Occupational Therapy

Skip Sub Menu

Meet Kevin Ockenfels.

Kevin is a third-year student in Drake's Occupational Therpay Doctorate (OTD) program and will graduate in 2023! In his last year of the OTD program, Kevin has had the opportunity to complete a doctoral capstone experience at the Open Doors Organization based in Rosemont, Illinois.

Name: Kevin Ockenfels
Hometown: Center Point, Iowa
Capstone Organization: Open Doors Organization
Location: Rosemont, Illinois
Tell us about your capstone experience at Open Doors Organization. What were your responsibilities and what did a typical day/week look like?

For my Doctoral Capstone, I was at a nonprofit called Open Doors Organization (ODO) based in Rosemont, Illinois. My responsibilities with Open Doors were really anything they threw my way. One of my main responsibilities was working with WestJet Airlines and connecting with Canadian disability advocacy groups. I was in charge of connecting with and scheduling focus groups with individuals from these advocacy groups to hear about where in the guest experience things were going well and where improvements could be made to meet their specific needs. The typical week consisted of going to the office Monday-Thursday and working from home on Fridays and completing whatever task they had for me for the day/week, whether that was researching Canadian advocacy groups, scheduling and running focus groups, creating flyers, contacting local organizations, developing a PowerPoint about adaptive equipment, or participating in meetings.

What is your favorite thing about the Doctoral Capstone?

My favorite thing about my Doctoral Capstone experience has been getting the chance to travel! I had the chance to travel to Seattle, Washington to participate in meetings with Alaska Airlines, tour their headquarters, and participate in mobility device stowage training which gave me the chance to be on the tarmac of the airport and right under an airplane! I also had the chance to travel to Wilmington, Delaware to do ADA training with 90 new hires of Amtrak. I taught about person first language, customer service for individuals with disabilities, and dos and don’ts on interacting with these guests with disabilities.

What attracted you to Drake's OTD program?

The thing that attracted me the most to Drake’s OTD program was their community engagement. They offered many opportunities to interact with the surrounding Des Moines community and brought in members from many organizations for guest lectures and labs. Unfortunately, due to Covid, we were limited with some of our community engagement as previous cohorts, but we were still able to have many great opportunities to interact with the community both virtually and in person.  

How has Drake helped you prepare for your future career as an occupational therapy professional?

Drake has truly helped me prepare for my future career by providing me with the confidence and skills needed to be successful. They have offered me many great opportunities to grow and develop my experience as a future practitioner.

What are your career goals? Have they changed at all since you started Drake's OTD program?

My career goals are in the realm of acute care/inpatient neurorehab. I enjoy the uniqueness of neuro related conditions and having to consistently be on your toes. I came into the program with an open mind and willingness to try new things. Since the starting Drake’s OTD program, I have been able to narrow down my interest areas and establish what I want for career goals.

What is one piece of advice you would give to future occupational therapy students?

Come in with an open mind and willingness to try new things and experiences and the flexibility to enjoy it all. Don’t limit yourself to being pediatrics, hands, neuro, or other subject matter. Allow yourself to take in all the content and be able to apply the knowledge you learn from one area into another and be flexible with the changing world around you! Your experience is what you make of it so make it good!

Return to the OTD Capstone Spotlight home page here.