School of Health Professions

Student wins American Occupational Therapy Foundation scholarship

Occupational Therapy student Kathryn Hiles


Second-year Doctor of Occupational Therapy student Kathryn Hiles has won the Charles Christiansen and Beth Jones Endowed Scholarship from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.

“These are extremely competitive awards, and it is truly testament to Kathryn's impactful leadership and contributions to the program, university and community to be selected as a 2023 recipient,” said Department of Occupational Therapy Chair and Professor Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, PhD, OTR. The scholarship award is just over $1,400.

Hiles describes her passion for occupational therapy in the Q&A below:

Q: What does this scholarship mean for you? 

A: I am incredibly honored to have been selected for this award. This specific scholarship is meaningful to me because of its emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. It is an honor to be able to advocate for cultural humility in the OT profession and beyond. This award enables me to dedicate my time and energy to my education, especially as I transition into my level two fieldwork experiences.  

Q: Why did you choose OT? 

A: I have always had a passion for working with others, but over time I came to realize that the motivation behind my passion is simply to remind others that they are capable and important. An OT incorporates this passion by helping their clients achieve the highest level of independence possible, given their circumstances and environment. As an occupational therapist, I will be in the unique position to provide the education, training, equipment and practice necessary for my clients to engage as independently as possible in the activities that they want to do, need to do and are expected to do.  

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: I am not entirely sure what setting I plan to work in after graduation. Right now, my interests are in acute care and assistive technology. I am blessed to be in a profession that has so many settings and specialties that excite me. I am eager to start my clinical rotations so that I can refine my interests and see where I can make the biggest impact.  

Watch Hiles describe her experience in the OTD program in this video.

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