The NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy is pleased to recognize Megan Clark (MS/OTD '22) and Hava Vainstein (MS '22) as this year’s recipients of the Frieda J. Behlen Occupational Therapy Scholarship. The award, named to honor the memory of our department’s generous founder and former chair, Frieda J. Behlen, recognizes high-achieving MS and MS/OTD students with a demonstrated commitment to contributing to the NYU OT community.
Read on to meet Megan and Hava and learn more about their studies, professional aspirations, and what this accomplishment means to them.
Which parts of your NYU OT studies are most exciting to you?
Megan: Although my studies at NYU OT are exciting in their entirety, I have taken a particular interest in neuro-rehabilitation and pediatrics. In regards to neuro-rehabilitation, I loved attending in-person labs, affording me the opportunity to practice various treatment approaches on my peers. Similarly, I am enthusiastic about pediatrics, which has been furthered by my placement in a pediatrics Level I Fieldwork simulation, as I have expanded my knowledge through observing treatment sessions and providing telehealth services. As I complete the didactic portion of the NYU OT program and embark on my Level II Fieldwork journey, I am looking forward to the learning experiences I will continue to encounter.
Hava: This semester, I am most interested both in my cognitive rehabilitation and geriatrics classes! Learning how the brain works and how an OT may utilize specific techniques and interventions to assist in the regaining of cognitive function empowers me as a future practitioner to help people who suffer from cognitive deficits to fulfill their goals in life. I also enjoy working with the older adult population, so taking our geriatrics class has taught me new techniques on how to communicate and treat this population. Other classes I have enjoyed during my studies at NYU included orthopedics, neuroscience and neuro-rehabilitation, mental health classes, and kinesiology.
What are your professional goals as an aspiring OT?
Megan: In correspondence with my interest areas, I am aspiring to become a hospital-based occupational therapist, where I hope to specialize in pediatric neuro-rehabilitation and incorporate my passion for dance into my practice. As a practitioner, I will continue to take continuing education classes, a practice I have already begun, as I strive to constantly acquire new knowledge in order to best serve my patients. Most importantly, regardless of where my career takes me, as I work towards my extensive professional goals, I will continue to aspire to preserve and exemplify the academic integrity and innovative spirit of the NYU OT community.
Hava: I am interested in working in an acute or subacute setting, mental health, and/or a hand therapy clinic and then one day perhaps opening my own clinic. I am also open to the idea of either receiving an OTD or a PhD in the future. I am interested in taking continuing education classes in improving my skills in orthopedics and rehabilitation.
What does winning this scholarship mean to you?
Megan: In reflecting on what winning this scholarship means to me, I feel that it is a representation of my cumulative efforts, characterized by commitment and dedication to my education, leadership skills, and extracurricular engagements – which are achievements I pride myself on. In addition to my studies, I presently serve as the president of Pi Theta Epsilon, a community outreach chair, and a student ambassador, while working two part-time jobs. Despite the challenges and changes that have occurred due to COVID-19, all of my aforementioned engagements have remained, with the unwavering support of the NYU community. My success, thus far, was largely reliant on the mentorship of professors, the encouragement of peers, and the dedication of NYU alumni, as the NYU community is supportive, enriching, and inspiring. It is my esteemed honor to be recognized for this scholarship.
Hava: It means to me that I’m going on the right track both in my studies and in my goals in becoming a caring, more knowledgeable practitioner once I graduate. The scholarship will surely be an asset for me once I graduate, as it shows how much work I’ve put into both my studies and my contributions to the NYU OT community as a whole. My family is very proud of me, and I hope to continue my diligent study once I go into Level II Fieldwork.
Support the Scholarship
Department of Occupational Therapy founder and longtime chair Frieda J. Behlen was known to personally provide financial support to help students complete their studies. We hope to further honor her legacy by continuing to increase the size and number of Frieda J. Behlen Occupational Therapy Scholarships awarded with the generous contributions of our alumni community.