Class Notes: Spring 2017

Lindsey Biel (MA, 1999) Recently published “Students with Sensory Processing Challenges: Classroom Strategies” plus an extensive appendix in Optimizing Learning Outcomes: Proven Brain-Centric, Trauma-Sensitive Practices, W. Steele, ed., Routledge, 2017, pp. 75-94 and 201-215. Her upcoming workshop schedule is available at www.sensorysmarts.com.

Maria Cecilia Figueroa Cupello (MA, 2013) Maria is currently an Adjunct Professor at Mental Health Department, University of Chile. Clinical OT at Child Psychiatric Unit, Clinica Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.

Mary V. Donohue, PhD, OTL, FAOTA (MA, 1973; PhD 1985) Mary presented a poster at the 2017 AOTA conference 2017 devoted to art of OT rehab for army veterans in 1944 at England General Hospital in Atlantic City, NJ by Marion Greenwood, her second cousin.

Rita P. Fleming-Castaldy, PhD, OTL, FAOTA (BS, 1980; MA,1988; PhD, 2008)
Dr. Fleming-Castaldy is currently Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Scranton, and received the 2017 AOTA Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Occupational Therapy for “advancing disability rights, empowerment, and historical literacy”. She has authored over 175 works including peer-reviewed national and international journal articles, international and national peer-reviewed conference presentations, textbooks, and book chapters. Most recently, she presented a poster and workshop at the Council of Occupational Therapists for the European Countries and European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education Joint Congress held in Galway, Ireland.

Robbie Levy, (MA, OTR/L , 1982) Is not only a regular presenter for PESI Educational Conferences providing full day seminars on Self Regulation and Sensory Processing, but also presents at many local and state conferences and community events. In March 2017 she presented at the JCC of Harrison in Harrison, NY on Balancing Play and Technology.

Jessica Ng (MS, 2014) Jessica will be graduating this May of 2017 with a Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree from Thomas Jefferson University with an advanced certificate in Teaching.

Lorraine Williams Pedretti (BS, 1959)
Lorraine was recently named to the AOTA centennial celebration list of 100 people who influenced Occupational Therapy’s 100 year history.

Jessica Sibley (MS, 2011) Has been keeping busy consulting with 2 schools and starting her own private Clinic, Minds in Motion OT! She is specializing in working with non speaking students working to support learning to use alternative forms of communication and developing more of a brain body connection. Supporting fitness and ADL’s for those with autism has become her newest interest!

Franklin Stein, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA (OT Certificate 1959, MA, 1963; PhD 1968)
Is the founding editor of a new journal: Annals of International Occupational Therapy, published by Slack.

Joan Engel Sullivan, MA, OTR, CHT (BSOT, 1970; MAOT, 1975) and Sally E. Poole, OTD, MA, OT, CHT (MA, 1975 and NYU Professional Program Director) are pleased to announce the sale of their hand therapy practice, HANDS-ON REHAB, Valhalla, NY to Megan Gotlieb Horowitz, MA, OTR, CHT (MA, 2007). Joan and Sally are delighted to “pass the baton” of practice ownership to another NYU grad and “hand nerd”.  Best wishes, Megan!

Joan Engel Sullivan, MA, OTR, CHT (BA,1970; MA, 1975) Joan is pleased to announce her retirement from patient care after a career in Occupational Therapy spanning 50 years. Joan is a Founding Charter Member of the American Society of Hand Therapists and served as the president of that organization in 2000. Joan was co-owner of Hands-On Rehab in Valhalla, New York for 21 years and is now looking forward to personal and medical missionary travel and continued involvement in professional educational events.

 

Summer 2016 Class Notes

Tracey Bates (MS ’09) works in the outpatient center at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C., focusing on oncology (breast, head, and neck) Lymphedema and implementing the head and neck Lymphedema program for the hospital.

Robert M. Bieber (MA ’72) Retired in 2015 as a risk manager, and is presently working as a personal trainer.

Rhoda Scherer Cohen (BS ’49, MA ’76) worked as an OT throughout her whole career—and is now working with them since having developed CIDP and having a shoulder recently replaced. She now shares with her OT how she used to practice in her early career, and is learning how they do it now.

Patrick Dolan (MA ’96) is currently work at Albany Memorial Hand Center.

Per Erik Edlund (MA ’82) has recently retired from Landvetter Airport in Sweden as Project Director and Business Controller.

Rita Fleming-Castaldy (PhD ’08) has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s centennial history project called “OT Archive”.  Dr. Fleming-Castaldy is responsible for the curation, development, and review of historical materials which will commemorate occupational therapy’s first 100 years. She is working with an editorial board comprised of leaders in the field (including Dr. Jim Hinojosa) to identify people and events which have significantly influenced the profession to be highlighted during the AOTA’s centennial celebration in 2017.

Shirin Golshani (MS ’14) is one of the founding leaders and volunteer VP in charge of Clinics of a non-profit organization called Angel City Sports, where sports programming and competition is put on for children and adults with physical disabilities including amputees. She is also currently a full-time school-based OT for Los Angeles Unified School District going into year three.

Renee Elizabeth Keny (George) (MA ’06) has spent the past 10 years since graduation on a journey from the east coast to the mid-west in Chicago, helping students with special needs in clinics, homes, and schools. As she looks forward to the next 10 years, she’s so happy to say that she ran into former Steinhardt professors at the AOTA conference in Chicago this year (see pic)!

Renee Keny (MA 06') with former NYU OT professors at the 2016 AOTA Conference

Andrea Krauss (BS ’79) has been in academia since 1990, starting her teaching career at Touro College. She is currently the Director of the OT Program at York College CUNY. In addition, Andrea maintains a small private practice providing consultation to families that have children with behavioral issues secondary to SID, ADHD and autism.

Robbie Levy (MA ’82) has moved her private practice, Dynamic Kids Inc., to a larger space in Hartsdale, NY further exemplifying her long term commitment to the local community. The office now has a dedicated EI treatment space, two sensory gyms, an enhanced fine motor room and private office space. Besides providing on site mentorship, Robbie continues to be a national speaker for PESI Education and local and regional Child Development organizations.

Karen Ling (MS ’14) Started a shop named Inclusive Greetings with her husband, an MD. The greeting cards bring awareness to disability inclusion, diversity and equality with a goal is to initiate conversations, connect, and bridge the gap between people with different backgrounds.

Jeannine Giustino Nonaillada (MA ‘15) defended her dissertation ‘Educating Healthcare Providers and Hospital Staff on Geriatrics and Shared Decision-Making: Evaluation of an Online Program’ and graduated with her PhD in Social Work with a concentration in gerontology from Fordham University this May 2016.

Hermine D. Plotnick (MA ’63) spent 37 years working in the NYS Office of Mental Health, most of that time at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center beginning as a staff occupational therapist, and then, Unit Chief, with part time adjunct positions at Columbia University. She is also an associate professor and founding program director of the OT programs at York, LaGuardia Community College and NY Institute of Technology.

Linda Rowe (MA ’84) is currently the owner of Support By Design OT, SLP, PT, PLLC Pediatric Therapy practice.

Natasha R. Sexius (MS ’07) currently runs a private practice for adults and pediatrics in Trinidad, West Indies. She is also part of a team starting up the first OT master’s program at The University of the Southern Caribbean in Trinidad commencing September 5, 2016.

Jessica Sibley (MS ’11) recently began working heavily with the autistic and/or non speaking community using Rapid Prompting Method to help students learn to spell to communicate on stencil boards. She has also become more heavily focused on Motor learning and skill acquisition for clients, and has recently started her own private practice, Minds in Motion OT.

Lindsey Vestal (MS ’11) is the owner of the Functional Pelvis, practice specializing in pelvic floor therapy “house calls”, a convenient, comfortable, and holistic operation for clients that incorporates their environment.  Lindsey has two children Avery, 4 and Liam, 2.

 

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.”

 

 

2015 Class Notes

Fran Babiss (PhD ‘01) is the principal investigator on a North Shore-LIJ Health System IRB-approved study. She works on comparing classroom and experiential learning of TeamSTEPPS, an AHRQ-approved teamwork and communication building tool. The study has just begun subject enrollment and should conclude by the end of the year.

Lindsey Biel (MA ‘99) published her second book, Sensory Processing Challenges: Effective Clinical Work With Kids & Teens, and is a guest lecturer at the Yale Child Study Center.

Susan Braham (MS ‘10) is an OTRL at the Staten Island University Hospital where she works in inpatient rehabilitation. She is a senior therapist active on pain management task force & yoga/tai chi class with a specialty in manual therapies, continuing education focusing on myofascial release techniques for yoga and manual techniques. She also has a private practice in therapeutic massage, yoga, and yoga therapy.

Allysin Bridges (MA ‘02) is working at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing as a senior OT on the CAPABLE Study (Community Aging in Place Advancing Better Living for Elders). She is also in the process of starting her own company, OT Home Solutions, for healthy and safe aging.

Paula Connolly-Close (MA ‘83) has been an occupational therapist for 32 years. She lives at the Jersey Shore and her daughter, Katherine, is currently a graduate student at NYU (BER program).

Kim Conti (MA ‘94) is a certified hand therapist (CHT) at the JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey, and has been for the past 18 years. She is married with three stepchildren.

Lisa Davis (MA ‘80) published the book, Occupational Therapy Student to Clinician, Making The Transition, which was written for OT students entering fieldwork or their first job following graduation. The book provides readers with information about the practical aspects of being successful in OT and is for sale on Amazon.

Rita P. Fleming-Castaldy (PhD ‘08) published an article, “A macro perspective for client-centered practice in curricula: Critique and teaching methods,” in the Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy. She presented about the personal assistance services to support family and work life at the 20th annual meeting of European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education in the Netherlands.

Lori Kamer-Licker (BS ‘79) is an author and creator of a program for children. Her program, “Writing-Right with Professor Pendleton Pencil,” is an innovative, effective, and motivating handwriting curriculum for children.

Lillian Kaplan (BS ‘80) is completing her third year as chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at York College, City University of New York. As a long-time pediatric clinician and OT educator, she teaches neuroanatomy, cognitive neuroscience, activity analysis and motor learning at York College. Her research focuses on attention’s influence on complex skill acquisition.

Karen Ling (MS ‘14) is a writer for www.seniorcare.com and a social media correspondent for NYC Universal Design Conference (@UniversalDesNYC). She uses social media to promote positive aging, universal design, and to spread awareness of OT.

Sarah Lyon (MA ‘11) has been blogging at www.otpotential.com where she has interviewed several of her former NYU classmates.

Katherine Malfucci (MS ‘12) is working as a senior OT in the NYC Department of Education at an elementary school with students with intellectual disabilities. In the summer, she works at a skilled nursing facility with adults and older adults.

Salma Malik (MS ‘12) is beginning a new occupational therapy program at More Than a Gym in Syosset. She is also servicing students in Hicksville Public Schools, and just had a third baby.

Diane Powers Dirette (MA ‘93, PhD ‘97) is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, the first open-access journal for the profession. The publication has over 50,000 full-text downloads in 119 countries and has become a well-respected peer-reviewed journal in OT.

Panos Rekoutis (MA ‘00, PhD ‘10) co-founded ReDiscoverKids OT, PLLC in 2011, which focuses on assessment, intervention, and consultation regardless of age or adversity. He also provides staff training for school-based OT’s and teachers, as well as continuing education courses. He has also recently had an article accepted in Teachers College Record, a peer-reviewed journal in the education field.

Jacqueline Tamayo (MS ‘12) is a traveling occupational therapist, practicing outpatient upper extremity rehabilitation and acute inpatient rehab. She married her best friend and soldier, Julian Tamayo, following graduation.

Kelly J. Webster (DPS ‘14) does acute inpatient and outpatient OT work in CT. She is now doing ergonomic workstation assessments and treating injured workers in both a factory and office setting. She also served as an adjunct professor this past spring for Dr. Anita Perr’s class, Analysis of Human Activity and Occupational Performance II.

2014 Class Notes

Rhoda Scherer Cohen, (B.A. 1949, M.A.1976), one of Frieda Behlen’s first students at NYU is currently retired after working for twenty years at Coney Island Hospital and opening a Pediatric therapy Center. She would now love to mentor students on how it was done back then.

Diane DeMaio-Feldman, (M.A. 1982, Ph.D. 1991), is certified in the practice of cognitive rehabilitation therapy and has a postdoctoral certification in neuropsychology. Her private practice specializes in the provision of neurorehabilitation services to clients of all ages who have neurological compromise.

Gail P. Mechlowitz Stocks, (M.A. 1986), is an OT at the Phoenix Center in New Jersey where she has secured a grant from Seton Hall University, to install a multi-sensory environment, and has initiated a comedy club for the students.

Victoria Schindler, (M.A. 1987, Ph.D. 2002), is an Associate Professor at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and is currently organizing a Learning Abroad trip to Colombia.

Joyce Sabari, (Ph.D. 1992), has been the Chair of the Occupational Therapy Program at SUNY Downstate Medical Center since 1999, and has published several book chapters and journal articles on stroke rehabilitation.

Marilyn Sexton-Federico, (M.A. 1995), is married with two children and works part-time in a private clinic.

Lindsey Biel, (M.A. 1999), published a book, Sensory Processing Challenges: Effective Clinical Work with Kids & Teens this year, and teaches workshops for parents and teachers, most recently at the Yale Child Study Center.

Allysin E. Wessel-Bridges, (M.A. 2002), is currently working on the CAPABLE study, a client directed aging in place program for older adults in a low income, urban setting, in Baltimore, Maryland, with the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.

Jenny Keyerleber, (M.A. 2003), is working as a school based therapist in Cherry Creek schools and lives in Denver, Colorado.

Diana Alberti Feinberg, (M.S. 2007), has been working in inpatient acute, sub-acute and home care, since graduation, and now lives in East Quogue with her husband and 8-month old son.

Natasha Burt Rutherford, (M.S. 2007), is a senior therapist at St.Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, and specializes in acute care/NICU.

Lauren Brukner, (M.S. 2010), has just published a book on self-regulation strategies for children.

Bianica Jackson Davis, (M.A. 2012), will be celebrating her first year of marriage to Dr. Samuel Davis in September.

Jessica Ng, (M.S. 2014), will be begin to pursue her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree at Thomas Jefferson University School of Health Professions, this year.

Elizabeth Hope Whalen, (M.S.2014), recently passed her boards while she was eight months pregnant, and will start work in the fall.

We would love to have you share your news with us. To submit an alumni note, please send the following information to jc7352@nyu.edu.

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