Morgan Smith, MS ’19, recently attended the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Summer Institute for Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy. She was selected from among many applicants to attend the 1-day institute, followed by a 2-day Occupational Therapy Summit of Scholars, held at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, from June 20-22, 2019. The institute provides mentoring to potential future doctoral students while connecting them to potential research mentors. Morgan’s experience is highlighted by her comments below.
The institute for future scientists gave me the opportunity to learn more about the application process for PhD and OTD programs, how the two degrees differ, what is to be expected during each type of program, and what a life dedicated to research often looks like. I also got to meet leaders in occupational therapy research such as Ginny Stoffel, Roger Smith, and Mary Lawlor to name just a few. The most beneficial part of the institute was the opportunity to speak one-on-one with faculty from a variety of R1 academic institutions, and engage in conversations around my personal research goals and interests, as well as hear about the passions of others.
The next two days consisted of presentations and posters as part of the Summit of Scholars. There was also ample time to continue networking, and I got to speak with PhD students from the programs that many of the faculty teach at.
I walked into this event knowing I wanted to pursue getting a PhD in the coming years, but walked away even more energized about the possibility of devoting my life to making a difference within occupational therapy by researching pediatric mental health. It was amazing to be surrounded by such brilliant and supportive people from our profession, and I’m excited to join this incredible group of researchers as a future scientist.
Congratulations to Morgan, and we look forward to hearing about your future graduate school and research endeavors.