Jessie Bricker graduated from Eastern Kentucky University’s post-professional occupational therapy doctoral program. She works as the Academic Fieldwork and Capstone Coordinator for Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine Program in OT. She completed her OTD online and recently shared her thoughts about her EKU Online experience.
How has earning this degree changed or aided your career?
Earning my post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate has opened new opportunities for me in academia. Providing me with the credentials I needed to pursue faculty and leadership opportunities within OT education that align with my interests and career goals. More importantly, EKU’s online post-professional OTD allowed me to continue working full time. Supporting my family while I gained the leadership, scholarship and teaching skills I needed to be effective within my roles as an educator and administrator. The instruction and mentorship I received during my time at EKU has proved invaluable to me as I’ve made the transition from clinician to academic. EKU’s program provided an excellent foundation in Occupational Science. Making it possible for me to quickly develop skills in curriculum design, course development, manuscript writing, and communication with leaders and stakeholders, just to name a few.
What motivated you to get this degree?
After 15 years in a multitude of clinical and mid-level management roles, I was frustrated by the systems-level barriers that seemed to prevent me from practicing in the ways I wanted to. I was ready to transition into roles that would give me the opportunity to influence the system of care and raise the standards of practice I was seeing. I was drawn to EKU’s emphasis on leadership, and it didn’t disappoint! EKU has done a remarkable job developing a post-professional program that inspires even seasoned clinicians to expand their knowledge of policy and advocacy, and build upon their own knowledge to innovate in practice, education and research. It was exactly what I needed to make the career shift I wanted.
What was your favorite part or the highlight of your time as an EKU Online student?
Although being an online student and working full time with four kids at home doesn’t really lend itself to forming strong bonds with students or faculty, I was pleasantly surprised at the level of interaction among students and faculty. I have formed meaningful relationships during my time at EKU that continue today. Another highlight was the use of technology throughout the program to support meaningful learning. I still use some of the projects and resources I initially developed as assignments for my coursework.
How did the EKU Online faculty aid in your success?
I can’t say enough about the mentorship I received at EKU. Faculty were always available to support students throughout the process. They allowed students a great deal of autonomy as they develop their final projects and leadership experiences. Faculty are receptive to individual needs and work to make sure students are getting what they want from their program of study as it relates to their own career goals.
What did you find surprising about the program?
I was surprised at how much I learned in such a short amount of time. I felt my writing, communication style and skills as an instructor continually improved. Every course was meaningful, challenging and added to my knowledge and skillset.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to become an EKU Online student?
Pursuing this degree is a worthwhile investment, but it does require time and effort. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get from your experience. Take every opportunity to learn from the amazing faculty!
Any additional thoughts or comments?
Getting my post-professional OTD from EKU was one of the best career decisions I ever made. Thank you!
Interested in earning a post-professional OTD in an engaging and dynamic environment?
Complete the form to learn more about how EKU Online’s occupational therapy doctoral program can help advance your career.