Meet The April 2022 OTD Student Of The Month: Deanna Padilla

Deanna Padilla

WNE CoPHS Student of the Month Spotlight:   April 2022

Deanna Padilla, OT2 Doctor of Occupational Therapy Student from Springfield, MA.

Meet Deanna Padilla! Deanna is a second-year occupational therapy student who is being recognized for her immense growth in the program through her dedication, hard work, time commitment, and passion for producing thoughtful and well-researched work. Her love and strong interest in pediatric practice is evident and demonstrates empathy, creativity, and professionalism with the children she works with. She serves as volunteer for Aqua Buddies, accompanying children in the pool to ensure safety and performing various activities to increase comfort and play.  She is also a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA). While in graduate school, Deanna works as a Behavior Technician for Behavior Services of Western Massachusetts and is a Junior Varsity High School Cheerleading Coach for Springfield International Charter School, Springfield, MA. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Wellness and Occupational Studies from the University of New England in 2020. Deanna was nominated for Student of the Month by her Professors, Dr. Erin Wells, Dr. Brittany Adams, and Dr. Debra Latour.

Interview with Deanna:

Why did you choose Western New England University?

After touring and learning about all the fieldwork experiences and pediatric courses, I decided to put in my deposit the next day. I was born and raised in Springfield so after spending 4 years in Maine for my undergrad, I was ready to come home.

Please share your thoughts about the occupational therapy program at Western New England University.

I would have never thought I would be getting a doctorate in Occupational Therapy. However, I have made the most amazing and supportive friends and met the amazing faculty who want all of their students to succeed. I love that this program is very hands-on with having labs and fieldwork experiences every semester. Having a fieldwork opportunity every semester is something that makes this program amazing. This program is always looking to improve and gives students a voice in their education, which does not happen with all programs. I will forever be grateful for the relationships I’ve made and the opportunities I’ve gotten through my time at WNEU.

What are your current career aspirations?

Early Intervention services is something I have been passionate about since I learned about the field of Occupational Therapy. I also hope to develop caregiver and baby classes to help with infant development and the infant-caregiver bond.

What advice would you provide to a student considering occupational therapy for a career?

My advice would be to get as much experience in all of the populations and settings that the field of Occupational Therapy is involved in. Since I have a strong passion for pediatrics, all of my observation hours have been in the pediatric field. However, when it comes down to your adult classes, adult fieldwork placement, and taking the board exam, having experience in the adult population will be beneficial. My last piece of advice is to always give yourself positive affirmations and self-talk because if it is your passion, don’t let anything stop you from reaching your career dreams. 

Deanna’s Faculty Advisor, Minna Levine, OTD, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, shared the following thoughts:

Deanna has a strong commitment to bringing OT to children who need the services, no matter their personal circumstances, and is doing great work to make our clinic available for kids. She is a great asset to our program.

Learn more about the opportunities available to our students by visiting our student organizations page here.