Apr 28

O.T. Student Wins NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

Jacalyn Hikes

Jacalyn Hikes

Senior O.T. student, Jacalyn Hikes, received the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship! The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship is awarded to students who excel in athletics and academics. Ms. Hikes has been a member of the College’s field hockey team, and she is named to the College’s Dean’s list for her academic achievements.  She recently completed an Honors in the Discipline project within the O.T. department.

Ms. Hikes is pursing O.T. because of her passion to help others.  She says “Elizabethtown College’s occupational therapy program has provided me with an outstanding education that has prepared me for the experiences to come.  At this point, I am grateful for what Elizabethtown College’s Occupational Therapy program has provided me, and I look forward to seeing where it will take me in the future.”  Ms. Hikes is interested in adult physical rehabilitation but is also interested in exploring more about pediatrics, and is keeping her options open as she learns more about the profession.

Ms. Hikes is a graduate of Nazareth Area High school in PA.  She will begin her first level II fieldwork this summer and will return to E-town in the fall for the graduate year of coursework.  Congratulations, Jacki!

Apr 20

Meet Miss MidState 2016 – a.k.a. Marla Peiffer, OT Graduate Student


Marla Peiffer, Miss MidState

Marla Peiffer, Miss MidState 2016

Last year we told you about a senior O.T. student who was named Miss York County for 2015.  Well, she’s done it again…but in another scholarship pageant.  Congratulations to current graduate student, Marla Peiffer, who was crowned Miss MidState in January 2016!

Marla represents the Mid-State region by participating in various service activities such as events at the Penn State Children’s Hospital at Hershey (part of the Children’s Miracle Network) and also reading with local elementary school students.  Marla continues to promote her advocacy platform, “Inclusion Revolution – Best Buddies Moving Forward” with the goal of promoting participation in social and leisure activities as well employment opportunities for adults with disabilities.

2016 Marla Peiffer Miss MidState best buddies platform


In June, Marla will compete in the Miss Pennsylvania Scholarship pageant, a precursor to the Miss America pageant. We wish her all the best in this endeavor and in her future career as an Occupational Therapist!

Apr 15

Presentations and more Presentations

April has been a busy month for E-town students and faculty.  We had multiple conference presentations, and we are hosting our annual O.T. Graduate Research Symposium on Monday April 18th.  We hope you will join us on Monday.

Earlier this month, Dan Panchik, DSC, OTR/L, attended and presented two posters at the Neuro-Developmental Therapy Association conference, April 1-3 in Memphis TN.

  • Clinical Perspectives on the Utility of the Electronic-Hand Assessment Tool II (E-HAT II). Contributing authors:  Kurt DeGoede, Ph.D.; Jennifer Bush, B.S., MOTS (’15); Taylor Falin, B.S., MOTS (’15) & Lindsay Hetherington, B.S., MOTS (’15).
  • Developing the Electronic-Movement Analysis Tool (E-MAT): Detecting Changes in Tremor. Contributing authors:  Kurt DeGoede, Ph.D.; Christina Hoban, B.S., MOTS (’15); Natalie  Hrynkiewicz, B.S., MOTS (’15) & Jillian Miller, B.S., MOTS (’15)
Ann Marie Potter and 3 recent graduates with poster presentation

Megan Tursi, Monica Loranger, Carly Stull, and Ann Marie Potter. AOTA 2016


The American Occupational Therapy Association’s annual conference, April 7-10, featured various E-town faculty, students, recent graduates and alumni.  We hope everyone had a great time in Chicago!

Mar 23

O.T. Honor Society Welcomes New Student Members

by Erin N. Kelly, BS, MOTS

Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), the OT Honor Society, welcomed 12 new members into the organization on March 13, 2016. These new members join the current 26 occupational therapy PTE students. Pi Theta Epsilon is a national honor society and recognizes the academic and service accomplishments of members.

PTE Induction 2016 inductees cropped

PTE’s newest members: Elisabeth Niehaus, Carly Ensor, Emily Reese, Kelly Kleindienst, Stephanie Bellott, Emma Johnson, Hannah Bowman,Lindsay Hockman, Alyssa Frankenfield, Victoria Pagano, Janelle Sovay, & Jennifer Newman.

This year’s Induction Ceremony featured guest speaker and alumnus Lisa Livingston, M.S., OTR/L, (’10). She spoke about engagement in occupational therapy from a practitioner’s perspective in order to motivate students to be their best self. In addition, the senior members were recognized for their involvement in PTE, while graduate student Robin Kreiser, BS, MOTSwas congratulated on her academic accomplishments because she is presenting her Honors in the Discipline research at the AOTA National Conference in Chicago next month.

2016 PTE members – Juniors, Seniors & Graduate students

The Upsilon Chapter of Elizabethtown College prides itself in being highly active; they volunteer and participate in multiple service events on campus and in the community, and they host and sponsor events featuring influential individuals.

Many thanks to our current PTE chapter officers and our faculty advisor:
President: Erin N. Kelly
Vice President: Jaime Deisher
Secretary: Jacalyn Hikes
Treasurer: Adelyn Enders
Club Council Representative: Rebecca Roth
Faculty advisor:  Ann Marie Potter, MA, OTR/L

Mar 01

Winging Our Way to the Windy City for the 2016 AOTA Conference

Chicago skyline with dates for AOTA conferenceAre you going to Chicago for the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference?  If so, be sure to check out these presentations by E-town faculty, students, and recent graduates.  Hope to see you there!

Thurs. April 7

Perceived Quality of Life After Stroke — Angela Salvadia, Ed.D., OTR/L; Jannessa Miller (MS, ’15); Jacqueline Nunn (MS, ’15); & Kala Swope (MS, ’15). Poster 1096: 9:30 AM-11:30 AM

A Comparison of Life Activities and Participation Across Three Cancer Types: Lung, Ovarian, and Metastatic Breast – Ann Marie Potter, MA, OTR/L; Monica Loranger (MS ’15); Carly Stull (MS, ’15); & Megan Tursi, (MS, ’15). Poster 1095: 9:30 AM-11:30 AM

Spirituality and Occupational Therapy: Practice Considerations, Interdisciplinary Collaboration, and a Conceptual Model- Tamera Keiter Humbert, D.Ed., OTR/L; Kathryn Karoly (MS, ’14); Christine Maley (MS, ’14); Nicole Pagana (MS, ’14); Kelly Van Clief (MS, ’14); Christa Velenger (MS, ’14); and Jeanne Wenos, P.E.D. Workshop 108: 12:30 PM-3:30 PM

Saturday, April 9

Nonpharmacological Interventions for Sundowning Behaviors: A MOHO Perspective – Robin Kreiser (MOTS); Tamera Keiter Humbert, D.Ed., OTR/L. Poster 7020: 12:15 PM-2:15 PM



Jan 06

Alumna wins New Jersey Educator of the Year Award

Congratulations to Patricia (Tisdale) Clark, OTR/L, ’88.  Ms. Clark was recently named as a Governor’s Educator of the Year for the Somerville School District in New Jersey, where she provides occupational therapy services to children in K – 5th grade at the Van Derveer Elementary School.

Patricia Clark with other award winners

Patricia (Tisdale) Clark, fourth from left, with other award winners and school principals from Van Derveer Elementary School.

The award recognizes excellence in teaching and in professional support services such as occupational therapy.  Requirements for this award include:  inspiring children of all abilities to learn, excellence in educational practices, and leadership in educational activities.  Ms. Clark was nominated by her colleagues or children’s parents for her work with students in grades 3-5.  In addition to providing special education services in classrooms, Ms. Clark leads a social skills group after school and provides various district-wide in-services for teachers in order to support successful learning.

Ms. Clark commented that OT is highly respected in her local school district in New Jersey and that she felt honored to be nominated.  She also credited Etown’s OT program for giving her the passion to go above and beyond her job responsibilities and promote/advocate for occupational therapy.  Way to go, Patti!

Jan 01

Making & Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

2016 graphic for Happy new Year

Happy New Year from the E-town Occupational Therapy Department!

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If so, you are not alone. People make all kinds of resolutions – to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, read more, be more patient, study harder, be more caring or generous to others…and the list goes on. But how often do people keep their resolutions? Are they too lofty, or are the expectations too high? Occupational therapists write RUMBA or SMART goals for our clients – they can be applied to writing New Year’s resolutions, too.

R – Relevant.                                                                    S – Specific

U – Understandable                                                          M – Measurable

M – Measurable                                                                 A – Attainable

B – Behavioral, e.g. observable actions.                           R – Realistic/Relevant

A – Achievable, e.g. reasonable                                       T – Timely

lined notebook paper with word "resolutions" on top and beginning of unwritten list belowRegardless of which acronym you use, both of them basically direct us to set priorities, determine what is feasible to do in our time and abilities, and be specific enough that we can measure or see progress. For example, will you make a broad goal to lose weight…or maybe be more specific, i.e. to lose 5 pounds…? Or maybe your goal is to exercise more. However, if you are not currently exercising, a goal of exercising every day may not be realistic to begin with – maybe that resolution could be to walk/run for 30 minutes three times per week. Is your goal to engage in more leisure activities or take up a new hobby?  Set a goal to do this new hobby or activity at least once by the end of January or mid-February. Achieving “smaller” but realistic goals may be rewarding and motivating so that you will keep at it – whatever your goal – and then you can modify the goal to achieve even more.

What is one of your New Year’s Resolutions?

Dec 15

The Power of a Simple Touch

This blog post is brought to you by Etown alumna, Arlynn Polsky Paris, MS, OTR/L, (’88).

I have been a therapist for almost 30 years.   But I am still learning….  I learn from books, journals, other therapists, teachers and patients/students…..  This is what happened to me earlier in December. It changed my heart.

Two kittens hugging

Steven (not his real name) is a teenager.  He has a developmental level which allows him to interact with his environment at the level of an infant.  His motor control is severely limited with very little head control, slight shoulder movement and contractures in his hands and legs. He typically keeps his arms extended by his sides.  He is fed via a PEG tube and is dependent on a wheelchair and someone to push him for mobility.   Steven is able to communicate via smiling and crying. He loves to listen to Jazz music and likes to be “rough housed.”  The music makes him calm and the rough housing makes him smile.  When he cries, it is heart breaking and frustrating because it is hard to figure out why he is sad/mad/uncomfortable.  So just like a content baby…. if he is happy people don’t “mess” with him.  I was scheduled to do an OT evaluation on this student in his classroom to determine if he was still eligible for therapy services in school and at what level.  Steven was “new” to me because he was evaluated previously by another therapist (I started this job a few months ago) and he did not have direct therapy services – consultation only.

clasped handsWhen I did my evaluation I did not want to startle him and make him cry – so before moving him I began to interact by touching his arms…. he began to visibly relax and then when I stopped, he moved his arms back to me. It seemed very obvious that he wanted it to continue. As I talked to his aide we realized that no one really touches him except to move him or complete his “care”. So…. I spent the next 30 minutes playing with his arms, hands, legs and feet.  During that time he didn’t cry at all (we turned his music off to see what would happen  usually when the music stops, he cries) – but he smiled, made eye contact and held his arms in front of his body instead of hanging at his sides. This made ME smile and want to cry at the same time. How sad it must be to not know touch.  

The lesson I learned …. touch seems like something that should be easy to give.  But at times it is taken for granted and  when we make the effort – it is a gift that is more valuable than you could ever imagine.
The benefits of touch have been researched and documented.  It seems like we should ALL know about how important it is – maybe we do and have just forgotten…. for all of us who need a reminder –

Touch helps to:

  • Feel connected to others. We are social beings – touch plays an important role in human communication.
  • Reduce anxiety. Simply touching another person can make us/them feel more secure and less anxious.
  • Bond with others.  Touch is one of the ways romantic partners bond with each other and parents bond with their children. Caregivers connect and develop trust with their patients.
  • Lower your blood pressure. Studies have shown that those who get regular touch often have lower blood pressure than those that don’t. Touch can also slow the heart rate and help speed recovery times from illness and surgery. Even having a pet can have beneficial effects!
  • Give us the sensory input  – craved by many, needed by all.
  • Stimulate or soothe, depending on where and how it is provided.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Senior Citizens receive the least touching of any age group.  They are more likely to live alone and have less contact with family members.
  • People with significant care needs may be touched less because so much attention goes into daily personal care that we forget to focus on touch as a personal care need.
  • Infants who are touched gain weight faster and are noted with faster developmental progress.

As the song implies…. a kiss may just be a kiss, a sigh may just be a sigh, but a touch can change a life!