Occupational Therapy

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Meet Sydney Rants.

Sydney is a third-year student in Drake's Occupational Therpay Doctorate (OTD) program and will graduate in 2024! In her last year of the OTD program, Sydney has had the opportunity to complete a doctoral capstone experience at the Hive Day Program at Bee You Therapy, LLC in Mokena, Illinois.

Name: Sydney Rants
Hometown: Grimes, Iowa
Degree Program: OTD, May 2024
Capstone Organization: Hive Day Program at Bee You Therapy, LLC
Location: Mokena, Illinois


Tell us about your Doctoral Capstone. What were your responsibilities and what did a typical day/week look like?

I am completing my doctoral capstone experience with The Hive Day Program, a community-based functional day program for adolescents and young adults with disabilities. I have been collaborating with my clinical educator, Dr. Lauren Pammer DrOT MOT OTR/L, to develop a life skills curriculum for their program that can be used to teach cooking, money management, laundry, home chores, community mobility, and vocational skills. The curriculum binder includes an overview of life skills and their importance, skills addressed while engaging in the different domains, and at least 5 graded activities for each life skill. I am also working to create visual materials like visual recipes and visual checklists for the Bee Independent Box, a bi-monthly subscription box to teach life skills at home.

A typical day for me begins with prepping for the day with the other occupational therapists to ensure we have all our activities ready. Next, I assist with the functional day program from 9am-3pm. The Hive Day Program’s daily schedule includes morning meeting, morning ADLs, AM jobs, functional task, lunch, functional task, PM jobs, and daily communication email. I have had the opportunity to attend community outings with the participants to local restaurants, grocery stores, and even PetSmart to adopt our very own fish! At end the day, I have time to work on my doctoral capstone projects including developing my life skills curriculum, writing an article describing the importance of occupational therapists leading community-based programs, and creating visual materials for the Bee Independent Box.

What is your favorite thing about the Doctoral Capstone?

My favorite thing about my doctoral capstone experience is making connections with the participants and assisting them to build the skills and confidence they need to be more independent in their daily life. I have been able to combine my passions of advocacy and inclusion of individuals with disabilities and occupational engagement into one experience. My doctoral capstone experience has been very rewarding and meaningful.

What attracted you to Drake's OTD program?

I was most interested in Drake’s commitment to experiential education and community engagement. I was excited about the opportunity to have fieldwork experiences early on in the program and in a variety of settings with different populations. I was also excited about partnering with numerous organizations in the community like The Boys and Girls Club.

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

Drake’s curriculum has provided me with the foundational knowledge and skills to be successful in any setting as an entry-level occupational therapist. My variety of fieldwork experiences, from skilled nursing to pediatrics to inpatient rehabilitation to home health, in four different states provided me the chance to learn from other occupational therapists and expand my clinical reasoning skills.

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

My career goals have remained fairly the same since starting Drake’s OTD Program. I have always had a passion for pediatrics and working with individuals who have disabilities. Upon graduation, I have plans to be a pediatric occupational therapist in an outpatient setting. However, I am grateful for my fieldwork experiences at Drake University as I had the opportunity to experience a variety of settings with different client populations. I discovered a new passion for inpatient rehabilitation and would love to explore pediatric inpatient rehabilitation in the future. 

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

One piece of advice I would give is you get out what you put in. If you want to make the most of your time at Drake, be open-minded, get involved, and be willing to put in the hard work and time. It will pay off in the future, not only for yourself, but for your future clients! 

Return to the OTD Capstone Spotlight home page here.

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