News & Stories
Carly Robinson
June 14, 2023

Real-World Training Positions Psychology Major for Career as Occupational Therapist

The semester before graduation, Carly Robinson ’23 finalized her next career move: graduate studies in occupational therapy at Augusta University. “I would love to work in an outpatient pediatric clinic one day, working with children with cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disorders,” she says. “I also have a dream of opening a home or day home for adults with disabilities where we will do fun, beneficial things like grow vegetables and plants to sell in the community.”

Carly’s dreams are within reach, thanks to academics she could tailor to her goals, hands-on experiences and selfless mentors at Berry. “I knew psychology interested me and is a common degree for people who go into occupational therapy. I wanted to get the minor in applied behavior analysis (ABA) because I knew ABA therapy was an effective treatment for children with autism and wanted to use it in practice in my future career.”

By her junior year, Carly confirmed her professional path because of a nearby internship at Advance Rehab for Kids, where she assisted an occupational therapist. “I learned how to assess clients, create treatment plans, deliver services, interact with parents, deal with insurance and discontinue services,” Carly says. “This internship cemented my career aspirations and gave me firsthand experience with children who have special needs in a treatment setting.”

The following summer, she interned at Joni & Friends in El Salvador, where she worked with physical therapists and their clients while getting perspective on health care in a different culture. She was able to use her Spanish language skills to facilitate communication with patients.

Carly deepened her knowledge through a coveted Synovus Grant, which supports the academic and personal development of exceptional students early in their career. “I taught a nonverbal child with autism to make requests using an iPad. This area of research is extremely important, as those with autism often have deficits in communication skills,” Carly explains. She presented a poster of her work at conferences, including the Georgia Association for Behavior Analysis Conference.

She adds that mentors like Miguel Ampuero, assistant professor of psychology, offered encouragement. “Dr. Ampuero is an ABA professor and mentored me and contributed to my development more than I can share!” Carly says. “I took his ABA course in my freshman year, and he saw potential in me, going on to hire me as a teaching assistant. He also encouraged me to do research, helping me through every step.”

Because of Ampuero, she gained lifelong skills like time management, perseverance, problem-solving and ways to interact with persons with disabilities and their parents in a caring, professional manner. He was instrumental in recommendations to graduate programs. Carly says, “Dr. Ampuero pushed and challenged me beyond my expectations for myself and believed in me through it all.”

 Back to Top

Footer Menu