Last year was my first year of being in school for OT and I have to admit it took me awhile to get acquainted with AOTA; however knowing that the conference was going to be in Philadelphia, only 20 minutes from where I live, I was very excited about attending my first AOTA conference. As the conference approached, the Philadelphia schools were asked to provide one student to serve as Page to the Representative Assembly. I saw this as an amazing opportunity to get involved and experience a side of AOTA that is very unique and a once in a lifetime chance. So I completely the steps outlined by my department and wrote and essay as to why I deserved this opportunity and was forunate enough to be chosen. I served the RA for the first two days of the conference, got to meet some amazing therapist from all over the country, and had my eyes opened to how AOTA is structured and functions. The following two days I spent at the conference attending workshops and the expo, again blown away by everything happening in the world of OT. The experience serving as a Page and being apart of AOTA was a feeling that is hard to describe. It is truly an amazing feeling to be apart of something so much larger than yourself, especially being a student and at the very beginning of your career. It was at that point I knew I wanted to be involved more in AOTA, so when the opportunity came to run for an ASD Steering Committee position, I knew that this was my chance.
I want to be YOUR 2012-2013 to be your voice and put your ideas into actions. I have an immense passion for OT and for being part of AOTA and I will bring that passion into the position of Chairperson. Likewise, I will bring my past leadership experience to this position to make sure that the committee functions effectively and efficiently and make sure that you know what is happening at all times. While I do have some ideas to bring into this position and to work collaboratively on with the rest of the committee, I want to first say that it is most important to me to hear your ideas as the primary job of my position is to represent you. I've attached my campaign flyer and letter for you to view at your leisure, but I would like to highlight some of the ideas from my letter. One thing I talk about is strengthening and further unifying our network of students throughout the country because I believe it will lead to greater success in the future for our profession. There is obviously strength in numbers, which has been evident through our efforts on Capital Hill and making our profession better known, yet there is still so much opportunity left to to use our numbers to our benefit. With that, I think it can also be beneficial to us now as students to be able to have contact with other students and professionals around the country. I would like to see us use for media and technology to make this happen.I hope that by building this network and making it easily accessible that more resources can be provided to both students and clinicians. Specifically, I think it is important that there be more resources for student organizations. I hope that by creating more resources and opportunities for networking we can increase membership in AOTA. In putting more energy towards these efforts I hope that more will be inspired like myself and get involved. When there is a strong and unified network, reaching our Centennial Vision will be that much easier.
When I started this campaign process, I was astonished just how wonderful it was to have and gain support from other students, around the country, whom I don't even know. I can't put into words how much I have enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to other students, outside my department, and I hope that I only have the chance to get to know more of you. Since I received the news that I was slated for Chairperson I have felt an overwhelming about of passion for our profession and have seen and felt it from all of you as well. I would appreciate any and all support that you can provide to help me become YOUR next ASD Chairperson because I know together we can make this next year great!
That's the fun of this process. I am glad I can help you and the other candidates in a way I think is friendly and fair. As you know, what I do for you and the other candidates are more like "behind the scenes", just like what you did at the RA meeting in AOTA last year. But, I really enjoy it because seeing people like you succeed motivates me to challenge myself, which in turn hopefully my success could motivate people like you to do greater things for our profession. I hope one day at Indy where we get to have a moment and chat in person.
P.S. I hope you find the autism stuff I sent you the other day are helpful. I am just as passionate about this topic as I do OT, as a good bit of the OT fellows I got to meet at Autism West called me a self-advocate on top of the fact that I am also in the OT community.