Jaymie Merry chose her career path at age 13 after she shadowed her aunt at work as a pediatric occupational therapist.
She loved the experience and began volunteering with a variety of programs that worked with children, especially children with special needs. “Every interaction I had with these remarkable children only solidified my desire to become an OT,” she said.
When it came to choosing an occupational therapy program to attend, Merry had high standards. “My main priority when choosing a school was the quality of the program and when I attended the OT open house at UB, it was easy to tell that the program was of excellent quality,” she said. “Also, being a state school, UB offers an affordable college experience. It had that large university feeling that I was looking for; however, once I got into my program of choice, the class sizes were smaller and more personal.”
Once in the BS/MS program, Merry was impressed with the clinical training opportunities to work with a variety of patients in a range of settings.
“I worked with many different occupational therapists and other professionals who taught me so much about various techniques used, along with how services are delivered in the various settings,” she said. “There was so much to be learned by doing those fieldwork experiences. They not only allowed me to put what I learned in the classroom into practice, but also added to my overall knowledge of occupational therapy practice.”
Merry was equally enthusiastic about the OT program’s faculty members. “They had real-life examples to help explain concepts further—which added to the overall education of the students. Many of the professors were involved with research studies relevant to current OT practice and there were many opportunities for students to get involved in such research. Also, the students were definitely a priority to the professors. They did a great job of really getting to know their students and were always available to provide extra help, support or explanations when needed.”
Merry graduated in 2013 and works at OTA The Koomar Center, a clinic that specializes in sensory processing evaluation and therapy.