Outstanding grad plans to pursue her occupational therapy career in Denver

Anna Fox (left) and her mom (right) smiling in a photo out by a waterway at a natural area
Anna Fox (left) and her mom (right).

Anna Fox always considered Colorado as her second home. Graduating with a master’s degree from the Colorado State University Department of Occupational Therapy, Fox is so grateful for the opportunity to complete her master’s at a nationally renowned program in such a beautiful state.

“Growing up, my family and I would come to Colorado to visit my grandparents, exploring the mountains especially!” said Fox. “I knew it would feel like home. I love the community, the blue skies, and the people of Colorado, and that’s what drew me in.”

Starting something new

Starting school and a new life was intimidating for Fox after moving to Colorado by herself. She was nervous to start school in a new place with new people.

“At the start of my program, I experienced a lot of anxiety around being in a new place and while I had connections in Denver, nobody was in Fort Collins,” said Fox. “Most of my family lives in Southern California and it was difficult to be away from them. This program has marked a period of extreme growth for me, professionally and personally, that was not always easy to manage.”

Anna Fox and her fellow Occupational Therapy students
Fox and her fellow OT graduate students.

After meeting and connecting with her classmates, Fox’s uncertainty lifted. The support she received from her fellow classmates and faculty members was incredible.

“The kindness, encouragement, compassion, and collaboration I have received from my classmates is unbelievable. Many of them have broadened my perspectives of people and experiences and has made my professional and personal identity so much richer,” said Fox. “The frequency and quality of support from the faculty is unmatched. From day one, these incredible researchers and educators have provided inspiration and challenges while maintaining support and care. They have provided opportunities, classes, and conversations that have opened my eyes and my heart.”

Getting involved at CSU

Fox served the Fort Collins community in the Center for Community Partnerships, an outreach program in the Department of Occupational Therapy, where she provided mentorship to young adults with disabilities in the Empowerment Program, supervised by Megan Wolff and Holly Darnell. She is also a part of the Student Occupational Therapy Association and the Pi Theta Epsilon Honor Society.  Fox has had the opportunity to contribute to research done by classmates and faculty including research surrounding yoga and mental health.

“Throughout the program, I am especially grateful for my work experience as a graduate assistant for the occupational therapy department,” said Fox. “The mentorship and support I’ve felt from my supervisor, Barb Ball, OT’s financial officer and assistant to the department head,, has greatly impacted me and allowed me to pursue experiences beyond what I could have imagined.”

Future plans

The occupational therapy students make the shape of a heart using their arms and hands over a virtual call in response to the campus moving to online classes because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Occupational therapy students make a heart over a virtual video call during their online class.

After graduating from CSU, Fox says she will miss the community of both CSU and Fort Collins. She will also miss walks around the Oval with classmates and the growth she gained through the classes she took and the professors she learned from.

“Most of all, I will miss the people, both classmates and faculty, that have been foundational in my personal and professional identity,” said Fox.

Fox plans to move to Denver to begin her career as an occupational therapist. After completing her last field rotation at Swedish Hospital in the fall, Fox hopes to pursue a career in rehabilitation helping adults recover from an injury or illness and regain participation in day-to-day activities.  One day, she hopes to advocate for occupational therapy in new settings to help individuals with chronic conditions live better and more meaningful lives.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Fox says that this tough time has given her a deeper connection with her fellow classmates who understand what this uncertain and vulnerable time feels like. She also has gained a new perspectives on the importance of supportive communities and how to support others by providing space for uncertainty

“Most of all, I have learned that being present and living intentionally moment to moment is truly all we can ever do,” said Fox. “I often try to gain a sense of control over my life and my future and this time has taught me to trust others and the universe to provide exactly what I need, even when I don’t know it.”

The Department of Occupational Therapy is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.