Oval in summertime

Occupational Therapy Newsletter | Spring 2021

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

From the Department Head

Anita Bundy Outdoor PortraitDear Alumni and Friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Occupations, the newsletter for Colorado State University’s Department of Occupational Therapy.

Spring has finally sprung. And, as is common in the Rockies, spring meant tulips and crocuses poking out of snow. One day, the temperature was 80 degrees and the next it was 32 degrees. I am reluctant to remove the mitts from my bicycle handlebars; I’ve ridden home recently in far too many snowstorms.

CSU-OT navigated the end of the school year with grace. During spring semester, following strict guidelines, we held many classes on campus. Student laughter and talking in the halls and classrooms was unbelievably welcome to my ears. Even so, we continued to conduct many activities online, including graduation for our 2021 master’s and Ph.D. classes. We’ve gotten really good at virtual events.

While COVID-19 made some aspects of life extraordinarily difficult, it continues to lead us to new ways of doing things. Fieldwork is a great example. Alison Herman and Debi Krogh-Michna, our amazing fieldwork team, began thinking seriously about Level II student experiences in emerging practice sites (i.e., places that do not employ occupational therapists but where OT could be a good fit). We are now seeking retired or part-time therapists who would be willing to donate eight hours per week over a semester to supervise students in emerging practice areas that we identify. Patty Stutz-Tanenbaum, our recently retired academic fieldwork supervisor, graciously agreed to mentor volunteer therapist supervisors. If you are interested, contact Alison Herman.

In this newsletter, we describe some of our recent events and accomplishments. We report on the 19th Annual Knowledge Exchange, conducted virtually. We highlight some of our CSU-OT researchers, including Dr. Yawen Yu’s and Dr. Shelly Lane’s new labs; an innovative assessment created by Dr. Karen Atler; and the continued work of Dr. Caiti Peters at the Temple Grandin Equine Center. We draw attention to outstanding students, recent graduates, and alumni: Maria Steffen, Taylor Babcock, Dr. Rebecca Lassell, Teresa Boynton, and Maddy Gardner. Enjoy the stories.

As always, I welcome your feedback. We also invite you to send us your personal and professional updates. I’m looking forward to once again welcoming you in person to CSU-OT. Go Rams!

Anita Bundy, Department Head

Department News

A person looking at a shelf in virtual reality

Occupational therapy program experiences new developments in a continually growing field

OT continues to make strides in moving the program and field forward in many ways, including exciting research, space for the new doctoral program, and virtual innovation.

Research and Outreach

Graphic of a woman thinking

New tool helps people with chronic mental health problems enrich lives

A new study has demonstrated that for people with chronic mental health conditions, sometimes simple changes to daily routines can significantly improve their quality of life.

A girl on a horse with a helper

Research begins at new Fort Collins Temple Grandin Equine Center facility

The doors of the newly constructed Temple Grandin Equine Center opened in February to begin providing equine-assisted services to community members.

Antoine Bailliard

OT spotlights mental health and meaningful participation at annual Knowledge Exchange

OT’s Annual Knowledge Exchange provided exciting virtual learning opportunities for the occupational therapy community.


Rebecca Lassell outdoor portrait in front of a tree

Ph.D. graduate: A love for horses influences Rebecca Lassell’s career path

Adaptive horseback riding and gardening provided many rewarding opportunities for research and smiles from individuals living with dementia.

Taylor Babcock on the CSU Oval

OT outstanding graduate strives to make a difference in children’s lives

Taylor Babcock has worked through the pandemic to continue to make a positive impact on children with disabilities.

CSU Tiny House

Student-led tiny house project lays foundation for affordable housing conversations

CSU students representing eight different majors teamed up to construct a tiny house on wheels outside the Nancy Richardson Design Center.


Teresa Boynton hiking in New Zealand

Award-winning occupational therapy alumna gives back to CSU

Teresa Boynton, Occupational Therapy alumna, donor, and Alumni Association member, has been a strong advocate for safety in patient care throughout her career.

Maddy Gardner

Young Alumni Q&A: Maddy Gardner

Maddy Gardner works with clients in their home or out in the community addressing home safety, fall prevention, health maintenance, and rehabilitation from injury or illness.


If you are not already receiving our email newsletter, you can subscribe online.