Annual conference a ‘great opportunity’ for OT students

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The SVSU Student Occupation Therapy Association (SOTA) is hosting its annual Student Occupational Therapy Association Conference from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday, March 24, in Curtiss Hall and the Student Life Center.

Carrie Begick, a second-year occupational therapy graduate student, said that, at the event, students will learn about occupational therapy, networking skills and employment opportunities in the healthcare field.

“It is a recognized conference where clinicians can receive continuing education units,” she said. “There will be two keynote speakers, breakout sessions, research poster presentations and occupation-based kits. It is a great opportunity to learn more about the field of occupational therapy, practice settings, treatments and evidence-based practice.”

Assistant professor of occupational therapy Aricka Schweitzer said the conference brings clinicians from the surrounding area to speak to students.

The event is a student-organized conference, and this year’s SOTA conference chair is second-year occupational therapy graduate student Erica Green.

“Each year, there is a first-year and second-year student paired together from the student organization to organize and plan the event,” Green said. “This has been a staple in the conference since before I attended SVSU back in 2009.”

Schweitzer said the purpose of SOTA is to aid students in their pursuit of becoming a successful OT student, to provide high quality care, to organize activities that benefit students personally and professionally, and to promote the field of occupational therapy.

“The conference each year has grown in its success and awareness of what OT can do, what our students bring to the region with their creative projects and unique research,” she said. “The conference supports the organization in all of their yearly activities and assists in supporting our student delegation at our national occupational therapy conference.”

She added, “This year, Kimberlie Watkins will represent SVSU’s SOTA in the representative assembly of student delegates in Philadelphia four our 100-year celebration.”

Schweitzer said students benefit from the event by listening to speakers and experts while also showing their research and occupations to classmates.

Such activities allow them to increase their skill-set and team-oriented abilities, Schweitzer said.

“The event also helps to guide operations for programming activities, running a meeting, budgeting, fundraising, running elections, supporting officer positions and transitions,” she said. “Again, this event has been going on for many years here at SVSU. Not only do our students attend and present some of their unique crafts, but we also have many area clinicians attending for continuing education, and this year, we have several other student OT groups visiting from surrounding universities.”

The cost to attend the conference is $20 for students and $35 for clinicians, and Registration is due prior to the date of the event to ensure proper headcount.