Larson named ND Occupational Therapy Association’s Student of the Year

Document Type

News Article

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Campus Unit

School of Medicine & Health Sciences


Sydney Larson was named the North Dakota Occupational Therapy Association’s 2016 Student of the Year. From Hazen, N.Dak., she is a second-year student pursuing a Master of Occupational Therapy degree through the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Occupational Therapy.

Larson was nominated for the award by Associate Professor Sarah Nielsen, PhD, OTR/L, and Instructor Bobbi Carrlson, MOT, OTR/L. The following is from Nielsen and Carrlson’s nomination letter in which they note Larson’s substantial qualifications for the award:

Sydney is active in several professional student activities. With regard to occupational therapy, Sydney is the president of Pi Theta Epsilon (the OT honor society). She is a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association, where she has taken an active role as team captain for the UND OT Spin for Kids team. Sydney also served as a mentor to pre-OT students, has been the social chair for her class, chair for the UND OT Workshop and Luncheon, and served as an interviewer for the OT admissions process. Academically, she excels and has been recognized as the recipient of community and OT department scholarships. She has been selected as a teaching assistant for the courses in Anatomy, Quantitative Research, and OT with Infants and Preschool Children. Sydney also demonstrates commitment to the future of occupational therapy by her collaboration with a faculty member and clinician on a study related to falls in nursing homes. She recently collaborated with two faculty members and another student on an article titled "OT and OTA Students: Make the Most of Your Level I Fieldwork Experiences," which was published in OT Practice.

Sydney highly values contributing to her community, which for her at this time is the University community. In this capacity, she serves as a student ambassador and was recently named Student Ambassador of the Month. She is active in the Catholic Medical Association and serves as a eucharistic minister and facilitator of Bible studies at the UND Newman Center. She is a member of the UND Marching Band, Hockey Band, and Drumline.

Sydney has a strong history of volunteering and work experiences. In addition to volunteer experiences described earlier, she currently volunteers with refugees in the community as a part of her academic work. Sydney is always eager and willing to volunteer her time in the OT department. Her work experiences include after-school programming, being a note taker for students with disabilities, swimming pool assistant manager, and daycare assistant manager.

In summary, we have nominated Sydney for this award because of her dedication to the profession of occupational therapy that is highly evident in the activities described above. Sydney always has a smile on her face and shares her passion for occupational therapy with others. We look forward to watching Sydney grow as she becomes an occupational therapist.