Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Nicole Onori Hansen

Second Advisor

Holly Grieves


As occupational therapy programs begin to shift from entry-level Master’s to Doctorate curriculum, progressing the rigor accordingly while holding true to the field’s occupational roots remains a crucial consideration. At a private university in the Midwest, faculty were working against time constraints while building an entry-level doctoral occupational therapy program from the ground up and sought to establish a healthy, professional culture between faculty and students. This capstone experience and project addressed these goals by exploring the role and expectations of working as an educator in the program. Learning experiences were centered upon developing content related to pediatric and adolescent mental health. In tandem, a community-based learning opportunity for the occupational therapy students was developed and executed. This project helped ensure that students were receiving an integrated and informed education that encompasses emerging areas of practice, including mental health. Progressing the field of academia is critical to in turn progress the field of occupational therapy as a whole. This project granted the university time and labor to research and develop effective approaches to educate occupational therapy students in order to best serve future patients.