Alumni Spotlight for National Occupational Therapy Month 2024

OT Month 2024

Taylor Rapaport, MOT, OTRL/L, CSRS

Personal Statement

Why Taylor loves occupational therapy…

"I love occupational therapy because our work seeks to add life to years, in addition to years to life. As occupational therapists, we are able to utilize advanced clinical knowledge, creativity, advocacy, and empathy to ensure every client is living healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives."

Taylor Rapaport, MOT, OTRL/L, CSRS photo

Class of 2017 Masters of Occupational Therapy

Pharma-ceutical Industry: Medical Affairs Syneos Health

Favorite Occupation Reading, baking, and gymnastics

Holly Knight, OTR/L, CNT

Personal Statement

Why Holly loves occupational therapy…

"I love occupational therapy because OT’s can reach so many patients over different settings that need our help to lead better lives. I am so privileged to be able to help premature infants and their families get a great start to life."

Holly Knight, OTR/L, CNT photo

Class of 1995 Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy

Acute Care/NICU UF Health Jacksonville

Favorite Occupation I love reading, working out, and going out on our boat.

Rebecca L Fuller OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Rebecca loves occupational therapy…

"The diversity of occupational therapy alongside the holistic approach is what I love about this profession. There is so much opportunity to change people’s lives for the better, and I love being a part of that!"

Rebecca L Fuller, OTR/L photo

Class of 2001 Bachelor of Health Science in Occupational Therapy

Acute Care Moffitt Cancer Center

Favorite Occupation Educating our future OTs!

Hoang Tran, OT/L, CHT

Personal Statement

Why Hoang loves occupational therapy…

"Anything and everything is possible – but first you have to believe. Second you have to take action. Go Gators!!"

Hoang Tran, OT/L, CHT photo

Class of 1998 Bachelor in Psychology

Class of 2000 Masters of Occupational Therapy

Outpatient Therapy Clinic Hands-on Therapy Services

Mentorship/ Courses/ Programs Hand Therapy Secrets

Favorite Occupation My favorite occupation is helping people know there is hope and there is help available no matter where they are on their journey – it can be healing due to injury or feeling stuck in their careers and needing some guidance to know what to do next. As OT’s, we spend a lot of time and effort to become OT’s and the work in making our career fulfilling, making money, and having longevity in our career comes from the work and effort you put in AFTER your degree.

Jeremy Rosenstein, MOT, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Jeremy loves occupational therapy…

"I love occupational therapy because I love getting to build relationships with patients and their families. Being able to work on different skills through play-based activities makes work so enjoyable. I love getting to help kids foster life skills, from crib to college, that allow them to be successful in various aspects of their lives. There is no greater feeling or reward than seeing a patient, and their families, work so hard and reach a goal that will increase their overall independence."

Jeremy Rosenstein, MOT, OTR/L photo

Class of 2019 Masters of Occupational Therapy

Pediatric Outpatient Rehab AdventHealth – Sports Medicine & Rehab

Favorite Occupation Watching Marvel movies/tv shows and grilling.

Samone Cowart, OTD, OTR/L, CSRP

Personal Statement

Why Samone loves occupational therapy…

"I am deeply passionate about occupational therapy because it uniquely enhances various facets of life through the lens of everyday activities. This profession allows me to contribute meaningfully to the community by facilitating improvement in the most personal aspects of our lives. As an acute care occupational therapist, I am particularly drawn to the diversity of diagnoses I encounter, presenting endless opportunities for learning and professional growth. The vast range of conditions I work with daily not only challenges me but also enriches my practice, making every day a chance to develop further both personally and professionally."

Samone Cowart, OTD, OTR/L, CSRP photo

Class of 2022 Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Acute Care UF Health Heart and Vascular and Neuromedicine Hospital

Favorite Occupation Enjoying birdwatching alongside my cat, Bianca.

Teresa F. Howell, MHS, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Teresa loves occupational therapy…

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my career as an Occupational Therapist over the past 35 years whether working with Veterans and their caregivers at the VA or with special needs students and their teachers in the school system! Using my skills as an OT to maximize a person's functional cognitive and physical abilities to bring meaning and purpose to their everyday lives has brought such personal and professional joy to my life. I have also enjoyed working with so many incredible OT colleagues, students and researchers who enrich their clients’ lives and provide the evidence-based research to grow OT professionally."

Teresa F. Howell, MHS, OTR/L photo

Class of 1989 Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy

Class of 1993 Master of Health Science

Specializing in Geriatric Veterans Malcom Randall VA Medical Center

Favorite Occupation Spending time with my family and friends at Gators Sports events!

Patty Garrison (Helsel), OT/L

Personal Statement

Why Patty loves occupational therapy…

"My journey into occupational therapy began unexpectedly during my senior year in high school when I sustained a knee injury. While undergoing treatment at a therapy clinic, I was introduced to the transformative potential of Occupational Therapy. With an Occupational Therapy career spanning over three decades, I still love every day that I get to make a positive impact in the lives of children facing developmental, neurological and orthopedic challenges. Seeing a child able to use their arm and hand again after being paralyzed is amazing and so rewarding. I would rather be an OT than any other profession in the world!"

Patty Garrison (Helsel), OT/L photo

Class of 1986 Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy

Pediatric Rehab UF Health Rehab Center for Kids at Magnolia Parke and the Autism Center

Favorite Occupation Playing with my grandchildren!

Nicole Avena, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Nicole loves occupational therapy…

"I love occupational therapy because I have the opportunity to impact the daily lives of so many individuals and families. This profession has allowed me to help individuals achieve functional goals that are meaningful to them. Being an OT for 5 years has been incredible and I feel so thankful that I get to provide specialized care to various populations in pediatrics, such as burns and orthopedics. And as always, Go Gators!"

Nicole Avena, OTR/L photo

Class of 2018 Masters of Occupational Therapy

Outpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children

Favorite Occupation Traveling, playing soccer, spending time with family and my dog.

Rosie Quigley, MHS, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Rosie loves occupational therapy…

"My first introduction to occupational therapy was during my freshman year at UF when my brother (who was a PT student at the time) insisted I go into the field of OT. Quickly glancing at the rigorous pre-requisites required, I rejected that notion. Fast forward one year, I was in a major car accident that allowed me to experience all the areas of OT from acute care through outpatient services and everything in between. It was the occupational therapist at the inpatient rehab hospital who made a huge impact on me. Despite my halo, TLSO, bilateral UE casts, and newly shaved head, he helped me gain some sort of normalcy and independence by creatively adapting so many things within my hospital room so that I could engage in occupations that were vital for 20-year old me such as washing my face, and picking up the telephone. That is when my love for occupational therapy first began…"

Rosie Quigley, MHS, OTR/L photo

Class of 2002 Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy

Class of 2003 Advanced Master of Health Science

Faculty and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator South College Asheville, OTA Department

Favorite Occupation Listening to 90’s hip hop/R&B in the car and impressing/mortifying my tween daughters with my dance moves.

Ruthie Dell, MHS, OTR, CHT

Personal Statement

Why Ruthie loves occupational therapy…

"I love OT because as caregivers we not only want our patients to have successful outcomes of their medical treatments but in the process we help pave the way for success filled lives for them!"

Ruthie Dell, MHS, OTR, CHT photo

Class of 1979 Bachelor of Health Science in Occupational Therapy

Class of 1983 Masters of Health Science in Occupational Therapy

Retired in 2019 40 years of practice in a variety of outpatient settings, all in the specialty of hand and upper extremity care. From 1987 until retirement I worked in the Hand and Upper Extremity Rehab Clinic at OSMI

Favorite Occupation In retirement being the Forewoman of Handell Farm!

Jonathan Rafael Colon, OTR/L

Personal Statement

Why Jonathan loves occupational therapy…

"I naturally love helping people and getting paid to do so has been a blessing. I chose OT because it gives me the freedom to be creative in how I help someone find a fun way to rehabilitate from an injury or a clever way to deal with a chronic condition. I also love teaching and theater so this profession lets me do a little bit of both while helping my patients."

Jonathan Rafael Colon, OTR/L photo

Class of 1995 Bachelor of Science

Student MBA program at LSUS

Favorite Occupation Doing videos for my YouTube channel.