At the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference that was built around the theme, “Find Your Voice,” the Brenau University Occupational Therapy program certainly made its “voice” known.
Brenau’s highly visible presence at the conference, which was was held at Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, Ga., Sept. 21-22, 2012, began with Brenau OT Professor Mary Shotwell, who as opresident-elect of the state professional organization presided over its annual business meeting. But Brenau faculty, alumni and current students participated in the program at every level, including a presentation by alumna Jesse Ausec, MS, OTR/L, who with current Brenau OT students Anna Leard, Kelly Cosner and Joe Pickavance developed the theme for the annual meeting. That same group later in the program, with participation of Dr. Susan Stallings-Sahler, associate professor, presented a professional paper during a course in health education and promotion
Shotwell also presented an award to a Ausec, who is a May 2012 graduate of Brenau’sinaugural weekend program at the North Atlanta/Norcross campus. , Ausec and
Another Brenau Student, Marco Coelho, (Norcross Class of 2013) received that GOTA Outstanding Student Award for his spearheading a newly formed Norcross chapter of the Brenau Occupational Therapy Student Association (BOTSA) and for his work in mentoring other students in the area of community-based mental health. Coelho’s nomination read: “Marco demonstrates the utmost level of professionalism, thirst for knowledge, and the ability to work effectively in teams.”
Adjunct Professor Debi Hinerfeld received the Barbara E. Grant Award from GOTA for her outstanding leadership and service to the organization.Brenau students also stood out because they presented 12 of the 14 research posters at the meeting.
Other Brenau Faculty who were involved in the conference included Associate Dean Barbara Schell, the OT program director, and professors Rosalie Miller, Wendy Holmes and M. Irma Alvarado. Dr. Alvarado and Ms. Hinerfeld presented a talk entitled “Use it or Lose it,” which was about sensory integration intervention and documentation. Adjunct Professor Kim Steils served as co-chair of the annual conference committee and Adjunct Professor Erin Brennen served as the membership chair.
Alumni conference participants included Jenene Kamber-Wiskind, who presented an outstanding session on “Visual Issues and Interventions in Occupational Therapy” and Nicole Walker, who participated in several sessions related to her role as the chairperson of legislation and reimbursement issues for GOTA.
“By showcasing expertise in ‘Practice, Inquiry and Advocacy’,” Schell said, Brenau truly demonstrated the goals of its curriculum ” throughout the meeting and through the rolesplayed by Brenau students, faculty and alumni.”