NYU Steinhardt News

2013 Frieda J. Behlen Scholarship Award Recipients Announced

The NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy is pleased to announce the 2013 Frieda J. Behlen Occupational Therapy scholarship recipients- Chloe Garcia Cruz, Elizabeth Greenbaum and Brienna Maier. These three outstanding students have each been selected to receive a $2,500 tuition award for the summer 2013 semester.

Chloe Garcia Cruz’s time in the NYU Occupational Therapy program has solidified her passion in Geriatrics, a specialization she has devoted much of her time to.  As chair of the international outreach committee for the class of 2014, she proposed and coordinated a service-learning trip to Cape Town, South Africa for herself and nine other classmates.  The trip included collaboration with the Occupational Therapy Department at University of Cape Town, with full day visits to local hospitals, where the group shadowed local OT’s.  Chloe also helped to develop a plan for better daily living for senior citizens focusing on ergonomics, stress management, and body mechanics which the group implemented during their time volunteering at a community center in Khayelitsha, an underserved township community.  Chloe is particularly interested in working abroad to develop preventive programs for geriatric populations, understanding that practice can be informed by understanding areas in which culture and socioeconomic status influence occupational therapy.

Elizabeth Greenbaum earned her B.A. in Psychology, a field she has been able to expand upon and incorporate into her studies in the NYU Occupational Therapy program. Through her classroom and field work, she has developed a keen interest in the sub-components of cognition and their role in rehabilitation and remediation for a wide variety of populations.  Her goal is to integrate this knowledge into her assessment and treatment of patients to increase their functional cognitive abilities and independence.  Understanding the importance of collaboration, she is excited to share with her peers the knowledge she will gain at this year’s AOTA Conference. Equipped with her knowledge gained at NYU, Elizabeth aims to contribute to clinical research while providing treatment that is creative, based in research, culturally sensitive, and most importantly, effective.

Brienna Maier’s career-changing experience came from others’ life-changing moments.  While working at Therapy Solutions for Kids, she witnessed children overcome immense obstacles and perform tasks, such as walking, that they were told would never happen.  She then realized the importance of focusing on a person’s ability rather than their disability.  Watching her cousin, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, grow up in a low-income family with little access to therapy has inspired Brienna to dedicate time working with disadvantaged families who cannot afford adequate occupational therapy for their children.  Her coursework in the NYU Occupational Therapy program, along with her life experiences have influenced her desire to work with people with disabilities, helping them achieve what they, and others, never thought was possible.


The Frieda J. Behlen Occupational Therapy Scholarship is an endowed fund created principally by gifts from alumni of the occupational therapy programs at New York University.  Income generated by the endowment is awarded annually to students who demonstrate superior academic achievement as well as financial need.  With growth in the fund's balance from new gifts, the amount given out has been able to increase and will continue to do so.  The award takes the form of a tuition aid applied towards summer courses.  Professional Program second year and Post-Professional Programs students are eligible to apply.

The fund was named to honor the memory of Frieda J. Behlen, founder and longtime chair of NYU's Department of Occupational Therapy. Ms. Behlen was known for never hesitating to find monies, even if from her own pocketbook, to enable deserving students to complete their studies.

To contribute to this and other Department of Occupational Therapy funds please visit http://www.nyu.edu/giving/.