Alumni from Malaysia

Name: Siaw Chui Chai

Where is home? Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Status in NYU OT program: Alumni, MA (2008) & PhD (2013)

What was your educational/professional background in occupational therapy before coming to NYU? Tutor, Program of Occupational Therapy, the National University of Malaysia (2005-2006) Occupational Therapist, Sibu Hospital, Sarawak, Malaysia (1999-2005).

What are your research interest(s): Hand rehabilitation

Where you involved in any research projects during your studies, if so what were they?
My PhD dissertation project was The Influences of Physical Attributes, Perceived Exertion, and Time Spent Playing the Piano on Hand Discomfort, and the Relationship of Hand Discomfort with Hand Function Status among Piano Students: An Exploratory Study. It was funded by the American Hand Therapy Foundation (AHTF) Burkhalter Young Investigator Grant for Clinical Research in Hand and Upper Limb Rehabilitation and nominated for NYU Steinhardt’s 2014 Outstanding Dissertation Award.

My MA thesis project was Current Postoperative Management of Zone V and VI Extensor Tendon Injuries. I was also the PI on two MSOT projects - Hyperextension Measurement of the Metacarpophalangeal Joints: A Study of Intra-Rater Reliability and Inter-Rater Reliability, and Study of Hand Size and Joint Hypermobility in Healthy Young Adults. 

Why did choose to attend New York University’s OT program?
This is because NYU’s OT Program has an excellent reputation with many outstanding faculty members that are recognized internationally for their research, academic, and clinical achievements. The program offers both in-depth teaching about the core of OT, i.e., the philosophy, frame of reference, model etc, as well as advanced clinical skills and solid research foundation. It broadens students’ learning experiences by encouraging students to take interdisciplinary courses within the school, as well as relevant courses outside the school or university. Gaining broader scopes of knowledge and skills is important, so that students can face all challenges with adequate level of confidence and capability upon graduation.

What did you enjoy most about your experience at NYU?
I enjoyed the experiences of participating in various orientation, social, and outing activities offered by the NYU’s Office of Global Services, as well as professional skills development series by Wasserman Center for Career Development. Being an international student at NYU, I also participated in community visits and walks, including United Nations Weekend in Mountain Lake, NJ and Thanksgiving in Lancaster, Pennsylvania organized by One To World. These unique experiences of meeting individuals from diverse cultural and belief backgrounds not only allowed me to adjust successfully to my new learning and living environment, it also taught me the importance of appreciating OT from a global perspective. 

What was your favorite thing to do in New York City?
Watching Broadway musicals, plays, and movies, sight-seeing at botanical gardens and parks, as well as enjoying meals and picking up groceries in Chinatown.

Where are you currently working?
The National University of Malaysia, Malaysia