My experience at the AOTA Student Conclave was better than I could have ever imagined. Ten University of Indianapolis occupational therapy students represented our school at the conference in Louisville, KY. We did all those things one would expect at a conference: networked with other students and practitioners, conversed with exhibitors about job prospects, and attended many informative sessions on topics such as fieldwork, areas of practice, and passing the national exam… However, the most amazing thing, for me, was the boost in confidence I received. I am more confident that I will be an outstanding entry-level OT, that I am entering an amazing profession, and that I am gaining an excellent education that is preparing me very well for the field I am about to enter.
It was also exciting to be in a room filled with other people who are passionate about OT! It inspired me to increase my leadership responsibilities and become a better advocate for the profession to which I have made a lifetime investment! Passion was evident in AOTA President, Florence Clark. I had the opportunity to see her keynote speech as well as talk to her face-to-face with some other students. Florence is hilarious and a real person. Her fervor for OT was contagious and she truly inspired me to be the best OT I can be. She reinforced my ambition for leadership, dedication to professional membership and advocacy, commitment to continuing education and evidence-based practice, and most of all, encouraged me to tell my story so the same inspiration grows in others exponentially.
-Brittany Behrendt, 2nd year MOT Student, University of Indianapolis
I had the opportunity to attend the 2010 AOTA/NBCOT National Student Conclave on November 5th and 6th. I was very excited to attend and was eager to learn more about the broad field of occupational therapy. I did not really know what to expect going into the conclave. However, I had done some research on the AOTA website and therefore was excited to do some networking with other occupational therapy students from all over the country and learn about current issues affecting the field of practice.
I was able to attend the conclave with some of my friends from the university program so this made it less intimidating. The opening ceremony consisted of a talk given by the president of AOTA. This was neat to be able to meet the president face to face. There were over 500 OT students from around the nation that attended the conclave. It was great to have the opportunity to meet so many other students that have the same dream and passion for the field. I was able to talk with some students from other programs and compare what we are learning. I was also able to discuss the differences in how the Student Occupational Therapy Associations are run at different universities.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet with job recruiters from all around the U.S. There were many exhibits set up at the conclave. These exhibits were designed so that students could talk to job recruiters and learn about the job programs that they offer. This provided the opportunity to talk to OTs from all different OT clinical settings. I was able to give recruiters my contact information and have already received some calls from rehab managers wanting to discuss their opportunities with me.
My favorite part of the conclave, though, had to be the learning opportunities through lectures and clinical sessions. I learned about occupational therapy in the school systems, animal assistance programs, how to land my first job, tips for starting my own private practice, how OT is being affected by health care reform, and tips for taking the NBCOT board certification exam. I learned a plethora of information that I found very valuable. I encourage all OT students, if they have the chance, to attend at least one student conclave during their MOT experience.
-Annmarie Reuzenaar, 2nd year MOT Student, University of Indianapolis