The American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s (AOTF) 2017 Mary Fiorentino Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Erin Kuester, an occupational therapy student in Creighton’s Alaska distance pathway at the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA).
The prestigious national scholarship is awarded to only one occupational therapy student per year. Kuester’s credentials for the scholarship include her top academic standing, research and community service in Alaska.
Kuester is the principal investigator of a research study examining occupation-centered practices by Alaskan occupational therapy fieldwork educators and students. She also volunteers for Challenge Alaska and Equine Assisted Therapy Alaska, and previously worked in outdoor leadership education supporting adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders. Kuester will complete her clinical education rotations at Providence Alaska Medical Center, My Heroes Therapy at Colorado State University, and Southcentral Foundation.
“Occupational therapy is a dynamic profession in need of leaders who are prepared to meet the complex challenges of today’s health care system, especially in Alaska where health care worker shortages are common. It is an honor to be nurtured as a future practitioner in Alaska, both by Creighton and UAA, and to be recognized in this effort by AOTF,” Kuester said. “I look forward to contributing to this wonderful profession as a clinician, researcher and Creighton alumna.”
Mary Fiorentino, OTR, FAOTA, (1917-1986), for whom the scholarship is named, fundamentally changed the way occupational therapists assist children with physical developmental disabilities through her work on primitive reflexes and their effect on children with cerebral palsy. Fiorentino is one of AOTF’s Top 100 Influential People in the profession.