It’s been exactly one month since Spalding commencement on June 2, so that’s a great time to hear more from one of our 2018 graduates, Rico Thomas, about his Spalding experience.
Rico Thomas, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
Hometown: Lexington, Tenn.
Undergraduate institution: University of Tennessee-Martin, bachelor’s in exercise science
What’s it feel like to put the cap and gown on?
It’s kind of surreal honestly. We all talked about this for the past 2 1/2 years, but it’s surreal because we had a lot of assignments due leading right up to commencement. Then it’s like, ‘Wow, this is it. We’re actually doing it.’ We’re still in this zone of, ‘Did this really happen?’ But it’s a good feeling. It’s exciting. I feel like our hard work is showing.
What did you think of the program here at Spalding and the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy?
The OT program here at Spalding, the first thing I would say is that it’s very flexible and it’s very tailored (to accommodate) for anything you have going on. If you’re very busy, they can definitely accommodate that. That’s one thing that I like about the program. All the faculty members, they are there for you and there to help you. It’s just a wholesome program, and they actually care about you. That’s one thing I looked for in a program. I also looked at the dynamic between the faculty. That shows if they work together to create a program that’s beneficial for their students. This one has been nothing but beneficial to me.
What will be your specialty?
Pediatrics, I think.
What fieldwork have you been doing?
The last one I just finished was in an acute-care setting at Jewish Hospital, which was different from pediatrics, but I loved the experience I got. Here coming, I’m going to start studying for my (National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy) boards, and that’s what I’ll be focusing on – in order to pass those and be able to practice.
My first Level II fieldwork was at the Wendell Foster’s Campus for Developmental Disabilities: Assistive Technology Center in Owensboro, Ky. I absolutely loved it. The pediatric population there was so diverse.
One aspect of your pediatric training at Spalding was being involved with the KITE (Kosair Integrated Technology Experience) camps and enTECH (Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana assistive technology resource center). What did you think of that program and facility? Would you recommend them to parents of children with special needs?
I would definitely refer them to enTECH. It gets a lot of parents to meet other parents. It introduces those kids to being around other people. That helps with a lot of the social aspects when you’re doing things. I enjoy that aspect of it, and I’m definitely going to tell my parents (of clients) that you need to check out KITE. It’s a really good thing for your child to come and be themselves for a day and enjoy themselves, all while working with students who are learning and enjoying what they’re learning. It’s a great place to be.
Where do you hope to get a job?
Hopefully here in Louisville, but if not, I’m willing to relocate. I love to travel. Travel therapy is a good way to see other parts of the country but also give back to what I want to do.