Maja Kohl Emerson
What attracted you to the LEND program at the CDRC?
I first heard about the LEND program at the CDRC during a pediatric fieldwork placement. My interest was immediately piqued. While I was looking forward to completing graduate school and starting my own career, the opportunity for continuing education with the LEND program was enticing. Upon further investigation into the program, I became confident that the pediatric setting, the leadership and research experiences, and the mentorship offered by LEND would be invaluable to my development as an occupational therapist.
What has been the most positive aspect of the program so far?
There have been numerous positive aspects to the LEND program, however the one that sticks out is the incomparable mentorship. I am not only being given the opportunity to explore my profession in incredible depth, but the breadth of exposure I am receiving in pediatric care makes me confident that I will leave here as well-rounded as I will be experienced. I am excited to be learning from seasoned and passionate occupational therapists, psychologists, developmental pediatricians, social workers, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists.
What is your research focus?
The focus for my research project is the dispensing of information on sexuality to young women with an intellectual disability by medical providers. At the CDRC, I have anecdotally encountered many adolescents with a disability that report not learning about sex or sexuality. As a normal part of life, and an activity of daily living, it is important that all youth take part in a discussion about sexual education and contraception. I am interested in looking at what is currently going on in our medical community to meet this need.
What is your leadership focus?
I am fortunate to be able to work on two leadership projects during my tenure as LEND fellow. First, I will be collaborating with a fellow LEND trainee to organize a transition fair. This is an opportunity for young people who experience a disability to explore their future career, living, and educational goals. Second, I am excited to return to Pacific University's School of Occupational Therapy, but this time in the role of educator. I will be assisting in a course on adolescence and providing support to current OT students.
How will this fellowship help you in your role as an OT?
The exposure to research, mentorship, and clinical experiences provided by the LEND program are unparalleled. This is a truly unique experience. I feel confident that I will leave this program having grown immensely as a pediatric occupational therapist and as a member of an interdisciplinary team. I will go out into the community as a more competent and confident clinician, researcher, and advocate for my clients.