Alumni Spotlight for National Occupational Therapy Month

OT Month 2022

Bridget Scheidler, EdD, OTR/L, CAPS

Bachelor of Health Science 2004 (UF) & Master of Occupational Therapy 2005 (UF) & Doctor of Education 2019 (University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences)

Bridget Scheidler, EdD, OTR/L, CAPS photo

Loni Carter, MOT, OTR/L

Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration 2005 &
Masters of Occupational Therapy 2012

Loni Carter, MOT, OTR/L photo

Delaine Guitian, OTR/L, MBA/HCM

Personal Statement

Why Delaine loves occupational therapy…

“I love occupational therapy because it’s the only therapy profession that uses activity analysis to get to the root cause of an issue. Then it uses that information to build a sound plan of care guiding the patient step-by-step, retraining, and providing innovative techniques helping them get back to their life style”

Delaine Guitian, OTR/L, MBA/HCM photo

Class of 1995 Bachelor of Science in OT

Class of 2018 Masters in Business

Adult Inpatient Rehabilitation UF Health Central Florida (UF Health The Villages Rehabilitation Hospital)

Favorite Occupation Hiking and white water rafting


Sherry Lynne Bredy, MHS, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Sherry Lynne loves occupational therapy…

“I love to help people return to their life or reinvent themselves and to use creative ways to accomplish it.”

Sherry Lynne Bredy, MHS, OTR/L photo

Class of 2003 Masters in Health Sciences for Occupational Therapists

Out-patient UF Health Fixel Institute of Neurological Diseases

Favorite Occupation Travel and Photography


Bridget Scheidler, EdD, OTR/L, CAPS

Personal Statement

Why Bridget loves occupational therapy…

"I love occupational therapy because it is a profession where you can improve the lives of the few and the many. You can switch your job, your focus and/or who you work with while remaining an occupational therapist and promoting a holistic approach to the wellbeing of all your clients."

Bridget Scheidler, EdD, OTR/L, CAPS photo

Class of 2004 Bachelor of Health Science (UF)

Class of 2005 Master of Occupational Therapy (UF)

Class of 2019 Doctor of Education (University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences)

Volunteer at a student-run pro bono outpatient clinic Baylor University; Clinical Assistant Professor

Favorite Occupation Exercising, playing cards with my husband and children, cheering on Gator sports teams, traveling, resting


Anthony De Piero, MOTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Anthony loves occupational therapy…

“I love OT because seeing patients at their absolute worst and then seeing the amount of progress that they can make in terms of independence with their ADLs and mobility is remarkable. Despite a devastating burn injury, I have the chance to make a positive impact in patient’s lives and improve their quality of life using my unique skill set as an OT.”

Anthony De Piero, MOTR/L photo

Class of 2018 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Lead OT in the Burn ICU UF Health North Tower

Favorite Occupation Enjoy watching and attending all the Gator sporting events with my wife.


Rachael Bengtson, OTR/L, MOT, CBIS

Personal Statement

Why Rachael loves occupational therapy…

"I love OT because we get to help people get back to LIVING, whatever that may look like to them. Because our patients are so diverse in their own occupations, each day is exciting and we can be as creative as we want while making a meaningful impact in our patients’ lives."

Rachael Bengtson, OTR/L, MOT, CBIS photo

Class of 2016 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Adult Neuro UF Health Rehab Hospital

Favorite Occupation Traveling and spending time with my husband and our two “snorts”- a pug and Boston terrier.


Pooja Surkanti, OTD, OTR

Personal Statement

Why Pooja loves occupational therapy…

"I get to work with patients that have sustained catastrophic brain injuries and help them bridge the seemingly impossible gap between “I can’t” and “I can.” Therapy can be very physically and emotionally challenging, but I love making treatments as fun and unique as possible. I feel so honored to be a part of their rehabilitation journey and build meaningful relationships with both the patient and their family."

Pooja Surkanti, OTD, OTR photo

Class of 2021 Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Inpatient Rehab Shepherd Center

Favorite Occupation Hot yoga!


Albert Daley II, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Albert loves occupational therapy…

"I love occupational therapy because it helps a stressful hospital admission become a little easier through the use of ADLs and a smile. A task as simple as toothbrushing can be a major first step towards regaining independence."

Albert Daley II, OTR/L photo

Class of 2017 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Acute Care UF Health Shands (General Medicine, IMC)

Favorite Occupation Running & Pickleball


Wendy Alexander, OT/L

Personal Statement

Why Wendy loves occupational therapy…

"I love OT because we address the whole person, mind and body, and focus on “function/occupation/ ADL’s”, the things that really matter to the patient. It is so rewarding to help a patient take a real shower for the first time in months, adapt a piece of equip so they can feed themselves, or teach a new transfer, dressing, or toileting technique to enable them to go home. I love being a “cheerleader”, a “listening ear”, a “teacher”, a “problem solver” and an “advocate” for patients and families. Occupational Therapy is a rewarding profession that I still enjoy after 35 years of working in rehab, and I can’t imagine doing anything else."

Wendy Alexander, OT/L photo

Class of 1986 Bachelor of Science in OT

Inpatient Rehab UF Health Rehab Hospital

Favorite Occupation Traveling/enjoying nature/family time/daily dog walks


Lucy Shenk, MOT, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Lucy loves occupational therapy…

“I love occupational therapy because of the opportunity we have to spark hope in our patients lives. Many times we have the privilege of empowering them to complete tasks with more independence than they believed possible.”

Lucy Shenk, MOT, OTR/L photo

Class of 2006 Master of Occupational Therapy

Adult Acute Care UF Health Shands Hospital

Favorite Occupation Tackling DIY projects around the house


Elaine Keane, OTD, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Elaine loves occupational therapy…

"I love OT because I love to see the happiness on people’s faces when they can do something they enjoy doing even when they didn’t think they would be able to do it."

Elaine Keane, OTD, OTR/L photo

Class of 1985 Bachelor of Science in OT

Non-profit providing free OT services to clients in Ecuador Centro de Rehabilitación, Educación, Capacitación, Estudios y Recursos (CRECER)

Favorite Occupation Taking photographs of all the amazing places that I see on my travels.


Elise Caton, MOT, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Elise loves occupational therapy…

“I love occupational therapy because I get to experience and share in the joy of someone discovering who they are as they create a life of meaning and purpose.”

Elise Caton, MOT, OTR/L photo

Class of 2003 Masters in Occupational Therapy

Private Practice – Pediatrics Lamp Post Therapy Center

Favorite Occupation Momming and mentoring OTs in Sensory Integration.


Loni Carter, MOT, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Loni loves occupational therapy…

“I love Occupational Therapy because I get to help my students access their school environments in order to be more successful academically, socially, and through school-based self-care skills from pre-k all the way to transitioning to adulthood. I love celebrating the big and small wins with my students, teachers, support staff, and parents. As a School-Based Occupational Therapist, I take an interdisciplinary approach, collaborating with other team members so that our students can have the best chance at success in school and life.”

Loni Carter, MOT, OTR/L photo

Class of 2005 Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration

Class of 2012 Masters of Occupational Therapy

School-Based Occupational Therapist School Board of Alachua County

Favorite Occupation Watching my son play baseball and running/working out


OT Month 2021

Zach Pindar, OTR/L

Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) 2016 & Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT) 2017

Zach Pindar, OTR/L photo

Jerelyne Idica, MOT, OTR/L, CHES, CAPS

Bachelor of Science in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology 2012, Master of Science in Health Education and Behavior 2014, & Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT) 2016

Jerelyne Idica, MOT, OTR/L, CHES, CAPS

Laura Tuck, OTR/L, MOT

Personal Statement

Why Laura loves occupational therapy…

“My favorite part of my job is meeting new people and finding out how I can help someone achieve what they feel is not achievable again. It’s so rewarding to help my patient gain control and independence to see the light in an otherwise very difficult situation when they are hospitalized.”

Laura Tuck OTR/L, MOT photo

Class of 2012 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Acute Care UF Health Jacksonville

Favorite Occupation Traveling the world & exploring new places!


Zach Pindar, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Zach loves occupational therapy…

“As an occupational therapist, I'm blessed with daily opportunities to co-pioneer pathways toward optimal quality of life, in body-mind-spirit, with clients from the cradle, to the classroom, and toward college years. Providing a bit of fertilizer to the soil of blossoming babies, children, and teens? What a gift for all involved!”

Zach Pindar, OTR/L photo

Class of 2016 Bachelor of Health Science (BHS)

Class of 2017 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Pediatric Hospital-Based Outpatient Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Pediatric Outpatient Rehab

Favorite Occupation Sharing time with loved ones ❤️


Emily (Emmy) Minteer, MOT, OTR/L, CBIS

Personal Statement

Why Emmy loves occupational therapy…

“I love occupational therapy because it helps people get back to being themselves. In rehab, I’m lucky enough to be the one to help teach my patients and their families how to get back to their lives safely after stroke, injury, fall, illness, etc. Whether it’s self-care (bathing, dressing, toileting) or IADL fun (cooking, chasing after grandkids), my goal is for everyone I work with to leave feeling empowered and more independent so they can get back to whatever is meaningful to them. It’s the most rewarding job in the world!”

Emily (Emmy) Minteer, MOT, OTR/L, CBIS photo

Class of 2018 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Inpatient Rehab UF Health Rehab Hospital

Favorite Occupation Playing with my dog!


Eugenia Rodriguez, MOT, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Eugenia loves occupational therapy…

“I love occupational therapy because it is practical yet creative, holistic and fun. In the field of OT, we study the art of living. We look for ways to restore or compensate for problems that may be interfering with our life. We address the physical body, mind, emotional and spiritual being to promote healing and participation in meaningful life roles. OT helps us to find a sense of purpose that empowers us and brings us joy.”

Eugenia Rodriguez, MOT, OTR/L photo

Class of 2008 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Outpatient Neurology Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Favorite Occupation Being an OT, biking, swimming, running, paddling, playing outside


Amanda Bookman, MOTR/L, CLT

Personal Statement

Why Amanda loves occupational therapy…

“I love that traditional, clinical occupational therapy teaches and trains individuals to improve functional independence levels in various areas of self-care, including chronic disease management, which in turn improves health outcomes, quality of life, and hospital readmission rates. I enjoy nontraditional, nonclinical work as a licensed occupational therapist working in UR because I still get to use my OT brain and medical terminology knowledge in a unique way reviewing clinicals from the hospital to make determinations about post-acute care skilled therapy and nursing services for our health plan members.”

Amanda Bookman, MOTR/L, CLT

Class of 2013 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Utilization Review (UR) naviHealth (partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan)

Favorite Occupation Latin social dancing: Salsa and Bachata


Christina Beagle, OTR/L, MHA

Personal Statement

Why Christina loves occupational therapy…

“I love Occupational Therapy because it allows me to help others achieve those things that are most important to them. At the age of 10, I thought I wanted to help others learn to walk again. It was at UF that I realized there was this amazing profession that allowed me to bring creativity, problem-solving, and passion to helping others achieve much more than being able to walk- I could give them back autonomy and freedom while also improving their life. One of the most memorable events I experienced was a patient who began crying after using adaptive equipment to put on her socks and shoes after hip surgery. She explained that for several years, she had been waking her family early in the morning to help her put on her socks and shoes so she could go to work. She was so happy that she could now do this on her own!”

Christina Beagle, OTR/L, MHA photo

Class of 2001 Bachelor of Science in OT

Acute Care HCA/West Florida Hospital

Favorite Occupation Caring for my chickens


Jessica Seitz, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Jessica loves occupational therapy…

"I love occupational therapy because I find so much joy in watching others thrive! I love getting to help people step outside of their comfort zones to accomplish something new, familiar, or hard. OT creatively helps people recognize the power they have to maximize their potential. When someone recognizes this kind of power, they can easily change the world."

Jessica Seitz, OTR/L photo

Class of 2014 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Volunteer with Refugees Currently I live in Central Asia meeting any and every OT need I can- from working with moms trying to find value in parenting in a new challenging culture, finding creative ways for stress management, or helping kiddos reach developmental milestones (and even infant feeding- eek!)

Acute Care (previously) UF Health

Favorite Occupation Running along the seaside as the sun rises


Soya Davis, MS, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Soya loves occupational therapy…

"I love being an Occupational Therapist because I get to work with my students and their parents on truly meaningful occupations. It’s exciting to be so creative and provide the just right challenge for my kids to grow during each session!"

Soya Davis, MS, OTR/L photo

Class of 2015 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Pediatric Teletherapy (multiple settings) Self Employed Subcontractor

Favorite Occupation Reading (and traveling after COVID)


Zari Cooper, MOT, OTR/L, CLT

Personal Statement

Why Zari loves occupational therapy…

“I love occupational therapy because it enables people to be able to participate in their environment as independently as possible and improve their quality of life.”

Zari Cooper, MOT, OTR/L, CLT photo

Class of 2017 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Skilled Nursing Facility Therapy Management Corporation

Favorite Occupation Working out


Rose Fletcher Hayes, MOTR/L, NTMTC

Personal Statement

Why Rose loves occupational therapy…

“I love occupational therapy because it enables people to be able to participate in their environment as independently as possible and improve their quality of life.”

Rose Fletcher Hayes, MOTR/L, NTMTC photo

Class of 2016 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Pediatrics, NICU UF Health Shands Acute Care

Favorite Occupation My relationship with Jesus and my family


Supriya Dass, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Supriya loves occupational therapy…

“I learned about occupational therapy my freshman year of college at UF. Thinking back on my own experience post-burn injury; I realized how much I could have benefited from an OT teaching me how to confidently and successfully manage my self-care and engage in activities meaningful to me while reducing the burden of care on my family. I decided I wanted to be an OT that day! I love it because it allows me an opportunity to love and serve my patients while helping them eliminate barriers that prevent them from participating in activities meaningful to them. We work together to build a bridge towards achieving their goals promoting their return to living their BEST LIFE!”

Supriya Dass, OTR/L photo

Class of 2011 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Acute Care Maxim Healthcare (Travel Company)

Inpatient Rehab Hospital (PRN) Encompass Health

Favorite Occupation I love traveling to new places and experiencing different cultures, being outside in nature, being in communion with God, and spending time with family and friends!


Jennifer Unger, MOTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Jennifer loves occupational therapy…

“I love occupational therapy because it focused on who we are and what we do. When we select activities of daily living and routines that are important to a client, it is easy to show them the benefits. I love that I can teach people about my profession every day and support their progression to what they love to do. Occupational therapy puts function first, which is important to help others achieve their goals. I am thankful every day that I get to play at work!”

Jennifer Unger, MOTR/L photo

Class of 2005 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Connections Therapy in Idaho Falls, Idaho

Favorite Occupation Skiing, hiking, and biking


Rachel Hessen, MOT, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Rachel loves occupational therapy…

“I love OT because it allows me to interact with people on a very personal level: by finding out what they’re passionate about and using it to help them achieve their goals. It helps me build connections with people on a level that I would not be able to do if I had not chosen to become an OT.”

Rachel Hessen, MOT, OTR/L photo

Class of 2015 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Inpatient Rehab Lynn Rehabilitation Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, FL

Favorite Occupation Eating at a new restaurant


Allison DuBrow, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Allison loves occupational therapy…

“Being an OT has been such a blessing in my life. My career as an OT has allowed me to use my knowledge and skills to help others live to their fullest potential, while also allowing me to balance raising and enjoying my family.”

Allison DuBrow, OTR/L photo

Class of 1999 Bachelor of Science in OT

Flagler Hospital St. Augustine, FL

Favorite Occupation Family time


Jerelyne Idica, MOT, OTR/L, CHES, CAPS

Personal Statement

Why Jerelyne loves occupational therapy…

“I love being an OT because we see every individual through a special lens. With these lens, we have the unique ability to connect, educate, and empower – no matter what challenges arise! We are the eternal optimists!”

Jerelyne Idica, MOT, OTR/L, CHES, CAPS

Class of 2012 Bachelor of Science in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology

Class of 2014 Master of Science in Health Education and Behavior

Class of 2016 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Inpatient Rehab Brooks Rehabilitation

Favorite Occupation Going to the market and roasting vegetables!


Robbie Armstrong, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Robbie loves occupational therapy…

"As a travel OT who has worked in different places and different settings all across the country, I love seeing all the different ways Occupational Therapy can positively impact people all across the spectrum of life. On my current assignment, I've realized the value of Occupational Therapy in those most severely affected by the pandemic and how it uniquely addresses the challenges they face."

Robbie Armstrong, OTR/L photo

Class of 2016 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Covid ICU/Acute Care University of Maryland Medical System

Favorite Occupation Camping and hiking


Claire Vanlandingham, OTR/L, MOT, CBIS

Personal Statement

Why Claire loves occupational therapy…

“I love occupational therapy because it allows us to help others regain the skills needed to transition home and back to the community. I meet adults from all walks of life who have been through a substantial and sudden change and have the opportunity to help someone relearn the skills necessary to go home and live their life successfully.”

Claire Vanlandingham, OTR/L, MOT, CBIS photo

Class of 2010 Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Adult Inpatient Rehab West Florida Rehabilitation Institute

Favorite Occupation Spending time on the beach with my two sweet children