Meet The December 2021 OTD Student Of The Month: Michaela Gallagher

Micheala Gallagher

Student of the Month Spotlight:  December 2021

Michaela Gallagher

OT2 Doctor of Occupational Therapy Candidate from East Sandwich, MA.

Meet Michaela Gallagher! Michaela is a second-year occupational therapy student who is being recognized for her service within the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences student organizations. She serves as Student Representative for the Massachusetts Association of Occupational Therapy, is co-President of the College’s chapter of Inspired Minds (which works with individuals experiencing traumatic brain injuries to promote community engagement), is the Student Representative for the WNE OTD Curriculum Committee, and volunteers as a WNE OTD Student Ambassador. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science Studies with a minor in Psychology from Quinnipiac University in 2020. Michaela was nominated for Student of the Month by her classmate Avery Fornaciari.

Interview with Michaela:

Why did you choose Western New England University?

When I was applying into graduate schools for occupational therapy, Western New England University was always my top choice. I looked into this school since both my father and my uncle attended this university for their master's degrees in business. When I toured this school, its aesthetic reminded me of my undergraduate school campus (Quinnipiac University) and made me feel as if I belonged there. After seeing the OT labs and hearing about what this program had to offer, I knew that this program was the perfect fit for me. 

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

Throughout my time here at WNE, I have made the most amazing friends and met the most amazing professors. Everyone I have met is helping guide me towards success as a future occupational therapist.  In this program, there are a mix of lecture and lab classes. In our lecture classes, we are taught the fundamentals of OT; in our labs we are able to learn through hands-on experiences. I have also been able to learn through the fieldwork opportunities that this program provides for us. Each semester of fieldwork correlates with the population that we are learning about in the classroom, so I am able to take the knowledge that I am learning in class and apply it a clinical or educational setting. This program has also provided me with a multitude of opportunities to become involved in clubs and organizations.  Overall, I believe that I am receiving an amazing education.

 What are your current career aspirations?

 As I was completing my observation hours to apply into graduate programs for OT, I was able to observe an OT that specializes in hand therapy. Since then, I have become fascinated by this specialization and have decided that I want to pursue it. As of now, my goal is to become an occupational therapist that specializes in hand therapy in an outpatient setting. 

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

Get as many observation hours with an OT as you can. I feel as though the knowledge I gained in my observations prior to school has helped me in my courses. Those observation hours solidified my decision of wanting to become an OT. Another piece of advice would be to take every opportunity to learn about anything related to OT. Every piece of information that you learn will benefit your future. My last piece of advice is to never give up on your career dreams.

Michaela’s Faculty Advisor, Erin Murray, OTD, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, shared the following thoughts:

Michaela is an excellent student and leader within the OTD program.  She is always willing to assist her fellow classmates and also serves as a peer mentor. Michaela is truly deserving of student of the month, and I am proud to be her advisor and research mentor!

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