Kean OT - In the Spotlight!

We are proud to announce that the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) has awarded the Occupational Therapy Program at Kean University with a 10 year period of accreditation for meeting the standards of the Master's Degree Level Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist. The 10 year period of accreditation is the highest level of achievement possible to attain, ensuring the quality education this program provides for future entry level occupational therapists. Only 30% of programs earn this level of accreditation. Thank you to all who worked diligently throughout this process, thus making accreditation a success!
Click here for the ACOTE 2014 Official Findings report.
“This is a very exciting time for the OT department, Kean University and the profession,” said Dr. Laurie Knis-Matthews, chair and professor of the Department of Occupational Therapy. “Our 10-year accreditation from ACOTE is a reflection of the world-class education students receive in our program.”

Kean University Occupational Therapy Community Cares Clinic
The Department of Occupational Therapy is proud to announce that the occupational therapy clinic has been operating since Fall 2014. This state of the art facility provides occupational therapy for individuals from the community. Clients are from across the lifespan with a variety of needs, including children and youth, rehabilitation and disability, mental health, productive aging, and health and wellness services. Moreover, occupational therapy students utilize the clinic to practice hands-on skills being taught in the classroom, to create splints, lead Community Partnership & Service programming with clients, and as a possible fieldwork placement. Kean University Occupational Therapy is the only program in the tristate to have its very own onsite clinic.  For more information on the Kean University Occupatioanl Therapy Community Cares Clinic, please click here

What’s New in the Department?
Please click here to read about all of the wonderful news and accomplishments happening in the Department of Occupational Therapy, via the Annual MOTEC report.

News & Events

Click to view our past events
2015 2014
2013 2012
2011 2010


April 2017

Congratulations to Kean OT's 3 Minute Thesis Winners!

The OT department swept the Kean University 3-Minute Thesis Competition on April 25th! Eric Gingsburg took home the People's Choice award, Monica Franklin was runner-up, and Teressa Cali won with her presentation on health perceptions of older adults in the community. Congratulations to all! Go OT!


2017 AOTA Annual Conference and Centennial Celebration

From Thursday March 30th through Sunday April 2nd, Kean OT students, faculty, and alumni came together to attend the 2017 American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) national conference and to celebrate the 100th year of OT as a profession. Check out the pictures below of the Kean OT family enjoying, learning, and presenting at this year's conference!

Celebrating 100 years of OT at the Kean Alumni Reception with past and current students.

Dr. Knis-Matthews with Kean Alumni Danielle, Marlee, and Katie at poster resentations.

1st and 2nd year students excitedly awaiting the start of the opening ceremony. Time to celebrate!

Dr. Jennifer Gardner and Kean alumni presenting their research on the sensory preferences of wellness center members. 

Geraldine Pagaoa, Thais Petrocelli, Dr. Knis-Matthews and 2nd year students present on the clinic's academic fieldwork program.

Dr. Claire Mulry and students Mark and Alex presenting their research on community mobility for older adults.

First year students Chrissy, Olivia, and Feby meeting Michael Iwama, the creator of the Kawa Model!

Dr. Mariann Moran presenting research on comparing a goniometer with an app on a smart phone. 

Thais Petrocelli, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator presenting on
"Starting a Successful Fieldwork Program in an Academic Community-Based Clinical Setting"

January 2017

Kean OT Student in the Spotlight!
We are excited to share that one of our Kean OT students is on the cover of the winter edition of Hippotherapy magazine! Aly completed one of her level II fieldwork experiences at a facility that provides occupational therapy utilizing hippotherapy as a treatment strategy. The article inside the magazine highlights the collaboration between OT, speech therapy, and social work. Way to go, Aly! 

November 2016

Older Adult Prom

On Saturday, October 29th, the Kean University Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) held their first annual Older Adult Prom. It was a fun filled day of adaptive games, crafts, adaptive equipment trivia, and of course food and dancing! SOTA was so excited to collaborate with community partners to run this event and looks forward to hosting another prom next year!


Program Information Session

An information session for prospective students will be held on Monday, November 14, 2016 at 5:00PM on Kean University's East Campus (215 North Avenue in Hillside, NJ). Room location TBA. 

October 2016

Kean OT Students and NY Giants Unite to Fundraise!
On Monday, October 18th, Kean OT students joined NY Giants players in volunteering at Intensive Therapetics' 7th Annual Monday Night Bowling fundraiser. The event was hosted by Giants Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and riased money for the organization and its scholarships for families to receive their services. Kean students and faculty came together to support Intensive Therapetuics, a 501 (c) (3), non-profit, charitable organization founded and directed by Kean University alumnus, Scott Mathews. Intensive Therapeutics provides group and individual occupational therapy services to children with autism, hemiplegia, and other special needs. The organization was established in 2005 to address the needs of families who wanted individualized services by licensed professionals in a non-medical environment. Check out pictures of Kean students at the event!

September 2016

SOTA Advocates for OT and Walks for BIANJ

On Satuday, September 24th members of Kean's Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) attended the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey's (BIANJ) Walk for Brain Injury Awareness at Saddle River County Park in Paramus. SOTA members spent the morning speaking about the value of OT and how it can impact individuals with brain injury. They then joined the rest of the community in a walk to spread awareness for brain injury. SOTA raised nearly $1000 for this walk, with the proceeds benefiting individuals and families affected by brain injury. Go SOTA!


May 2016

Clinic's Paint Possibilities Class Featured in Union News Daily

On April 26th, the OT clinic hosted an adaptive painting class for individuals living with a brain injury. The class was created by our OT students and modeled after the popular Paint Nite and Sip and Paint classes. Paint Possibilities was taught by a graduate Fine Arts student while our OT students provided a variety of verbal, visual, auditory, and physical adaptations for participants as needed. Thank you to Elana Knopp for writing such a wonderful article in Union News Daily. Check it out here:


April 2016

SOTA Hosts BFF Breakfast for Families of Children with Autism

On Saturday April 23rd, Kean OT students and members of our Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) participated in the annual Breakfast for Families event. Families living with loved ones with Autism were invited to have breakfast and hear a lecture by our wonderful guest speaker, Elizabeth Duffy, OTR. The children participated in fun games and activities facilitated by our student volunteers. What a way to celebrate OT month!



7th Annual Kean University Young Athletes Day!

On Sunday, April 17th, the Department of Occupational Therapy hosted the 7th Annual Young Athletes Event at Harwood Arena on behalf of Special Olympics New Jersey. Over 50 families and young athletes enjoyed the sport and play program with the help of 175 Kean student volunteers! Check out some photos below of some athletes enjoying the day and our OT student volunteers. These photos were captured by our Kean student photographer, Melissa Mercado. 


For more pictures, see this link, courtesy of Special Olympics NJ.

January 2016

Community Partnerships & Service Learning: Spring 2016 Courses

Every spring semester, our first-year OT students participate in a program called Community Partnerships and Service Learning in which they are tasked with implementing occupational therapy interventions for community partners under the supervision of licensed and/or credential professionals. Several courses for various populations are being offered this spring. Check out the flyer below or click here for information on each class. 


November 2015

Clinic Summer Camp Featured in NJ People & Families Magazine

This past summer, the Kean Community Cares Clinic hosted a "Steps to Your Future" summer camp for teens with Autism. The camp provided a 3-day college immersion experience to give participants a glimpse of college life. The teens slept in the Kean dorms, attended classes, did their own laundry, and cooked their own meals, all under the supervision of liscensed occupational therapy faculty. Each camper was paired with a Kean OT student to help him/her learn everyday skills and become more independent. The camp was featured in NJ People & Families Magzine's Fall 2015 issue. Check out the article here!


Intensive Therapeutics' Monday Night Bowling with NY Giants

On Monday, November 2nd, Kean OT students joined NY Giants players in volunteering at Intensive Therapeutics' 6th Annual Monday Night Bowling fundraiser. The event, hosted by Giants Linebacker J.T. Thomas, was held to raise money for a playground at Intensive Therapeutics' new location in West Caldwell.

Intensive Therapeutics is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit, charitable organization that provides group and individual occupational therapy services to children with autism and hemiplegia. The organization was established in 2005 to address the needs of families who wanted individualized services by licensed professionals in a non-medical environment. Scott Matthews, founder and executive director of Intensive Therapeutics, is a Kean University alumnus.



September 2015

Hill Day 2015

On September 28, 2015, Professor Mariann Moran accompanied our occupational therapy students to AOTA Capitol Hill Day in Washington D.C., where occupational therapists from around the country united to advocate and lobby for their profession. The goal of this annual event is to ensure that policies support therapists' practice as well as client access to services. This year, AOTA asked participants to focus on OT's unique role in the healthcare system, its distinct role in the mental health field and the need to be included in mental health legislature, and enhancing the importance of rehabilitation research at the NIH. Kean University's occupational therapy students had the opportunity to participate in this advocacy event. Our Kean University OT students are shown below with the AOTA president, Dr. Virginia Stoffel and outside of the Capitol. 



OT Students Rock the Research Day Competition!

As a part of Kean Research Day 2015 this past April 2015, 2nd year Occupational Therapy students participated in the Three Minute Thesis competition in which they presented their yearlong research projects to the Kean University community. The OT students won three awards during this tournament-style competition. Leanne Suero earned 1st place, Leora Ohevshalom took 2nd place, and Theodora Church was awarded the People’s Choice Award. Research Day 2015 was a great success for the OT department and wonderful means to advocate for the OT profession. 


June 2015

OT Department Hosts 5th Annual CarFit Event

The Department of Occupational Therapy hosted its 5th annual CarFit event on Wednesday, June 10th 2015 at the Nathan Weiss Graduate College. CarFit is a fun, free, and educational event that gives mature drivers the opportunity to fit the safest, and most comfortable "fit" for their vehicle. The event was coordinated by OT department professors Dr. Jennifer Gardner, Dr. Claire Mulry, and Dr. Mariann Moran. 31 Kean OT students became certified CarFit technicians. 



May 2015

OT Clinic & Program Highlighted in Cover Story for ADVANCE 

The April 2015 edition of ADVANCE for Occupational Therapy Practitioners, a well-known OT magazine, featured a cover story on our Kean University Occupational Therapy Community Cares Clinic and OT program here at Kean. The cover story presents student and faculty perspectives on the benefits of the clinic, how and why the clinic was developed, the clinic's mission on fulfilling the needs of the community, and how the clinic is integrated into the coursework of the students here at Kean. The article can be located by clicking here.


April 2015

SOTA: Funded Group of the Year

The 1st place title of "Funded Group of the Year" was awarded to the Student Occupational Therapy Association!


AOTA 2015

Kean OT faculty, students and alumni traveled to Nashville, TN to present at and enjoy this year's AOTA conference. Several students also had the opportunity to meet occupational therapists, Winnie Dunn and Linda Kohlman!


SOTA Hosts BFF Breakfast for Families of Children with Autism



The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) recently hosted their annual BFF breakfast at Kean, inviting families of children with Autism to come and enjoy a delicious breakfast while also meeting and learning from other families. The student volunteers arranges several fun activities for the children, while parents listened to guest speaker Kerry Magro, an acclaimed speaker, author, and Autism advocate. You can read about Kerry's experience at Kean and watch a short video clip of his speech by clicking this link

OT Clinic & Department in the News

The Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey highlighted the grand opening of KU's Occupational Therapy Community Cares Clinic in their weekly "Business Beat" e-newsletter. Take a look!
Also, featured our department's involvement with Recovery High. Recovery High is a high school, located on Kean's campus, for teens recovering from addictions. Dr. Jennifer Gardner, assistant professor in the department of OT, has been instrumental in helping design the sensory room described in this article. Furthermore, Dr. Gardner's involvement helped to establish a section of "Pathways to Success" at Recovery High. This program is a part of the graduate OT course “Community Partnerships & Service Learning.”  Graduate OT students design and lead groups that help the high school students learn skills that will support and progress their recovery journey. 

The OT clinic is in need of a yellow school bus. This means of transportation will benefit the PAR-FORE organization, community programs of the OT clinic, and healthcare programs at Kean University by providing consistent, safe transportation for local community members serviced by these programs.
KeanLIFT is Kean University’s crowd-donating platform which connects Kean students, faculty, and staff to friends who are interested in funding specific projects to help “lift” them to success.  Lack of transportation is currently the largest barrier to long-term attendance and sustainability of the PAR-FORE program.  Please visit the link to learn how you can help! Also, visit and "Like" PAR-FORE's Facebook page to learn more about the valuable services this program offers the at-risk youth of Newark.

March 2015

Three second year students, Danielle, Leanne and Alyssa, created a video to spread awareness about different populations that occupational therapists work with, including people who are homeless. This project was a part of their Administration, Supervision and Advocacy class, where students learn about the importance of advocating for clients and our profession. Check out their short video below!

January 2015

OT Department students and friends are invited to attend an exciting workshop entitled "Sensory Enhanced Yoga for Self Regulation and Trauma Healing". This workshop is geared towards OTs and other allied health and mental health professionals. No yoga experience necessary! Please see the flyer for more details.

Fall 2014

Congratulations Scholarship Recipients!


Six students in the Occupational Therapy Program received the Karen Stern Memorial Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. Pictured with Dr. Jennifer Gardner (far left) are the lucky recipients: Danna Lyons, Naomi Cohen, Ruth Ma, Zuzanna Dabek, Gonzalo Garcia, and Leora Ohevshalom. Congratulations to all of the scholarship winners and keep up the great work!

OT Department Hosts Continuing Education Course:

"Practices in a Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Within Rehabilitation Services" 


Therapists from as far as Pennsylvania and OT students from Kean, Columbia, and  Rutgers OTA program attended “Practices in a Complementary and Alternative Medicine within Rehabilitation Services” a continuing education course hosted by Kean University.  This course presented the evidence behind the effectiveness of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Yoga, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Tai chi/qigong and NIA to decrease in physical and psychological symptoms, increase ability to relax, reduce pain and enhance ability to cope with chronic pain, improve cognitive functioning, improve self-esteem and ability to cope more effectively with short and long term stressful situations, and assist our innate healing capacity.  Participants experience each of these modalities and left with the basic knowledge to apply these approaches into their treatment practice.  Above, participants involved with a  NIA  session.  

Posted 11/18/14

Students Advocate for Occupational Therapy!
As a part of coursework in the second year of the program, students advocate for the profession of occupational therapy or for the people occupational therapists serve.  This fall, Laura, Liz, and Jessica (pictured above), chose to carry out their advocacy project with Friendship Circle in Livingston, New Jersey. Friendship Circle is an organization that pairs typically developing teens with children with special needs ages 3-21 giving them a “buddy” to help them participate in events which might include arts and crafts activities, cooking, sports, and music.  Laure, Liz and Jessica advocated for occupational therapy by educating the volunteers on how to best work with and help their buddy during these events. Specifically, they were able to educate the volunteers on how occupational therapists enable children to participate in activities by upgrading (making it harder) or downgrading (making it easier) them. Ultimately, they hoped that by providing this education the volunteers could help the children to participate to their fullest potential and feel accomplished when completing the arts and crafts activities at Friendship Circle events.
Posted 11/6/14

OT Department at the Cougar Color 5K


We had a fantastic turnout, including many SOTA members, at the Cougar Color 5K on Sunday, October 19th! The proceeds of this fun event will go towards graudate scholarships and research in health sciences, education, and other fields represented in the Nathan Weiss Graduate College. We even tied with the Speech Language Pathology department for 1st place in the Cougar Cup, an award given to the group with the most runners and volunteers. Congratulations to everyone who participated! 



SOTA Students Participate in AOTA's "Hill Day"


On September 15th, 2014 members of the Student Occupational Therapy Association and Dr. Mariann Moran traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the American Occupational Therapy Association's annual "Hill day." This day gave Kean students the opportunity to advocate for the profession of occupational therapy alongside other occupational therapy students, clinicians, and educators. The "Hill Day" participants met with state lawmakers, offered solutions, asked questions, and listened to guest speakers all in the spirit of advocating for the profession. 


SOTA students with Dr. Virginia Stoffel, President of AOTA


Geraldine Pagaoa Named Clinic Director

Geraldine Pagaoa, an adjunct professor for the Occupational Therapy Department at Kean since 2006, has recently been appointed director of the Kean Community Cares Clinic. "We are fortunate to have someone with Geraldine Pagaoa's level of expertise lead the new OT clinic," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Beck, Dean of Kean's Nathan Weiss Graduate College. "In addition to having a great background in the field, Geri has the dual advantage of being very familiar with Kean and the local community, all quite strong assets for our program going forward." To read more about this exciting news for the OT Department and clinic, follow these links

Summer 2014  

Kessler Foundation and KUOT Team Up!


Dr. Claire Mulry with OT students, Alisha, Natanya, KF researcher Peii Chen PhD,Tarah, Leora and Melissa, along with Eun-Wha Jeong an OT from Konkuk University Medical Center in Korea

Graduate occupational therapy students from Kean are collaborating with Kessler Foundation for their thesis research project. Kessler Foundation, located in West Orange, New Jersey, specializes in rehabilitation research aimed to improve the quality of life for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. For their thesis, the students will work under the direction of Dr. Claire Mulry (thesis advisor), and Kimberly Hreha, MS, OTR/L. Ms. Hreha is a stroke clinical research coordinator from Kessler Foundation who contributes to stroke research and helped to develop the Kessler Foundation Neglect Assessment Process (KF-NAP™) along with director Anna M. Barrett, MD and Peii Chen, PhD. They developed the KF-NAP out of a need for an improved way to assess the presence of spatial neglect in clients following a stroke. Spatial neglect is a neurocognitive disorder that affects a person’s attentional control, perception of space, and motor actions, which may cause them to experience increased safety concerns, a decrease in independence during meaningful everyday activities, and longer hospital stays. The students and Dr. Mulry were recently trained in the administration and scoring of the KF-NAP™, which will be used as a part of their research to investigate the prevalence of right neglect among chronic community dwelling left brain stroke survivors. In addition to learning the KF-NAP, they also had the opportunity to learn about the use of prism adaptation treatment for neglect from researcher Peii Chen, PhD.    


Learing about prism adaptation with KF researcher Kimberly Hreha, MS, OTR/L

TraveLearn: Exploring Global Healthcare in China


In late May, a group of 11 graduate and undergraduate students studying Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Speech Therapy, Health Administration, Psychology and Counseling, led by Dr. Claire Mulry, assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy,  and Dr. Kathleen Neville of the Nursing Department visited China. The 10 day trip, spanning Beijing, Wenzhou, and Shanghai, was a part of a three credit graduate elective course that explored global healthcare and interprofessional learning.  While in China, the group was able to gather and share information in various healthcare settings including community clinics, large hospitals, schools for children with special needs and Kean's sister university, Wenzhou Kean.  Dr. Mulry and Dr. Neville each had the opportunity to speak to their medical peers about their practice areas, which offered all parties a chance to exchange insights regarding healthcare from both countries. During the visit, students and faculty were also able to visit sights such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Pearl Tower, and were hosted to a special dinner by the president of Wenzhou Kean.  




The Only University Occupational Therapy Clinic in the Tri-State Area

The recent completion of renovations to Kean University’s Nathan Weiss Graduate College included the creation of the Kean Community Cares clinic.  This clinic, the only university occupational therapy clinic in the tri-state area, will provide occupational therapy services to residents of all ages in Union, Essex, and Hudson counties.  The provision of these services by Kean Community Cares will foster a relationship between Kean University and local residents by meeting the community’s health and wellness needs while contributing to the academic and experiential learning of Kean University’s Occupational Therapy Program students. To learn more about the creation of Kean Community Cares and the services that will be provided, please read the full article featured by New Jersey Business. Additional information about the clinic can also be found by opening the “Kean Cares Clinic” tab located to the right of this page.  


Occupational Therapy Department Chairperson, Dr. Laurie Knis-Matthews with third-year occupational therapy students (picture from NJB article)

Posted 6/26/14

CarFit Hosted Once Again at Kean University!

The Department of Occupational Therapy hosted the 4th Annual CarFit event on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014.  Assistant Professors Dr. Claire Mulry and Dr. Jennifer Gardner coordinated the event and trained the 24 graduate occupational therapy students who became certified CarFit Technicians. The training enabled these students to provide a fun and educational experience that ultimately empowered the older drives in attendance to find the best fit between themselves and their vehicle.  To read more about the event, including participant and student perspectives, read the full articles featured by and Star Ledger.


CarFit participant with Assistant Professor Dr. Jennifer Gardner and graduate student CarFit Technicians

Posted 6/26/14

Spring 2014 

SOTA Event: BFF Breakfast for Families of Children with Autism

One of the many great things about the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) is the opportunity it provides for students to give back to the community. Please follow this link to view a video, made by Communications student Briana Curtis, which highlights a recent SOTA event held here at Kean University for families of children who have Autism.
2012-2014 Kean SOTA E-Board, SOTA Advisor Dr. Claire Mulry, and SOTA Member Volunteers pictured above before the B.F.F. Event

Dr. Mariann Moran Wins Award

Dr. Mariann Moran, OTR, CHT, recently won an award for Best Poster Presentation at the Canadian Society of Hand Therapists Conference. Dr. Moran's research, "Evidence Based Treatment for Digital Ulcers in Scleroderma," was a systematic review that aimed to identify possible treatment for digital ulcers, evaluate literature to identify most effective treatment, and suggest "best practice" for treatment and future research. Dr. Moran's receipt of this award is a testament to her hard work and dedication not only as a resident faculty member with Kean OT, clinician, and business owner, but also as an advocate for the profession through her research. Congratulations, Dr. Moran! 

Kean OT Students Achieve AOTA Gold Membership

Great emphasis is placed on the promotion and advocacy of the occupational therapy profession while faculty prepare students within the MS in Occupational Therapy program at Kean University. Instilling within the students the importance of supporting the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)-the national parent organization- the Kean OT students have qualified for Gold Membership of the AOTA Student Membership Circle for the third consecutive year. In order to qualify, every student in the program must maintain membership to AOTA. The Kean University MSOT program will be acknowledged in an upcoming issue of OT Practice and the 1-Minute Update e-newsletter. The program will also receive acknowledgement and certificates at the AOTA Annual Conference and Expo, along with the waiver of registration fee for one student. Lastly, the program will also be highlighted on the AOTA website. Congratulations Kean OT students! 

Industrial Design and Occupational Therapy Collaboration

Occupational therapy students in Dr. Jennifer Gardner's class, Occupations Across the Lifespan, participated in an exciting opportunity to collaborate with Industrial Design students for a cardboard carpentry project. The students created adaptive devices for clients using cardboard, as well as other materials. Check out the pictures, taken by ID student Kevin Muholland, below! 
                                     ID and OT students collaborating in the ID labs
                               OT and ID students with the finished adaptive devices

Global Healthcare TraveLearn to China
Graduate programs in Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Communications Disorders and Deafness are hosting a 10 day, 3 credit graduate elective course, Exploration in Global HealthCare/Interprofesssional Partnerships in Learning. Participants will meet on the main campus on May 3, followed by travel from May 23 to June 1 to visit Beijing, Wenzhou, and Shanghai. While in Wenzhou, students will engage in an exploration of the Chinese health care system by visiting various health care agencies. 
Anyone interested in only the travel experience without the course are invited to join this travel opportunity. The estimate cost is approximately $3100 which includes all travel (land and air), hotel accommodations, tours, and some meals. 
Dr. Kathi Neville:
Dr. Claire Mulry:
Dr. Alan Gertner:

SOTA Featured in TOWER Newspaper

Kean University Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) was recently featured in an article for the Kean TOWER Newspaper, highlighting their recent donations to PAR FORE. Be sure to check out the full article here


We are proud to announce that the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) has awarded the Occupational Therapy Program at Kean University with a 10 year period of accreditation for meeting the standards of the Master's Degree Level Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist. The 10 year period of accreditation is the highest level of achievement possible to attain, ensuring the quality education this program provides for future entry level occupational therapists. Thank you to all who worked diligently throughout this process, thus making accreditation a success!
Please be sure to view the OFFICIAL ACOTE FINDINGS 2014 REPORT HERE!

Volunteers Needed! Young Athletes Program (YAP) a division of the Special Olympics 

In collaboration with the departments of special education, therapeutic recreation and physical education, the department of occupational therapy will again host the Young Athletes Program (YAP) on behalf of the Special Olympics New Jersey. This year's event will be on Sunday, April 13th, 2014 from 9:45-noon in Harwood Arena. Please volunteer and help make this a successful and fun event! As a volunteer you will help teach young athletes and their families learn skills that will help them participate in sports and play. To become a volunteer please complete this registration form. Please note that in order to volunteer as an activities monitor or family escort; you must attend one, hour long, on campus training session that you will choose during registration. We hope to see you there supporting this great program!


Note: As of 3/4/14, the call for volunteers has been ended. Thank you all for the overwhelming response! 


Enter your design for the 2014 Maddak Awards 

Held in conjunction with the upcoming AOTA conference in Baltimore, MD, the Maddak Awards invite Occupational Therapists and students to submit products they have invented or adapted to assist people in participating in their meaningful occupations. Cash prizes are awarded for 1st-3rd place in each category (professionals and students), as well as a special People's Choice Award. Entries will be judged by a panel of volunteer OT professionals. For full details and instructions on how to submit your design, visit the Maddak Awards website. If you are planning to attend the AOTA conference be sure to check out the winners of this exciting award!

Kean OT Students Achieve AOTA Gold Membership

Great emphasis is placed on the promotion and advocacy of the occupational therapy profession while faculty prepare students within the MS in Occupational Therapy program at Kean University. Instilling within the students the importance of supporting the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)-the national parent organization- the Kean OT students have qualified for Gold Membership of the AOTA Student Membership Circle. In order to qualify, every student in the program must maintain membership to AOTA. The Kean University MSOT program will be acknowledged in an upcoming issue of OT Practice and the 1-Minute Update e-newsletter. The program will also recieve acknowledgement and certificates at the AOTA Annual Conference and Expo, along with the waiver of registration fee for one student. Lastly, the program will also be highighted on the AOTA website. Congratulations Kean OT students! 

Fall 2013

SOTA Featured in The Cougar's Byte

The Cougar's Byte Online recently featured the Kean Student Occupational Therapy Association in an article titled, "Helping Others with Occupational Therapy." SOTA President Alana Jogan interviewed with writers, providing them insight to the SOTA chapter at Kean, the profession of occupational therapy, as well as her personal journey towards choosing OT. To read this article, please visit Kean's The Cougar's Byte Online.

Best Jobs in Health Care 2014

Forbes recently ranked Occupational Therapy as on their list of "Best Jobs in Health Care" for 2014. Please follow the link to access the entire list, and to see where OT has been placed! 

Brandon Meyers Monday Night Bowling Benefiting Everyday Kids with Special Needs

On Monday, November 18, 2013, first and second year students of the Kean University M.S. in Occupational Therapy program volunteered for a fundraising event hosted by Intensive Therapeutics and Brandon Meyers of the New York Giants. The event, which took place at the AMF Wallington Lanes, in Wallington, NJ, encouraged families and friends to come out and support Intensive Therapeutics through a fun night of bowling and auctions. Over 300 people were in attendance, selling out the event, and in total raising over $26,000 for Intensive Therapeutics- the best event thus far!  Established in 2005, Intensive Therapeutics is a non-profit organization that provides everday children with special needs access to group and individual occupational therapy services. Brandon Meyers and 6 other New York Giants athletes (pictured below) came out to bowl, sign autographs, and support Intensive Therapeutics in this 4th annual event for a great cause! 
Kean occupational therapy students pictured with NYG Brandon Myers (host, centered),
Dr. Laurie Knis-Matthews, OTR and Dr. Mary Falzarano, OTR of Kean University 
Occupational therapists Terisita Merino and Christina Boland (first row, center) of Intensive Therapeutics
 NY Giants Jim Cordle, Kevin Boothe, Bear Pascoe, Brandon Jacobs, Andre Brown,
Henry Hynowski, Brandon Myers (host), and Intensive Therapeutics Executive Director Scott Matthews, OT, MS

New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association 39th Annual Conference

On Sunday, October 27, 2013, over 185 occupational therapy practictioners and students gathered together for NJOTA's 39th Annual Conference. This year's conference, held at the Enterprise Center in Mount Laurel, NJ, was entitled "Shift Happens: Implications for OT Practice," highlighting the current changes in the healthcare system and its affect on occupational therapy practice. The workshops, short courses, round table presentations, and poster sessions covered a diverse number of practice areas, including but not limited to mental health, fieldwork education, assistive technology, legal issues, and pediatrics. A highlight of the conference was key note speaker, Peter M. Crimi, a client and advocate, who delivered an inspirational speech on his journey with cerebral palsy and the different "shifts" in his life. Kean University occupational therapy students who attended the conference came back buzzing, reporting that they felt inspired, motivated, and even more passionate about their future careers! 



Kean OT Students Danielle DeRiggi, Zuzanna Dabek, & Gonzalo Garcia pictured
with keynote speaker Peter M. Crimi, second to left



Dr. Mary Falzarano OTR and Kean OT student volunteers Ruth Ma, Emily Moscoe,
Melissa Sullivan, Nilda Perez & Tarah Jedziniak working the tricky tray table

Walk Now for Autism Speaks! 

On Sunday, October 20, 2013, over 30 members of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) of Kean University gathered to participate in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraiser. The 2 mile walk, which took place at the beautiful Nomahegan Park in Cranford, NJ, helped to raise funds for Autism spectrum disorder research, as well as to promote awareness of this condition. The members of the SOTA team walking for Kean University raised over $2,000! Thank you to all of those who participated in the walk and contributed to this great event! 


Kean University SOTA volunteers at Nomahegan Park

To view more pictures from the event, please click here!


Kean Students Participate in AOTA's Capitol Hill Day 2013


 Twenty three (23) Kean University Occupational Therapy Students and faculty attended the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) 2013 Hill Day in Washington, D.C., on September 30, 2013. More than 700 politically active occupational therapy practitioners and occupational therapy students from across the United States descended on Capitol Hill to make their voices heard during the profession’s annual advocacy event. Energized by record setting participation levels, practitioners from across the country highlighted the profession’s most pressing legislative priorities, including eliminating the Medicare Outpatient Therapy Cap and educating Congress on the role of occupational therapy in mental and behavioral health.

“Attending Capitol Hill Day with my fellow classmates and professors was truly a rewarding experience.  Not only were we surrounded by 750 other passionate occupational therapy students, practitioners and AOTA board members, but were also able to help shape the occupational therapy profession for decades to come through our advocacy,” said Zuzanna Dabek, a Kean University occupational therapy student. "I am incredibly proud to be a part of the Kean University Occupational Therapy program and plan to continually use the leadership and advocacy skills KUOT has instilled in me."

Highlights of the conference for Kean University OT students were meetings with Congressman Albio Sires (NJ 8), Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr.( NJ 10), Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ 7), Congressman Scott Garett (NJ 5), Congressman Rush Holt ( NJ 12) as well as legislative aides to Senators Menendez and Gillibrand and Representatives Frelinghuysen (NJ 11), Smith (NJ 4),  Pallone (NJ 6) and Pascrell (NJ 9)   to discuss eliminating the therapy cap (S. 367/HR. 713), occupational therapy’s role in mental health practice (HR. 1037), supporting rehabilitation research (S. 1027), and funding for special education.

To read more about this trip, please visit our full featured article on Kean XChange! 


Kean University and Seton Hall University Occupational Therapy Students
with Congressman Albio Sires (NJ 8)

Kean University Occupational Therapy Students Walk for Thought

On September 28th, 2013, students of the MSOT program and other interdisciplinary programs at Kean University participated in and volunteer at the 11th annual Walk for Thought sponsored by Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey. This year's event, which took place in Saddle River County Park, Paramus, helped to raise awareness for people living with brain injury and their families. All donations made to this event supported alliance progams and services critical to enhancing quality of life and providing hope for the future for those with brain injury. 
KU students at the Saddle River County Park supporting traumatic brain injury awareness and research
Walk it or roll it- participants of the Walk for Thought on the park trail!
Kean University Occupational Therapy students Debbie Johnson and Zuzanna Dabek

SOTA Kick Off Carnival Supports Embrace Kids Foundation 

On September 9th, 2013, the Student Occupational Therapy Association of Kean University hosted the Kick Off Carnival on the Main Campus. SOTA board members and volunteers put together fun carnival games, contests, and delicious treats in honor of National Cancer Awareness Month. The event had a great turnout, and a donation upwards of $500 was made to the Embrace Kids Foundation. Thank you to SOTA for organizing the carnival and to all those who came out for a great time and wonderful cause!

Photo 1. Zuzanna Dabek, Alana Jogan, Dr. Mariann Moran OTR CHT, Dr. Mary Falzarano OTR, and Michael Moran, Photo 2. Pie throwing, Photo 3. The DeRiggi Family, 4. Caitlyn Gall and Beatrice Alexis

Click here for our featured story on Kean Xchange. For more pictures of the carnival, please visit this link!


Check out our new Occupational Therapy Clinic coming soon to Kean!



Occupational Therapy: Career Boosted by Affordable Care Act

Occupational therapy is named one of ten careers that will be boosted by the Affordable Care Act. Please click here to read the full article! 

Spring 2013

Congratulations Graduates!
The Department of Occupational Therapy would like to congratulate the Incoming Class of 2010 on graduating the MSOT program. Best of luck, graduates!

CarFit Event at Kean University
The Department of Occupational Therapy held its third CarFit event on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at the Kean University Nathan Weiss Graduate College Campus. CarFit is a free, fun, educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to ensure that they are properly "fitted" to their personal vehicles. Over 15 Kean University students and professors were trained as CarFit technicians by Dr. Claire Mulry and Dr. Jennifer Gardner. The event was a success, several Kean alumni participated in the event!  Educational information and resources were also provided to the participants in order to further promote safety and community mobility. Thank you to all who volunteered and to those who attended. Please visit the official CarFit website to learnmore about CarFit.
     The volunteers of CarFit                            CarFit Technicians & CarFit Participant

Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges

The Department of Occupational Therapy would like to congratulate Occupational Therapy students Angel Andujar, Kimberly Baglieri, Christopher Curcio, Kayla Den Bleyker and Jennifer Long for their achievement of the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges 2013 award. This very prestigious honor is presented to faculty nominated students whom demonstrate participation and leadership within school organization and extracurricular activities, community involvement, future leadership ability and/or potential, and a high GPA. Once again, congratulations to Angel, Kimberly, Chistropher, Kayla, and Jennifer on their national recognition of outstanding achievement!

Dr. Mariann Moran, Dr. Laurie Knis-Matthews, Jennifer Long,
Kimberly Baglieri, Dr. Mary Falzarano, and Angel Andujar

Breakfast for Families Event at Kean University
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) of Kean University hosted the Breakfast for Families Event (B.F.F.) on Sunday, April 21, 2013. Families interested in learning more about sensory needs and interventions were welcomed by SOTA members and other interdisciplinary volunteers for breakfast and a range of play activities. Occupational therapist Dawn Gilligan, featured guest speaker, presented information about sensory integration and processing disorders in her presentation "The Misunderstood Child."  Craft and activity stations were also available throughout the event, in which children could engage in play with family members and volunteers. SOTA extends thanks to everyone who participated to make this event a success! For more details, please visit the Cougar's Byte article, "Breakfast is served."
Families enjoying breakfast at the event
Left to right: Jennifer Long, Amanda Pastrana, Kaia Huus, Ariela Solomon,
 Dawn Gilligian OTR, Lisa Marie Dean, Jen Satmaria, Rachel Schomer, Erica Deutsch
SOTA members participating in crafts with children

Kean Hosts the Special Olympics New Jersey Young Athletes Program
The Department of Occupational Therapy, in collaboration with the special education, therapeutic recreation, athletics, and physical education departments, hosted the 4th annual Special Olympics New Jersey Young Athletes Program on Sunday, April 14, 2013, at the Hardwood Arena. The Young Athletes Program (YAP), designed for children with intellectual disabilities ages 2 1/2 to 7 years old, serves as the foundation for play, fun and future participation in the regular Special Olympics program for those 8 and older. This year, the event welcomed over 20 children and their families, who collaboratively worked on skill sets necessary to the occupation of play. The Young Athletes Program Comittee of Kean University would also like to extend thanks to the over 100 volunteers present at the event. For more information and photographs, please visit our featured article through the Kean Xchange website. 
Volunteers assisting in play with Young Athlete & Family. 

Fall 2012

OT Students at The Paralympic Experience held at Kean! 
The Paralympic Experience, held at the Harwood Arena on Saturday, January 19, 2013 by the New Jersey Paralympic Sport Club was the first year in which this event took place at Kean. This event offered individuals ages 7 and up living with a physical disability the opportunity to engage in a variety of sports (swimming, track, field, powerlifting, rowing, and sitting volleyball) and thereby promote a healthy, active lifestyle. The New Jersey Paralympic Sport Club, in partnership with the U.S. Paralympics, is a community-based program developed to involve youth and adults living with physical and visual disabilities in sports and physical activity. For more information on the New Jersey Paralympic Sport Club, contact Trisha Yurochko at
OT students Alana Jogan, Gonzalo Garcia, Zuzanna Dabek, Beatrice Alexis, & Angel Andujar

Occupational Therapy in 100 Best Jobs of 2013
In the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings of top jobs, Occupational Therapy is ranked No. 11 out of the 100 best jobs in U.S.! To view the report please click here

Occupational Therapy: One of the Most Secure Healthcare Jobs
In a recent CNN Money report, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapists have an incredible job security. With only a 2% average unemployment rate when compared to the rest of the country, OT is a very secure profession. In addition, an estimate of 25,000 new jobs will be added by 2020! Check out this interesting video here.

Occupational Therapy in Top 10 of 2013 Best Healthcare Jobs!
In this year's list of Best Healthcare Jobs, U.S. News ranked Occupational Therapy as No. 7. Please click here to view the list as well as median salary, reviews, job openings, and more. 

An Act of Kindness
Our utmost appreciation goes out to The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Occupational Therapy Association for their generous gift to the Department of Occupational Therapy at Kean University for current OT students that have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Department and OT students are extremely grateful for this wonderful act of kindness. 

KU Scholarship Recognition Ceremony 
November 18, 2012
The Department of Occupational Therapy would like to congratulate the following students for their awards!
Lisa Budinic, OTS
Level 2 FW Student 
Recipient of the Dr. Karen Stern Memorial Scholarship Award
Ruchika Walia, OTS
Level 2 FW Student 
Recipient of the Kathy Hering-Brady Scholarship Award
Ruth Ma, OTS
First Year Student 
Recipient of the Frank J. Bulfin Endowed Memorial Occupational Therapy Scholarship Award
Lisa Budinic, OTS; Ruth Ma, OTS; Dr. Laurie Knis-Matthews, Department Chairperson; Ruchika Walia, OTS; Dr. Jennifer Gardner, Assistant Professor; and Mr. Don Brady

KU Occupational Therapy Department Sweeps Awards at the NJOTA Conference 2012
Mariann Moran, OTD, OTR, CHT
Assistant Professor for the Department of Occupational Therapy at Kean University
Recipient of the NJOTA Merit in Administration Award in recognition of her organizational leadership and advocacy for the profession; in private practice; education; regulation; and in long range planning. 
Scott Matthews, MS, OTR
Kean University Alumn and CEO/President of Intensive Therapeutics
Recipient of the NJOTA Merit in Pediatrics Award in recognition of his therapeutic expertise, leadership, and innovative community programming for special needs children and families. 
Chaz Moses, Program Director, The First Tee of Metropolitan NY
Recipient of the NJOTA Certificate of Appreciation Award in recognition of his collaboration with the Department of Occupational Therapy at Kean University in the development of the new NJ PAR FORE 2012 summer program for Newark disadvantaged youth. 
Ariela Borgen, OTS
Second Year Master's Student
Recipient of the NJOTA Occupational Therapy Student Scholarship Award in recognition of her determination and passion for the field of occupational therapy. This scholarship is awarded to an occupational therapy student currently attending an accredited program. 

Susan Paradise, Educational Specialist for JFK Center for Head Injuries, will be presenting "Brain Injury in Students" at Kean University on Thursday, November 1, 2012. This event is a great opportunity to gain knowledge related to both Traumatic Brain Injury and pediatrics. 
This is a FREE event so we look forward to seeing you all there! Click here for more information. 

The Department of Occupational Therapy is thrilled to announce that Dr. Jennifer Gardner, Professor Claire Mulry, and Sandee Chalik have been highlighted in the Occupational Therapy in Health Care Journal for their article titled, "Considering College?: Adolescents With Autism and Learning Disorders Participate in An On-Campus Service-Learning Program." 
Click here to read the article. 

The Alliance Center for Independence is proud to host the
Second Annual New Jersey Disability Pride Parade and Celebration
Friday, October 5, 2012 in Trenton, NJ. This will be a great community service opportunity.
Please click on the link below for more information on how to register.

The 31st Annual Conference on Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities "Leisure 4 Life" will take place on Thursday, November 1, 2012 in Monroe, NJ. There will be a variety of very informative educational sessions. We look forward to seeing as many of you there!
Please click on the link below to see the conference schedule and the registration form. 

Occupational Therapy made the Forbes Top 20 Best-Paying Jobs for Women in 2012 list!
Out of the 20 best-paying jobs for women in 2012, occupational therapy ranked #13. To read further, please click on the link below.

Summer 2012


PAR FORE, New Jersey Summer Programming
The department of occupational therapy will begin a six-week summer program for PARFORE, NJ on June 26th. This is an occupation-based golf program for teens living in Newark, NJ who are at-risk for gang exposure and membership. The program focuses on teaching life skills and resiliency while incorporating golf, intergenerational, and community service activities. These activities afford the youth the opportunity to practice the transfer of learned life skills into daily roles and routines. The program's executive director and founder, Alex Lopez, is a Kean OT alumni. He started the program in New York where it has seen great success. There is now also a chapter in Utah, and Dr. Jennifer Gardner is directing the NJ chapter. This program will continue after the summer as an after school program. There is also a mentorship component to the programming that Dr. Mary Falzarano will be leading. We are looking forward to a wonderful first summer of PARFORE, NJ!
Click on the PAR FORE-NJ tab above to view more information and news about the program! 

Spring 2012

Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA)
"Funded Group of the Year" Award
2011/2012 Academic Year
Congratulations to SOTA on this wonderful achievement! We are very proud! Click here to read more about this award and about SOTA.

Young Athlete Program Pictures!
Kean University
April 15, 2012
Our 3rd Annual Special Olympics Young Athlete Program event was wonderful! Thank you so much to all our young athletes, families, faculty, and volunteers!!
Click on the link below to see pictures: 

Special Olympics Young Athlete Program
Kean University
The Department of Occupational Therapy is excited to be hosting Kean's 3rd Annual Special Olympics Young Athlete Program event on April 15th, 2012 in the Harwood Arena. For more information about this exciting event, check out the video produced by KeanXchange by clicking here. Special thanks to Millie Gonzalez!

U.S. News and World Report
February 27, 2012
Occupational Therapy made the U.S. News list of 10 best jobs for 2012!

Fall 2011


Maximizing Function and Participation in Older Adults: 
Clinical, Caregiver, and Home Interventions
JFK Professional Development Series- Edison, NJ 
November 19, 2011

The Department of Occupational Therapy would like to recognize Professor Claire Mulry's contribution to the field of occupational therapy. On November 19th she presented at the JFK Professional Development Series. Over 60 occupational and physical therapists were in attendance. Click here for additional information.

TherapyEd NBCOT Prep Course

Kean University - Union, NJ
December 11 and 12, 2011
We are excited to be hosting a TherapyEd prep course for the NBCOT exam. 
Please mark you calendars for December 11 & 12, 2011 for this two day course.
Reserve your seat now!
See the links below for registration information.

New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference
"Networking for the Centennial Vision"
Kean University - Union, NJ
October 1 and 2, 2011
This year, Kean University had the exciting opportunity of  hosting the NJOTA Annual Conference in the STEM building. It was a wonderful event in which students, educators, clinicians, and researchers from New Jersey were able to network and promote the wonderful profession of occupational therapy.
Click here for conference highlights.

NJOTA Conference - photos by Millie Gonzalez

We would also like to extend our congratulations to Mary Falzarano, Mariann Moran, and Kelli Mulvihill on being awarded at this year's conference for their outstanding contributions to the field of occupational therapy.
Mary Falzarano, Ph.D., OTR
Assistant Professor for the Department of Occupational Therapy at Kean University
Recipient of the NJOTA Educational Merit Award

Mariann Moran, OTD, OTR, CHT
Assistant Professor for the Department of Occupational Therapy at Kean University
Reciepent of the NJOTA President's Award 
Kelli Mulvihill, OTS
Kean University
Recipient of the NJOTA student scholarship
Click here to read more.

No Limits Ahead!

Check out this interesting article with regards to our field! The article highlights how our profession as well as physical and speech therapy are greatly needed but there aren't enough of us working in the field.
Click here to read the article.

Summer 2011
CarFit Event
JFK Medical Center, Edison, NJ
August 20, 2011

"On Saturday, August 20, 2011, JFK Medical Center and Kean University’s Department of Occupational Therapy collaborated to host a CarFit Technician Training and CarFit Event.  CarFit is a free, fun and educational event that offers older adults to be “fitted” to their vehicles.  Community resources and education are also provided to meet the national health objective of decreased injuries to older persons.  Twenty-one volunteers were trained as CarFit Technicians by Professors Claire Mulry and Jennifer Gardner and CarFit Instructor Susie Touchinsky from Genesis Rehab.  Ten graduate occupational therapy students from Kean University and five occupational therapists from JFK Medical Center were trained as Technicians, as well as representatives from AARP and the local community.  CarFit attendees left with increased understanding of their personal vehicles, driver safety, community resources and occupational therapy" (Jennifer Gardner).

CarFit Event, 2011

Spring 2011
Commencement 2011
NJPAC, Prudential Hall
May 10, 2011
Congratulations to our Newest Graduates!!!
Some of our Graduates with Dr. Knis-Matthews
 Faculty Members: Dr. Falzarano, Dr. Mulry, Dr. Knis-Matthews, Dr. Gardner

Philadelphia, PA
April 14-17, 2011

Over 40 students and faculty members attended the AOTA annual national conference on April 14-17, 2011.

Department of Occupational Therapy Exemplifies OT Month


The Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Kean University received two awards at the 2011 American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference held April 13-17, in Philadelphia. In addition, several of Kean’s OT faculty partnered with former graduate students to present research posters.

AOTA conference 2011

The first award was the “You Are the Future Award” for increasing awareness of occupational therapy through the Youth Athletes Program (YAP) offered on campus last month for the second year in a row (see story above). A program of New Jersey Special Olympics, YAP is geared toward children 2 ½ to 7 years old who have intellectual disabilities. As a result of volunteering for this event, Kean students from various departments engaged in a real-world experience working with the children and their families while learning about collaboration and about each other’s profession. 

The second award was one by the graduate students. They received the silver level “Membership Circle Award” because more than 85 percent of Kean’s graduate students joined AOTA’s national association; a demonstration of their increased professionalism and commitment to their chosen field. 

Faculty and staff from the occupational therapy department were further represented at the AOTA conference when Drs. Laurie Knis-Matthews and Mary Falzarano presented a poster, Peer Teaching: The experience of four occupational therapy graduate students. In addition, Falzarano and former graduate student Chrissy McCormick, M.S., OTR, presented a poster, Defining Professionalism: 

Voices of Pediatric Occupational Therapists. Associate professor Jennifer Gardner and former graduate students Kelly Lawless, Anthony Castronovo and Megan Hess also presented a poster, titled Wellness Recovery Action Plan and Sensory Modulation: Wrapping “Sense” Around Recovery.

Special Olympics-Young Athlete Program: April 18, 2011
The Occupational Therapy department and the Young Athlete Program was featured in the May 6, 2011 edition ofKean News under Photo Gallery.

2nd Annual Young Athlete Program

Fall 2010

On November 22, the first year students were privileged to have Carleen, representing the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) come speak to them about her experience living with mental illness. Carleen represented NAMI NJ's program called In Our Own Voice which empowers mental health consumers to tell their stories in an effort to decrease the stigma of mental illness. Carleen courageously shared some of her personal coping strategies, support systems and future goals. She also provided the students with specific suggestions for them to incorporate in their future careers as occuaptional therapists. Learning about Carleen's life story helped the students see the real-life person behind their textbook examples. The students left the lecture inspired by the idea that there is no limit to any person's achievements and success. For more information about In Our Own Voice, please contact Jill Zwick at 732.571.2136 or


Maria Perez was awarded the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA) award, honoring the contribution of a non-occupational therapist to the profession of occupational therapy. Assistant Professor Mary Falzarano and student, Penina Kroll,were in attendance when Mariann Moran, OTD, CHT, a Kean alumnus and the current president of NJOTA, presented the certificate to Maria. 


Mariann Moran, OTD, CHT teaches the Splinting, Orthotics & Prosthesis course, and recently hosted the second year students for a fieldtrip at her hand therapy clinic, Accelerated Hand Therapy. The students received a detailed tour of the clinic, the modalities and machines, and then completed case studies in which they had to determine which modalities were appropriate for each diagnoses. The students were able to try out the various modalities on each other such as paraffin, fluidotherapy, and ultrasound. Mariann and another OT certified in advanced modalities, administered the TENS electrotherapy and neuromuscular electrical stimulation so the students could better understand their clinical value.




Richard Stockton University
Pomona, NJ

Students and faculty members attended the NJOTA annual state conference on October 23-24, 2010, hosted by Richard  Stockton University. The 2 day event offered educational and dynamic lectures, workshops and presentations on a variety of occupational therapy topics. Kean University graduate occupational therapy students and professors participated in the presentations as well. Jennifer Gardner, MS, OTR/L, Assistant Professor in the department of Occupational Therapy, presented a poster titled, "WRAP and Sensory Modulation: Client-Centered Tools for Recovery," with Kean University occupational therapy students, Anthony Castronova and Kelly Lawless. 


Mary Falzarano, PhD, OTR, Assistant Professor in the department of occupational therapy presented a workshop entitled, “Design for Dwarfism: Interdisciplinary Collaboration with Occupational Therapy, Interior Design and Industrial Design” with Kean University faculty and staff, Manual Divino, M.Arch. Interior Design, Assistant Professor, Matt Johnson, MID, IDSA, Industrial Design, Adjunct Professor, and Maria Perez, Director of the Center for Professional Development. 


Spring 2010
Mental Health Conference 

Over 75 Occupational Therapists and mental health professionals from across the tri-state area were privileged to attend a dynamic lecturepresented by Tina Champagne M.Ed., OTR/L, the OT program director at the Institute for Dynamic Living. Ms. Champagne is also the chair for the AOTA Mental Health Special Interest Section. Held on March 16, 2010, the Occupational Therapists of the Mental Health Partnerships of New Jersey and the Metropolitan New York District hosted their 4th annual one-day Mental Health Workshop, titled: Weaving Sensory and Trauma-informed Care Approaches in Therapeutic Practice. The conference committeeacknowledges Kean University for graciously hosting the event. 



Special Olympics-Young Athlete Program 

Kean University’s Department of Occupational Therapy (OT), in collaboration with the special education, therapeutic recreation and physical education departments, hosted the Special Olympics New Jersey Young Athletes Program (YAP) to introduce children with intellectual disabilities to the world of sports on April 18. More than 140 young athletes, their families and Kean University volunteers gathered in the Harwood Arena for the inaugural event. Among the special guests was Mayor Chris Bollwage of Elizabeth, N.J., who welcomed the attendees, and Kean’s Cougar mascot, who interacted with the young athletes. The YAP is designed for children ages 2 ½ to 7, and serves as the foundation for play, fun and future participation in the Special Olympics program for people ages 8 and older.

Kean students, faculty and staff assisted the young athletes and their families to navigate eight sports activities targeting specific basic gross motor and visual-perceptual motor skills necessary as a foundation for the child’s main occupation – play. Children learned how to control their movements to participate and play sports, as well as how to follow directions. True to its intended form, the YAP at Kean focused on and applauded the young athlete’s specific abilities and aimed to provide activities that the young athletes could do at home with their siblings and parents. 

“Our students demonstrated such genuine concern and professional understanding that the young athletes and their families were comfortable with the individualized adaptation of each activity,” said Mary Falzarano, assistant professor of OT and chair of Kean’s YAP committee. “And the school spirit abound as volunteers arrived on campus Sunday morning donning Kean gear, enthusiasm and professionalism in their chosen field of study.” 


“Overall, the YAP program was truly a success, not only for the young athletes, but for all of the students who volunteered,” said Penina Kroll, community service chair of the university’s Student Occupational Therapy Association who helped bring the YAP program to Kean. “In preparing and running this program, students from various disciplines worked together and learned from one another on how best to accommodate these young athletes.”

For more information about YAP at Kean, please contact Mary Falzarano, MHS, OTR, at 908-737-3378 or



Fall 2009



On October 8, 2009, the Occupational Therapy department participated in the university-wide Awareness Festival. The department ran an eye-catching booth on Cougar walk promoting both the OT program at Kean and the profession of Occupational Therapy. The theme of the booth, “Tools for the Adventure of Your Life” demonstrated some of the “tools of the trade” employed by Occupational Therapists. Information was presented to prospective students on the role of OTs in the rehabilitation process, generating much interest in joining the field of Occupational Therapy.

On Wednesday November 4, 2009, Kean University’s Department of Occupational Therapy welcomed Dr. Rebecca Dutton as a guest lecturer for the program’s first year graduate occupational therapy (OT) students as a part of the Foundations of Occupational Therapy course. Dr. Dutton is an occupational therapist who specialized in stroke rehabilitation and holds a doctorate in Educational Psychology. She has recently authored the book, “My Last Degree: A Therapist Goes Home After A stroke”. She was a professor of Physical Disabilities at Kean University foreleven years. Dr. Dutton suffered a stroke 5 and one half years ago and during her lecture she shared her personal journey of her return to meaningful everyday living. Throughout her lecture, she explained how the art and science of occupational therapy can positively impact the life of a stroke survivor. In doing so, she imparted her occupational therapy knowledge, experience as a stroke survivor and wisdom to the students, future occupational therapists.

Dr. Dutton infused both her expertise and a warm sense of humor to explain her first-hand experience of surviving a stroke and how she coped with its aftermath. She impressed upon the students how important it was for her to stay in her own home and the realities she faced in order to achieve a functional and safe level of independence. She shared specific strategies she used to function throughout her day: The Backwards Rule, Cheating Safely, Memory Aids and Small movements that make the hemiplegic hand functional. Dr. Dutton stressed that as an OT we may be able to assist a person with a stroke to develop movement in the affected arm and hand. The stroke survivor may then be able to incorporate the affected hand into daily tasks leading to an increase in participation and independence in functional activities. Dr. Dutton’s lecture provided the students with a unique perspective on life after a stroke as well as serving to inspire the future OT’s to make the most of their activity analysis of the person, occupation and manipulation of the environment in order to improve a stroke survivor’s ability and quality of life. Through presentation of real examples and personal stories, the students gained a deeper understanding of how a stroke can affect every aspect of one’s life, and the integral role that an OT can play in the recovery process.


Click to return to current Events