A Health Careers Scholarship Recipient’s Message
Ryan James Walsh
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Student
University of Illinois at Chicago
IOKDS Health Careers Scholarship Recipient, 2016-2018
I thank the IOKDS community for its support during the last two years of my occupational therapy education! I plan to finish the master’s degree, work with older adults in rehabilitation settings for a few years, and eventually continue with a Ph.D. and research career. Support from generous organizations such as the IOKDS is instrumental to students’ pursuit of meaningful activities above and beyond the curriculum. Most importantly, we can be of better service to our communities because we face fewer financial pressures.
During my first year, I worked with a team that researched the use of technology among older adults in the U.S. This year, I am writing research articles, promoting our work, and presenting at conferences. Recently, our research group’s first article was accepted for publication. We have several other papers in progress. We will present our research at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Annual Conference in April and at the World Federation of Occupational Therapists’ Congress in May. In addition, I might continue my research in Taiwan next year with occupational therapy researchers. This research that I helped develop with the support of the IOKDS community contributes U.S. perspectives and data to a body of research about technology use that already encompasses Swedish, Danish, Japanese, and Portuguese perspectives.
Generous funders, including the IOKDS community, have also enabled me to contribute more of my time to the community. In 2017, I was able to tutor and teach at a night school for formerly incarcerated adults in Chicago. In addition, I had extra time to help with campus events to promote occupational therapy’s role in several community initiatives for undergraduates and people living with disabilities. I currently contribute to the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab’s research. I help develop a free research database for rehabilitation professionals worldwide in order to make the best tools available to more people. Your support enables me to offer high impact service to others.
I am currently doing clinical rotations. My current winter rotation is at a therapeutic day school for children with high needs in Chicago, and my spring rotation is at a hospital in Urbana, Illinois. I am very privileged to have so many opportunities to work with outstanding clients, students, patients, and colleagues. I look forward to graduating in July 2018 and continuing with work and research. I am pleased to enter a profession that works in the service of others, and I look forward to developing my skills to be of greater service to others.
Ryan James Walsh