power cosmic, in itself, consists of a lot of other powers, however, so it would not be fair. Instead, if I was given one super power, it will be telekinesis with the ability to manipulate molecules. I believe this power will provide me abilities to do much to help the world. If it is a cancerous tumor, I can manipulate the molecules to remove it; if a device is needed I can manipulate the molecules to create one. It provides an infinite potential only limited by one’s own mind.

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you pick?

It would be Wong Fei Hung. Wong Fei Hung is a folk hero that is well known for his martial arts skills, Chinese medicine skills, helping his country and compassion. These are all skills I would love to have and wish I will be able to use it to benefit and improve society in the future.

If you got to choose to be a comic character, who would you want to be?

I would choose to be either Silver Surfer or Cable from the Marvel Comics. Although both of these characters tend to be more of an anti-hero, I want to be these characters since I enjoy the freedom they have, allowing them to either time travel or explore the universe. They also share similarities in wanting to better the world through actions. Despite the many positive deeds, they both have their own limitations such as facing their death due to old age or constantly fighting an illness similar to cancer while pursuing their goals.

Victoria Tracy Wong, MAII ‘15

Two-Year Master's

Hometown: San Francisco, California

What brought you to occupational therapy?

I previously worked with seniors who had mental disabilities prior to college. When my best friend told me she was thinking of switching from nursing into occupational therapy, I looked into it. Much of the description seemed to be what I had done that previous summer. As I looked into it further, I decided to shadow a registered occupational therapist and found one at Ronald Reagan Hospital’s Neurological Rehabilitation Unit and in the Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program. I loved being in both settings, and I learned so much from observing that I knew I wanted to pursue occupational therapy as a career.

What area of practice are you interested in?

I came into occupational therapy interested in pediatrics, but I am still open to the different immersion experiences I will have!

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.

I was a psychology major at UCLA and had a minor in applied developmental psychology. I loved working with children and figuring out how minds think. My friends and family members always thought I might go into teaching or into the health care field, so it was not too surprising when I decided on occupational therapy.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

I enjoy baking (especially if it I can change up the ingredients to make it healthier), hiking, and just hanging out with friends.

What Hogwarts house would you be in and why?

I took a fun personality test before to see which Hogwarts house I would be placed in, and I got placed in Hufflepuff! I would say it’s pretty accurate considering this house values patience, hard work, loyalty, and fair play, which I do as well.

What are two truths and a lie about yourself?

My favorite color is blue, I would choose a sunrise over a sunset, and I really love citrus-y fruit.

Rebecca Brito, MAII ‘15

Two-Year Master's

Hometown: Orange, CA

What brought you to occupational therapy?

I initially wanted to go into physical therapy but after doing some volunteering and observation I realized occupational therapy was a better fit and I enjoyed it more.

What area of practice are you interested in?

I’m interested in working with veterans or working with individuals with low vision.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.

I’ve worked as an English language instructor and an ophthalmic technician and have my degree in human development.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

I love to hike, take trips to the dog beach and bake!

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?

Nothing. My top ramen is in the cabinet.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

To freeze time! I would be able to get all my homework/studying done AND get a full 8 hours sleep!

Yasi Amanat, MAII ‘15

Two-Year Master's

Hometown: Calabasas, California

What brought you to occupational therapy?

Once learning about this profession from a friend, I was intrigued by the multi-faceted dimensions of OT. This profession encompasses any and every component of the careers I had wanted to pursue growing up, into one lifelong goal of helping others in leading an active and fulfilling life.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

Eating, being outdoors, and taking silly pictures with my grandma.

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.

During the summer, in our Kinesiology course, we had the opportunity to go outdoors and play with parachutes. Although we were learning, it was fun playing parachute games together that we had not played since elementary school. We all absolutely loved it!

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?

Yogurt, salad, dark chocolate, and MILD salsa because I can’t handle spicy!

What are two truths and a lie about you?

I practiced gymnastics for 7 years, I only applied to USC for OT school, and I am allergic to kiwi.

U.S. News Ranks USC #1 Program in the Nation

USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 133
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003
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Phone: (323) 442-2850 · Toll free: (866) 385-4250
Fax: (323) 442-1540
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Request program information  Request program information

The USC entry-level master's degree program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® (ACOTE). ACOTE c/o Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.®, 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, (301) 652-6611 x2914, acoteonline.org

Professional program graduates are eligible to apply for certification by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.® www.nbcot.org

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