Jaclyn Stephens is an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Occupational Therapy. She recently moved to Fort Collins after completing her postdoctoral fellowship at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Learn more about why she came to CSU and her research interests in mild traumatic brain injury.
- What brought you to the Department of Occupational Therapy at CSU?
The Department of Occupational Therapy has an incredible mix of talented instructors, therapists, and researchers. I knew that, in this department, I could find the mentorship and support I needed to become a successful faculty member, and they have already made me feel right at home.
- What are your research interests and how did you get into that topic?
I am interested in mild traumatic brain injury, and more specifically, sports related concussion. This topic is particularly important to me because, as an occupational therapist and former athlete, I understand how meaningful participation in sports and other high-risk activities is for children and adults. Furthermore, as a cognitive neuroscientist, I can use neuroimaging tools to discover how the brain changes as a result of injury. Through my research efforts, I hope to improve understanding of sports related concussion and facilitate safer return to play for adolescent and young adult athletes.
- What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy has been influenced by my occupational therapy practice. Just like occupational therapy clients, students have individual strengths and weaknesses, and I feel like it is my responsibility to help them capitalize on their strengths and also improve where they can. I want my students to be as successful as possible and feel passionate about learning new material – just as I felt when I was a student. I try to avoid treating a classroom of students as a homogenous unit, but rather I work to elicit unique contributions from all students to help create a dynamic learning environment.
- What’s your favorite thing about campus?
I’m originally from the Midwest, and winters are pretty brutal. Around November, college campuses can get pretty bleak, and it seems like everyone hunkers down and waits for spring. I’m really excited about the Colorado sunshine and beautiful scenery surrounding campus. I’m really looking forward to experiencing all four seasons here.