Interview with QMU graduate, Alexis Stein, MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration)
Alexis Stein is from California in the USA. She graduated with an MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) from QMU in 2016.
Before studying at QMU, Alexis graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies in 2011. When she completed this programme, she was offered a job at a leading advertising agency in California where she worked as an Assistant Account Executive until 2012.
While her job at the agency was interesting and relevant to her studies, Alexis was extremely unfulfilled and often felt she had chosen the wrong career. Alexis eventually decided to leave the agency and travel around Europe for six months.
When she returned to California, she applied for a job as a Behavioural Interventionist working with children who were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In this role, Alexis provided in-home and in-clinic interventions which focused on motor, personal independence and behaviour target goals. She worked as a Behavioural Interventionist for two years and it was in this position that she was introduced to occupational therapy.
Why did you choose to study occupational therapy?
“My work as a Behavioural Interventionist helped me to understand the importance of daily life activities for healthy and integrated development. I knew I always wanted to pursue a career which helped people regain skills and purpose in their life, whilst enriching their psychological, emotional and physical wellbeing.
“Through my work as a Behavioural Interventionist, I saw that occupational therapists were doing just that. Becoming an occupational therapist was therefore a natural progression for me and I began applying to postgraduate programmes.”
Why did you choose to study at QMU?
“In 2014 I learned that the UK was ranked as having the best health care system in the developed world and that QMU offers an accelerated two-year master’s degree in occupational therapy.
“The occupational therapy programme at QMU has a particular emphasis on problem-based, cumulative and collective learning, which I was interested in. I also felt that collaborating with fellow classmates to share international experience and knowledge was a mode of education that would suit my personality and capabilities.
“My hope from the course was to progress in a field I had already begun to pursue. I was eager to expand my horizons and enhance my knowledge in how to work best with people in need.”
What was the highlight of the course?
“I was awarded the Saltire Scholarship, which I used in the first year of my studies to help pay my tuition. The cost of moving to study overseas was expensive and the scholarship very much cemented my decision to come to the UK and study in Scotland.
“I think more than anything, my experience at QMU taught me to think differently. It taught me to reason, critique and challenge assumptions - this is a mode of thinking that is very important in my line of work. I still feel I have so much more to learn, but I think this comes with hands on experience.”
What are your top tips for future students?
“Be aware that whatever postgraduate programme you choose will be challenging, so you need to be passionate about your subject area. This is important because when the times are tough, it will give you resolve to move forward.
“I also think it’s important to remain organised, and if possible to work ahead of deadlines. I would also say don’t be afraid to ask questions, put yourself out there and have a voice!”
Life after graduation
“I was recently offered a graduate job in pediatrics. I’m looking forward to starting my new role as Paediatric Occupational Therapist in January 2017.”
MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration)
For more information on Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships.
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