Episode Four: How and why did you choose your OTD capstone project?
I’m Shirley O’Brien and I am the coordinator of our post-professional online occupational therapy doctoral program, and I am so excited to have quite a breadth of really qualified post-professional students here. Talk to us just a little bit about your capstones. How did you get into them? Why did you do the capstone you did?
Dr. Whitney Cook:
I get a lot of unnecessary referrals in the school-based practice for kiddos with handwriting concerns when they haven’t really been taught a lot of how to hold their pencil and form their letters appropriately and correctly, and the school that I actually work at does not have a preferred handwriting program. So, each teacher gets to choose whichever program they want or not use one at all, and then go from there. So, I chose to study the effectiveness of two different handwriting programs in two different first grade classrooms to try to determine which of the two programs would be more effective.
Dr. G. Ebony Seay:
For my occupational therapy capstone, my favorite is pediatrics and the smaller the better for me, so I took that pediatric aspect of it and decided to do a parental education class for parents and caregivers of maybe six months and younger. So, we focused on positioning for sleep and play, so tummy time because everybody knows that tummy time is a thing, but nobody really knows how to do the things, so that was part of it, kind of emphasizing how to do tummy time and what it means, the importance of it because mothers know generally, they’ve heard it or they know about it, but they don’t know how it applies to their baby.
Dr. Jenn Veenendall:
I became more and more concerned about what happens when we’re done, what happens when these students graduate? And so, at that same time that I started the program, I transitioned more into working in our transition program within our district and doing a lot more supportive work with the staff and students there. So, that led me to develop my capstone around students with intellectual disabilities and ensuring that when they graduate their vocational opportunities are greater and that they’re finding something that’s very meaningful to them.
Dr. Stedmon Hopkins:
So, after doing that and talking to my mentor, you know, we took it more of the route of looking at collaboration professionally and understanding how working with other people can influence what we do, and I think that went along really well because when I teach, I promise you, it seems like every week I tell all the students how important it is to work with your social workers, to get along with nursing, and really make those connections because it makes your job easier.
Dr. Christina Bretz:
My occupational therapy capstone was on examining cognitive teaching and social presence in virtual continuing education workshops. And the reason I did this is because due to Covid, we had to take all of our workshops from Learning Without Tears and move them from in person to virtual, and so just like we were all talking about that community feel and that social presence that we felt in the online courses here at EKU, I wanted to have that same feeling in our virtual workshops.
So, in this way we were able to give a survey to our participants that attended these workshops and found out in what we were lacking, and social presence is one that we were lacking in these workshops, so that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on. Our company is now looking at different online platforms because of our capstone report and we’re going to look at the differences in the two.
Dr. Crystal Coffman:
I had the pleasure of working with a homeless population for women and children and it was so hard. I can tell you I cried probably every week I came home. We did it for a year where I was there every Tuesday night, and I cried because of how I was treated, I cried because of how they were treated, like it just it ranged the whole gamut. It was so hard, but it was so phenomenal to learn so much about myself, so much about other populations, and so for me, yeah, it was really incredible, and it makes me want to actually move more. And my husband and I were talking about this and our next move over the summer, into diversity and policy and just advocacy work and whatever that looks like moving forward because my eyes were really opened.
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