Fall 2015 Class Notes

Three NYU OTs who are still friends and have been in the field for more than 30 years. They were together this Saturday, reminiscing of the old Barney Building, soup from B & H Dairy and walking in Central Park talking about Neuro or maybe not. Joan Feder (left), Connie Coyne (center), and Hanna Wegh (right). The three graduated in 1980/1981.


Turki Aljuhani (MA ‘15) is currently working as a lecturer in occupational therapy at King Saudi Abdulizaz University (KSAU) in Saudi Arabia, where he is working to improve the education of occupational therapy. In addition, he is planning to introduce the role of occupational therapy in the school system.

Tracey D. Bates (MS ‘09) has been practicing OT in various settings for the past eight years. She recently became a certified lymphedema specialist through the Norton School of Lymphatic Studies. She now works as a senior occupational therapist at the George Washington University Hospital Outpatient Center in Washington, D.C. Her clinical interests and focuses are breast cancer rehabilitation, chronic venous insufficiencies, and head and neck cancer.

Lindsey Biel (MA ‘99) will be conducting a workshop, “Sensory Smart Strategies for Real-Life Challenges,” as part of the NYU OT Department’s 75th Gala Celebration on February 28, 2016.

Kim Conti (Worrell) (MA ‘94) is a certified hand therapist (CHT), a title she earned last year. One of her stepchildren married in September 2015, and another stepchild is expecting her first baby in June 2016.

Lisa Davis (MA ‘80) owns Therapeutic Resources, a staffing agency in NYC for OT, PT, and speech therapists. She just authored a book with her business partner entitled, “Occupational Therapy Student To Clinician; Making The Transition,” which was published by Slack Inc. in April 2015. She and her business partner were inspired to write about the practical problems they faced placing therapists in jobs from their staffing agency. They felt that even experienced therapists were not aware of topics such as negotiating a salary, using emotional intelligence skills, and polishing professional behaviors. It is a great book to include in the syllabus for fieldwork.

Mary V. Donohue (PhD, OTL, FAOTA ’73 & ’85) just published the lead article in the December 2015 issue of Occupational Therapy in Mental Health entitled “Social Behavioral Goals and Reimbursable Developmental Activity Strategies.” She also presented this topic on November 7, 2015 at the NYSOTA Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains, NY.

Beth Elenko (MA ‘96, PhD ‘00) is an assistant professor at SUNY Downstate’s occupational therapy program. She is currently directing a specialization in early intervention for graduate students at SUNY’s master’s OT program.

Linnea Erlanson Franits (BS ‘82, MA ‘97) is an associate professor of occupational therapy at Utica College in Utica, NY. She lives in Syracuse with her husband and son. She is working on a PhD in disability studies and her research interests are in narratives of sibling disability.

Laure Friedman (MA ‘02) currently works in pediatrics doing private evaluations, consultations, and treatment in families’ homes. She also sees many kids in early intervention through Connecticut’s Birth to Three program.

Wan Chen Kang (MA ‘04) is a doctoral candidate in the health services and systems research program at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore after spending eight years working in California and Massachusetts and earning an SM in Health Policy and Management in 2012.

Gloria Lucker (BS ‘57) was recently elected President of the New York State Occupational Therapy Association.

Diane Powers Dirette (PhD ‘97) is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Open Journal of Occupational Therapy. It is the first open-access journal for the profession and has quickly gained national and international readership and authorship. It can be accessed without subscription at OJOT.org.

Laura Renstrom Koch (BS ‘81) joined her husband in his holistic health practice one-and-a-half years ago in order to provide neurobiofeedback services. She made the transition after 30+ years of working in more traditional OT settings. She has two wonderful grown daughters and a wonderful son-in-law. She is expecting her first foster grandchild next month.

Nancy Robert Dooley (MA ‘98, PhD ‘01) directs an MSOT program for people who are practicing COTAs at the New England Institute of Technology in Rhode Island. She also leads teams of OT practitioners who bring services to Jamaica where rehabilitation is very scarce. Her focus has been on improving quality of life and caregiver education for adults with psychological, cognitive, and physical disabilities living in a long-term care community.

Rhoda Scherer Cohen (BA ‘49, MA ‘76) worked at Coney Island Hospital for about 20 years. She then opened Pediatric Therapy Center for the Board of Education where she worked for about another 20 years. She retired recently again and developed CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) and has since become her own occupational therapist. She has loved every minute of her working years and still follow changes in the field!

Rebecca Shapey (MS ‘15) began working in Outpatient Rehab at JFK Johnson Rehab Institute in Edison, NJ in December of 2015. She writes, “My parents primarily have hand injuries or strokes, and I wake up every morning looking forward to working with them!”

Christine Sproat (MA ‘01) has been the director and owner of Canyon Kids Pediatric Occupational Therapy Services in Bethesda, MD for nine years. She is so excited to run its successful outdoor adventure camp this summer for children with developmental delay and autism!

Jackie Tamayo (McLaurin) (MS ‘12) was selected as OrthoCarolina’s 2016 hand therapy resident. She has been married to her best friend for almost two years.

Daniela Wachholtz (MA ‘10, DPS ‘12) is currently working in the OT department at Universidad de los Andes in Chile. She is working with preschool children with self-regulation issues in a private practice implementing the “Alert Program.”



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