OT Building with leafy tree in front

Occupational Therapy Newsletter
Fall 2021 Recap

The Occupational Therapy newsletter publishes twice per year, in January and June.

From the Department Head Anita Bundy

Outdoor portrait of Anita Bundy

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Occupations, the newsletter for CSU’s Department of Occupational Therapy. Fall semester is always exciting – and Fall 2021 was no exception. CSU-OT returned fully to campus. We welcomed our final MOT student cohort and new faculty member, Dr. Jennifer Weaver. In preparation for admitting our first professional doctorate (O.T.D.) class, Dr. Andy Persch and our Admissions Committee created a holistic admissions procedure designed to increase diversity in our student body by giving greater consideration to applicant experience.

2021 was also bittersweet. After more than 30 years of service, staff members Barb Ball and Linda McDowell retired, leaving big holes in our hearts and gaps in our institutional knowledge. We miss them more than I can say. Fortunately, we welcomed new staff members, Cassie Phelps (Front Desk Coordinator) and Caroline Bilsky (Graduate Coordinator), and celebrated staff member Beth Webster’s expanded role to Business Coordinator and Financial Officer and graduation from CSU’s College of Business with her MBA.

I continue to feel grateful for having the honor of leading this amazing department. In this Fall-Recap newsletter, you will read stories of several extraordinary students and new graduates. Ph.D. students Patricia Grady-Dominguez and Susan Mingils were named 2021 Dean’s Fellows. Two fellows each year are selected from the entire College of Health and Human Sciences. The story of MOT student Kim Rousseau-Simmons’ journey to occupational therapy from the corporate world, bringing inspiring ”big ideas,” is fascinating. Since Kim’s story appeared in CSU’s SOURCE, she was selected for the College’s Graduate Student Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion award. New graduates, Kalena Giessler-Gonzalez and Shannon Perrins live widely different, but equally impressive, lives as CSU-OT graduates.

In this newsletter, you’ll also read about awe-inspiring work that CCP-based OT, Natalie Rolle, is doing with faculty member, Dr. Aaron Eakman. Enjoy the story on the continuing education course promoting sleep hygiene that Natalie and Aaron teach through CSU-Online. In Fall 2021, Natalie won an award from NBCOT for her innovative work in sleep. Kudos to Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado (OTAC) president, Linda Crawford, for nominating Natalie. (You’ll also find Linda’s influence in Shannon Perrin’s story.) Finally, you’ll read about Dr. Aaron Eakman’s selection as a Fulbright Scholar and his subsequent travel to Japan where he carried out sleep research.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you. I also invite you to send your personal and professional updates. I’m so pleased to, once again, welcome you in person to CSU-OT. Please take me up on it. Go Rams!


Outdoor portrait of Patricia Grady

OT doctoral student named Dean’s Fellow for her work with sensory integration

Patricia Grady-Dominguez is one of two students to receive the 2021-22 Dean’s Fellowship from the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Aaron Eakman

Aaron Eakman one of five Fulbright scholars for Fall 2021

Aaron Eakman will complete his Fulbright scholarship work in Japan, with the objective of determining the prevalence and nature of sleep disturbances in Japanese OT students.

Outdoor portrait of Susan Mingils

Doctoral student awarded Dean’s Fellowship for music therapy research

Read the interview with Susan Mingils to learn more about her exploration into the exciting possibilities of rhythmic entrainment.

Cover of the Health and Human Science Matters podcast

Arlene Schmid featured in new podcast on the impact of CSU Health and Human Sciences research

Podcasts have been exploding across the entertainment sector for several years, and now the Colorado State University College of Health and Human Sciences is unveiling its own to be added to your queue.


Outdoor portrait of Natalie Rolle

CSU occupational therapist receives prestigious award for her dedication to sleep health

Natalie Rolle has spent the better part of her career advocating for the sleep health of her clients and working tirelessly to establish programs and trainings that promote healthy sleep.

A screenshot of the zoom session for the cognitive behavioral therapy class

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia – Register for continuing education course

CBT-I for occupational therapy (CBT-I for OT) is a continuing education course designed to prepare the OT practitioner for the supervised delivery of CBT-I to adults.


kalena Giessler smiling on a hiking trail

Outstanding OT grad conducts concussion research, advocates for diversity in the field

Kalena Giessler Gonzalez was involved in important concussion research and was a founding member and president of the CSU chapter of Diverse-OT.

Shannon Perrins outside a cabin in the snow

OT outstanding graduate makes the most of pandemic challenges

Like so many students, Shannon Perrins has been faced with many challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted her master’s degree in occupational therapy.

Indoor portrait of Kimberly Rousseau Simmons

How a bank job made this CSU student decide to change the world through occupational therapy

Kimberly Rousseau-Simmons wants to change the world in a way that’s more tangible than just watching from behind a desk.


Outdoor portrait of Katie Townsend

Young Alumni Q & A: Katie Townsend

Katie Townsend is a double alumna of Colorado State University, earning her undergraduate degree in sociology in 2006 and her degree in OT from the Department of Occupational Therapy in 2017.

Erica Jacoby smiling

Young Alumni Q & A: Erica Jacoby

Erica Jacoby graduated with her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University in 2018. Following that, she completed a LEND Fellowship at CU Anschutz in 2019.


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