University News

Anne Wepfer Accepted Into AOTA Summer Institute of Future Scientists

Published: July 28, 2022 | Categories: All News, Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Anne Wepfer outside the Blake Law Center

Class of 2023 Doctor of Occupational Therapy student, Anne Wepfer, is one of a select group of students from across the country who was accepted into the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and American Occupational Therapy Foundation's (AOTF) 2022 Summer Institute of Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy.

"Being selected was really meaningful because I received recognition from a community which I am proud to be a part of," Wepfer said on receiving the award. "Furthermore, this experience has helped me narrow down my interests and determine my end of the year project - creating a workbook focused on upper limb absence."

Wepfer's long-term goal is to create a series of workbooks about each of the different issues and conditions that affect people. Her hope is that the publications will help people get the information they need wherever they may be.

Wepfer will participate in different sessions throughout the summer where she will meet with leading Occupational Therapy scientists to address different topics in research. The facilitators and mentors of the Institute will be composed of faculty and doctoral/post-doctoral students from established research programs around the nation. The program's intent is to further train and mentor future Occupational Therapy scientific researchers.

"It's made me realize how important research is and how it informs practice and advances equity and justice," said Wepfer. "It is great to be immersed in an environment with so many people who share my same passion – to change the world."

Rapidly changing healthcare systems are demanding more of entry-level occupational therapy practitioners. The WNE OTD curriculum is meeting this call by providing academic preparation beyond the generalist level, including advanced graduate knowledge, skills, and fieldwork and experiential opportunities.

"We are so proud of Anne for following her passion for research not only within the OTD program but also by pursuing external opportunities such as the Future Scientists Institute," said Dr. Brittany Adams, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, Chair of Occupational Therapy, and OTD Program Director. "Evidence-based practice is an important part of what we do as Occupational Therapists, but it can be challenging to do if the existing research is lacking. The Summer Institute is equipping Anne, and other OT students, with the necessary supports to address this need in our profession."