By Kate Hunger
Heading to Alaska for her clinical fieldwork experience was part of Jennifer Sanchez’s plan when she enrolled in the occupational therapy doctoral program in the School of Health Professions.
This summer, Sanchez’s long-awaited trip became a reality as she headed to Anchorage for 12 weeks of fieldwork in an outpatient pediatric clinic.
“Seeing how much potential they have to thrive and being able to give them the tools they need—that is really meaningful,” said Sanchez, who is president of the OTD Class of 2022 and the state student representative for the Texas Occupational Therapy Association.
In addition to discovering an interest in pediatrics, Sanchez filled her days off with orca watching excursions, trips to Denali National Park, Fairbanks, hiking and biking—and lots of hours of daylight.
“I can definitely see myself coming back to Alaska and working up here,” said Sanchez, who has been offered a job in Anchorage. “The Alaskan hospitality is out of this world.”
Key to realizing her Alaskan dream was the assistance of clinical Associate Professor Autumn Clegg, EdD, OTR, who coordinates the program’s clinical fieldwork activities and doctoral capstone experience.
“As there are many variables that go into getting students placed for their fieldworks, it is always exciting when it works out for a unique opportunity such as Alaska,” Dr. Clegg said.
The fieldwork experience has been the most impactful experience of her OTD program, Sanchez said.
“Going out of state allowed me to grow personally and professionally and embrace everything about this experience,” she said.
Learn more about the occupational therapy doctoral program.