Sep 27

A Place for Everyone to Play – Advocacy in Action

Imagine that your community is preparing to install new playground equipment at a public park.  What comes to mind?  Swings, see-saws, monkey bars?  What if you had the opportunity to help design that playground to be accessible and inclusive?  That’s exactly what one of our recent graduates is doing.

marla park 2 (1024x576)Marla Peiffer, MS, OT (’16) shared that she recently had the opportunity to meet with the designer/consultant about a new playground in her home community.  Although the original main playground structure was considered accessible according to standards, Marla worked with the designer to include some additional features such as interactive play panels with games and musical instruments that will encourage interaction between all children. An accessible see-saw was also included in the design along with a hard rubber surface (instead of mulch), and adapted swings that have special seats for trunk control.  Next, of course, is the search for funding such as grants and donations to help cover the costs of the added equipment.

Marla park 1 (1024x576)

Marla shared that because of her education at Etown, she is confident about her abilities to apply her OT education to real life such as talking with the designer and possibly writing some grant proposals.  As an encouragement for current students, Marla says, ” …take in all of the knowledge you can, because you never know where life will lead you after graduation! :)

What are some other opportunities for you to apply OT in your local community?


Sep 21

“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed: Book review published by faculty & alumni

Occupational Therapy in Mental HealthCongratulations to Dr. Tam Humbert, Rachel Turkovich (MS, ’15), Kelly Van Clief (MS, ’15) & Elizabeth VanBuskirk (MS, ’15) on their recent publication of a book review based on Cheryl Strayed’s work, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.  In their review, the authors noted various aspects of the author’s personal transformation and spirituality during her daily occupations, events, and relationships that unfolded during her adventures.

Click here to link to the article.

Humbert, T. K., Turkovich, R., Van Clief, K., & VanBuskirk, E. (2016) Transformation on the Pacific Crest Trail: A review of Cheryl Strayed’s narrative “Wild.” Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 32(3), 312-315, DOI: 10.1080/0164212X.2016.1202805


Sep 06

Seasons of Transition

By Nancy Carlson Steadman, PhD, OTR/L

Just as seasons change, the O.T. dept. is experiencing changes.  In June of this year, Dr. Judy Beck Ericksen completed two 3-year terms as O.T. department chairperson and program director.

Dr. Ericksen

Dr. Judy Ericksen

Dr. Ericksen’s term as chairperson was characterized by data-informed decision-making processes and a caring servant leadership style. Under her leadership, the faculty unified a vision for a new curriculum.  She is an embodiment of her signature tagline: “Blue Jays Always.”  In this next phase of her Blue-Jay Adventure, Dr. Ericksen is looking forward to focusing on both teaching and research. She continues her long-standing connection with the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS). We are very grateful for her strong leadership and her commitment to this program and the future generations of occupational therapy practitioners.

Dr. Humbert

Dr. Tam Humbert

On that note, we happily announce that Dr. Tam Keiter Humbert assumed the role of department chairperson and program director.  Dr. Humbert is known as a clinician, scholar, educator, writer, and world-traveler.  She also brings clinical and academic administrative experience with her to this new role. This transition, true to Tam’s signature style, was signaled by a make-over of the chair’s office (see photo below).


Office makeover a la Tam!

Office makeover a la Tam!


Dr. Humbert has been part of the Etown O.T. department for many years, first as an adjunct instructor, and since 2007 as an associate professor.  One of her first high-impact tasks will be to shepherd the implementation of a revised curriculum. In addition, she plans to pursue her writing and other scholarly activities. We very much appreciate Dr. Humbert’s willingness to step into this role, and we look forward to working with her!

Feel free to comment below with favorite memories and notes and appreciation for Dr. Ericksen, and/or words of encouragement and congratulations to Dr. Humbert!



Aug 15

How does breast cancer affect cognition and occupational performance?

by Ann Marie Potter, MA, OTR/L

Ann Marie Potter with 2 staff therapists from Christiana Care

Sarah Fronckzkowski, MS, OTR/L, CLT (’08), Ann Marie Potter, MA, OTR/L, and Lisa Marshall, OTR/L, CLT

Faculty member Ann Marie Potter, MA, OTR/L presented a workshop on Breast Cancer and Cognition to the Occupational Therapy staff at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, part of Christiana Care, in Newark, DE on 8/11/2016. The presentation was coordinated by staff therapist and Etown alum Sarah Fronczkowski, MS, OTR/L, CLT (’08).  The group learned about the etiology of cancer-related cognitive impairments and how changes in cognition result for a constellation of factors beyond chemotherapy alone.  The impact of these cognitive impairments on daily functioning is a very troublesome side effect for cancer survivors.  Because OT is designated as a first line intervention for cancer related cognitive impairment by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the role of OT in assessment and treatment of these impairments was discussed.  Ann Marie Potter is currently conducting research on the impact of breast cancer treatment on cognition and breast cancer.

Aug 08

OTs Present at the National Autism Conference

Leah Newman at the National Autism ConferenceLeah Newman (MS, ’16) and Dr. Kerri Hample presented a poster entitled, “Autism, Dietary Modifications, and the Social Participation and Roles of Caregivers: A Comparison Study” at the 2016 National Autism Conference in State College, PA on August 3, 2016. This presentation was based on Leah’s graduate research project.  Of the presenters from all over the United States, only three Occupational Therapists were selected to share research with behaviorists, teachers, speech language clinicians, parents and consumers.

Jul 05

Faculty and alumni are published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy

CongrC1 PAGE.inddatulations to Dr. Tam Humbert and alums, Christine Maley (MS, ’14), Nicole Pagana (MS, ’14), and Christa Velenger (MS, ’14) on their recent publication.  The full citation (in APA format, of course) is as follows:   

Maley, C. M,. Pagana, N., K., Velenger, C. A., & Humbert, T. K. (2016). Dealing with major life events and transitions: A systematic literature review on and occupational analysis of spirituality.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70(4), 7004260010p1-7004260010p6. DOI: 10.5014/ajot.2016.015537. You can find the article here.   

May 31

Electroencephalographic Neurofeedback Research in Occupational Therapy

Our own Christine Achenbach was recognized recently by The Foundation for Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience for her research regarding the use of electroencephalographic neurofeedback (EEG NFB) as an intervention in O.T.  EEG NFB is a form of biofeedback that uses sensors placed on the scalp to capture brainwaves to interface with a computer. It is now recognized as an evidence-based approach for treating attention deficit hyperactive disorder and is being researched for other neurological conditions including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and cerebral vascular accident (CVA).  Ms. Achenbach is interested in using neurofeedback to reduce symptoms of anxiety so that individuals can engage in meaningful daily occupations.

Styrofoam head with EEG wires on it and wires attached to laptop computer


One outcome from her research so far is that one of our young alumna is now pursuing certification in biofeedback that will also allow her to do NFB as a modality!  Ms. Achenbach hopes to continue some research and will attempt to publish a summary of this year’s and previous years’ EEG NFB research.



May 19

Hot off the Presses – Spirituality and Occupational Therapy: A Model for Practice and Research

spirituality bookWe are pleased to announce that Dr. Tam Humbert published a book,  Spirituality and Occupational Therapy:  A Model for Practice and Research.  Published by AOTA Press, the book reflects Dr. Humbert’s interests in spirituality and how occupational therapists can integrate spirituality into daily practice to enhance clients’ well-being and occupational performance. Considering multiple perspectives of spirituality and based on several years of research and practice, this book also includes concepts and meaning that were derived from several E-town graduate research projects that were mentored by Dr. Humbert. 

Get more information about this new and exciting book at AOTA’s website!

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!