By Grad II Sarah Plummer
This year a record number of VCU OT students attended the American Occupational Therapy Association’s 2017 Annual Conference in Philadelphia to celebrate the profession’s centennial birthday. Using money from donations, the Student Occupational Therapy Association was able to run a raffle which paid for 3 students’ conference fees, and numerous other students and faculty attended as well.
The conference included the poster sessions, short courses, scientific research panels, a huge Expo, the Eleanor Clarke Slagle lecture, and numerous other speeches, addresses, and meetings. In honor of the Centennial, there was also a special Centennial bash with a band and dancing, a Knowledge Bowl, and an opening ceremony describing OT’s rich history. VCU students and faculty proudly represented the department’s tradition of excellence with a variety of posters, booths at the Tech Day “Appy Hour,” research presentations, a team competing in the Knowledge Bowl, faculty inductions for Stacey and Tony into the Roster of Fellows, and a lively dance circle at the Centennial Bash.
To capture the wide variety of experiences, I collected the following quotes from VCU students who attended the conference:
“The conference was such an amazing experience! It was very exhilarating and empowering to be in attendance alongside over 13,000 other OT professionals, students, associates, and supporters. The opening ceremony presented a wonderful video re-telling the history of occupational therapy followed by therapists from both the United States and abroad celebrating the value of occupational therapy through anecdotes from their experiences in practice. It was also amazing to actually attend an Eleanor Clarke Slagle lecture – the role of technology is a relevant concept both within occupational therapy and healthcare and society as a whole. It was inspiring to listen Dr. Smith’s journey in the field and vision for the future. Lastly, I attended a variety of research panels and short sessions. My favorite session focused on neuroscience underpinnings and incorporating these concepts to guide and enhance intervention in all settings. Since I have both a background and fascination in neuroscience, it was an interesting session to attend and refreshing to know that therapists are considering the biology of the brain throughout our field.”
Next year’s conference is in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hope to see you all there!