PhD Students and Candidates

Szu-Wei Chen

Szu-Wei Chen is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU. Szu-Wei is from Taiwan and received her B.S. and M.S degree in Occupational Therapy from National Taiwan University. Before beginning her studies at NYU, Szu-Wei worked as an occupational therapist for governmental projects contracted with Taiwan Occupational Therapy Association, including Service of Job Accommodation for People with Disabilities and Service of Long-term Home Health Care. She also gained clinical experiences while working in Center of Assistive Technology in National Taiwan University Hospital. Szu-Wei is interested in studying diverse participation issues among people with disabilities and older adults as well as evaluating program outcomes. In addition, she is interested in exploring education related topics to improve competences of clinical practitioners and OT students.  

Satvika Garg

Satvika Garg is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Occupational therapy at NYU Steinhardt under the mentorship of Dr. Kristie Koenig and Dr. Jim Hinojosa. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Delhi in India and a Master’s degree at Tufts University. Prior to starting the Ph.D. program, Satvika was involved in a community-based research project in India and worked as a clinical occupational therapist in a variety of settings in both Boston and New Delhi for almost five years. She is interested in studying occupational therapy interventions for children with Autism. Satvika’s dissertation explores the effects of a widely used yoga-based program, “Get Ready to Learn,” on executive functions of elementary school students with disabilities. 

Maria Khawaja

Maria Khawaja, MS, OTR/L is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU. She graduated with a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Boston University's Sargent College and holds both a B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Therapeutic Studies from Boston University. She is pursuing a certificate and board certification in Behavioral Analysis. Maria has worked as an occupational therapist in public and private special education schools as well as in home and community-based settings. Currently, Maria is the Director of Occupational Therapy at the McCarton Center for Developmental Pediatrics, The McCarton School, and The Children's Academy: A School for Speech and Language Development. She is also an adjunct faculty member at New York University. Her goal is to help bridge the gap between pediatric research and practice. Maria’s interests include therapist education, functional evaluation in pediatrics, development of curriculum-based occupational therapy programs, vestibular habilitation, auditory interventions, and the integration of behavior analytic principals into pediatric occupational therapy practice.  

Grace Kim

Grace Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in the Occupational Therapy Department at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. She received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of California at Davis in 1996 and her M.S. in Occupational Therapy at Columbia University in 2002. Grace gained clinical experience working with adults with physical disabilities in the acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing settings at St Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in southern California and in the acute rehabilitation settings at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. While pursuing her doctorate at NYU, Grace works full time as a clinical researcher at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell. She has gained hands-on experience in multiple aspects of research including study design, recruitment and data collection, and coordination of department-initiated studies as well as industry sponsored multi-site clinical trials. She manages the clinical robotics program at Weill Cornell for both inpatients and outpatients with neurological diagnoses. Her research interests center around understanding motor recovery after stroke with a focus on utilization of emerging technologies in combination with existing therapies. Looking ahead, Grace is interested in exploring approaches to stroke rehabilitation in other countries and cultures. 

Ellen Modlin

Ellen Modlin is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU. Ellen graduated from NYU’s entry level OT program in 1995 with a specialty affiliation in pediatrics. Ellen worked in the NYC public schools, Early Intervention, and the Nassau County school district. Currently she serves on the school district's assistive tech committee for the development of screenings and interventions with technology to support students in the classroom. Ellen’s area of interest is using assistive tech to assist students with visual-perceptual deficits.  


Yun Shi

Yun Shi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt. Yun Shi is from China; she received her B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from Capital Medical University in Beijing and M.A. degree in Occupational Therapy from New York University. Before studying for the M.A. degree at NYU, Yun Shi worked as a rehabilitation therapist at Tongren Hospital in Beijing. Her research interest is in outcome measures and physical dysfunction.


Brocha Stern

Brocha Stern is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU. She graduated with her Master of Occupational Therapy from Temple University and earned a BA in Psychology from Touro College. Before entering the PhD program, she worked for four years at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey with a focus on upper extremity rehabilitation. Brocha is pursuing her certification in hand therapy in order to demonstrate clinical excellence and to substantiate her research to an interdisciplinary audience. Brocha’s research interests relate to the benefits of occupation-based practice in hand therapy, the application of neurorehabilitation principles to orthopedic rehabilitation, the relationship between occupation-based practice and neuroplasticity, the appraisal and development of functional outcome questionnaires in hand therapy, best practice in rehabilitation of the stiff proximal interphalangeal joint, and the utilization of frames of reference to inform occupational therapy practice.  

Chien-Ying Yang

Chien-Ying Yang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt. She comes from Taiwan, and earned her B.S. degree in Occupation Therapy from Kaohsiung Medical University and her M. S. degree in Occupational Therapy from National Taiwan University. She is also currently an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU. Her research interests include understanding motor performance, functional outcome as well as social participation in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.