• Kalamazoo SOTA Walk to End Alzheimer's

  • Snacks With GR SOTA at Downtown Market

  • SOTA Students at Trauma Informed Care Elective

  • Grand Rapids SOTA Students at Level I Fieldwork

Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA)

The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) is offered at both campuses, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, with every occupational therapy student encouraged to join their corresponding association by attending one meeting per month. Joining SOTA has many benefits for students and surrounding communities. Benefits to joining include, but are not limited to: 

-Build leadership skills in the field of OT
-Make connections with other students, faculty, and local organizations
-Give back to the community through volunteer opportunities 
-Learn to advocate for our profession
-Apply skills learned in classes to use in a safe learning environment
-Gain knowledge by attending guest presentations
-Participate in fun social events with your fellow SOTA members! 


  • Events

    Previous volunteer events:

    • Walk to End Alzheimer's: fundraising and 5k walk 
    • Fowling to Keep em' Rolling: Fundraising and Raffle Selling for Renew Mobility's Pediatric Clients 
    • AMBUC's Football Games: Assisting with seating at WMU football games for AMBUC's members
    • Senior Neighbors: Rapport building and games with older adults in Kent County
    • Beer City Dog Biscuits: Work alongside adults with disabilities to make dog treats
    • Guest speakers: Meeting with Grand Rapids Pride Center to discuss LGBTQIA+ challenges with health care

    Upcoming events:

    • Fowling to Keep em' Rolling
    • Walk to End Alzheimer's
    • Pine Grove Walk a Thon
    • Volunteer at WMU Football Games to assist the Kalamazoo AMBUCS chapter.
    • More to come!
  • Kalamazoo SOTA Board

    President: Riley Groves

    Hello! My name is Riley Groves and am in the 2025 OTD cohort! I am humbled to be the current President of Student Occupational Therapy Association at Western Michigan University. I attended Davenport University and got my Bachelor of Science in Medical Case Management. Throughout my four years at Davenport, I was a student-athlete on the volleyball team. This is my second year in the OTD program at WMU and am excited to continue enhancing my knowledge of occupational therapy within the university and community! Western Michigan feels like home and am very grateful to have created such lifelong friendships during my time here so far. My current areas of interest to pursue within the scope of OT are working with adults with neurological and orthopedic conditions, hand therapy, and inpatient rehabilitation working with children/adolescents. I am in my first level 1 fieldwork rotation at the adult neuro and ortho clinic at the Unified Clinics and am loving it! Outside of school, I love to workout, attend concerts, go to sports events, go shopping, and hangout with friends and family! I am extremely grateful to be on SOTA E-board as President and advocate for this awesome profession with my fellow classmates.

    Vice President: Amber Foster

    Hello, my name is Amber and I am part of the 2025 OTD cohort. I graduated from U of M with my bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and a minor in Spanish. I chose OT because after my experience going through physical therapy, I saw how life changing rehabilitative services could be and loved the creativeness that the OT world offered. I am a huge Harry Potter fan (proud Slytherin!) but some of my other hobbies include playing the piano and ukulele, camping, playing with my 2 dogs, longboarding, and hammocking with a good book. This year, I hope to continue to bring our student OT community closer through SOTA and cannot wait to meet everyone at our events!

    Treasurer: Madi Smith

    Hello! My name is Madi Smith and I am part of the OTD class of 2025. I will be the treasurer for SOTA this school year and am looking forward to working alongside the e-board to create new experiences and opportunities for OT students. I'm interested in hand therapy, adult neuro, and working with older adults. In my free time, I love to travel, attend concerts, cook, and go hiking and camping. I am excited to continue to build relationships with OT students, and to create connections within our community!

    WSA Representative: Paris Cerny

    My name is Paris Cerny and I am a Junior in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. I fell in love with Western in high school when I attended their annual music seminar. I instantly fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere. Occupational Therapy is truly unique as it takes a holistic and creative approach to healthcare. There is no more fulfilling feeling than helping people achieve their goals and get back to the things that are most important to them. I have shadowed in a hand therapy clinic and work hardening setting and have taken a high interest to both of them but am excited to learn more about all of the other many areas of OT. Outside of work and school, I love being outside whether that is hiking or camping and am an avid puzzler.

    Secretary: Hannah Sherman

    Hello! My name is Hannah Sherman and I am excited to be the secretary for the Kalamazoo Student Occupational Therapy Association at Western Michigan University for the 2023-2024 school year! I am in my second year of the program as a part of the OTD class of 2025. I attended Central Michigan University and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Throughout my 4 years there I spent a lot of my time outside of school volunteering in the community working with a wide variety of disabled populations. These experiences solidified my decision to want to become an occupational therapist. My current OT areas of interest are outpatient orthopedic/neurological rehabilitation and inpatient pediatrics. I have been working with kids since I was in high school and have always loved how much fun kids can be! In my free time I love going to concerts, reading, going on walks, listening to music, shopping, traveling new places, and spending time with my friends and family. I also spent 13 years of my life doing competitive dance and I student taught dance classes, which is where I found my love for working with kids. I am looking forward to sharing my love and passion for OT with new and returning members of SOTA this year!

    Social Media Coordinator: Richard Townsend

    My name is Richard Townsend, I am serving as the social media coordinator for the 2023-2024 SOTA E-board.  I’m from Indianapolis, IN and received my B.S. in Exercise Science from Ball State University.  I love exercising, being outdoors, and hanging out w/ friends and family.  Within OT I have a current interest in working in orthopedics, with the geriatric population, & potentially the deaf community.  I love how OT encompasses a holistic view of treatment & looks at the whole person.  I’m excited to continue to learn and grow alongside my peers and see where the year takes us.

    Volunteer Coordinator: Jillian French

    My name is Jillian French and I am from Lisle, Illinois. I am very excited to be the volunteer coordinator for SOTA for this coming year! I chose Western Michigan University for all of the fieldwork opportunities as well as the opportunity to perform research. I was also impressed by the interview process and knew that after meeting several faculty members that WMU was the school for me. As an OT, you are able to give meaning back into people's lives and I am grateful that I get to be a part of that. I am very interested in hand therapy or working at an SNF.

  • Grand Rapids SOTA Board

    President: Emily Vachon

    1. My current area of OT interest is working in pediatrics, especially using sensory integration techniques to help the children function most optimally in their natural environments.
    2. Regarding SOTA, I am excited to connect our members to the community to continue building connections and a network of support, as well as advocate for and assist populations and individuals in need.
    3. In my free time, I enjoy being with my friends and family, spending time outdoors, and partaking in various arts and craft projects!

    Vice President: Mikayla Eshbach

    1. Hobbies/Interests: spending time with family and friends, outdoor activities, reading, and traveling. 
    2. What I am excited for with SOTA: To collaborate with peers and the community to promote health and wellbeing through our program and OT. 
    3. Area of OT interest: Trauma informed care, older adults and neuro.

    Event Coordinator: Kallen Wolfer

    1. Favorite Occupations: Anything in/around the water: fishing, water-skiing, swimming, scuba diving, tubing, water polo. If water has something to do with it, I love it.
    2. What I am excited for with SOTA: I'm so excited to co-ordinate and engage in fun, meaningful events with my classmates and community
    3. Area of OT interest: Still very much in my "exploratory era," currently I love it all!

    Secretary: Hannah Barton

    1. Area of OT interest: Geriatrics and Mental Health

    2. What I'm excited for with SOTA: I'm excited to get more involved in our community and make more connections with my peers as well as the organizations we will volunteer for and work with. 

    3. Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy spending time with friends and family and being social, dancing, listening to live music, and lifting weights.

    Treasurer: Braeleigh McCoy

    1. My favorite occupations include playing soccer, going to the gym, reading, watching movies, and trying to make my friends laugh!
    2. My favorite thing about OT is being able to help a multitude of different people who are experiencing different challenges/barriers and watching the growth that occurs.
    3. My favorite areas of OT are pediatrics, acute care, oncology, and mental health! 

    Public Relations: Anna Kelley

    1. Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with family and friends, traveling, and kickboxing.
    2. What I am excited for with SOTA: To work as a team with my classmates and make connections in the community through our program.
    3. Area of OT interest: Pediatrics and neuro.