• Kalamazoo SOTA Walk to End Alzheimer's

  • Grand Rapids Shakes for SOTA Fundraiser

  • Kalamazoo SOTA Gull Meadow Farms Social Event

  • Grand Rapids SOTA Walk to End Alzheimer's

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 socially-distanced 5k walk 
    • Partners in Housing: volunteer outreach program opportunity 
    • Shakes with SOTA: partner with local organization to donate a portion of shake sales to SOTA. Proceeds were used to make information packets about disabilities and sent to Somos Hijos del Lago in Guatemala for children and families 
    • Virtual fundraisers: Mel Trotter Ministries and American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee (AOTPAC) 
    • Kids Food Basket: decorate bags and collect items to prepare packed lunches 
    • Guest speaker: Meeting OT needs for for teens and young adults in the LGBTQIA+ community

    Upcoming events:

  • Kalamazoo SOTA Board

    President: Hannah Wilson

    Hi everyone, my name is Hannah Wilson and I am the current President of SOTA. I am in the Kalamazoo OTD ’24 cohort and love the program so far. I am currently pursuing my first level 1 fieldwork experience at Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital and will be at the Pediatric SOAR Clinic for my second level 1 experience. I am interested in several areas in the scope of OT including pelvic floor therapy, hand therapy, working with older adults, and mental health. I am looking forward to working with the E-Board this year and furthering my knowledge of occupational therapy skills.

    Vice President: Morgan Otero

    Hi everyone! My name is Morgan Otero, and I am part of the OTD cohort graduating in 2024. I graduated from Michigan State University in 2020 with my undergraduate degree in Anthropology (Go Green!). I was an avid volunteer for the Adaptive Sports and Recreation Club at MSU and because of them, developed an interest in OT. I also enjoy reading, painting, being outside, and hanging out with friends and family. I am so happy to be a part of this program and to be pursuing a profession that I am so passionate about. I love how OT values living a meaningful, purposeful life, and I look forward to sharing that with all of you. 

    Social Media Coordinator: Camille Chimner

    Hi my name is Camille and I am in the 2024 OTD cohort. I graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in Exercise Science with a minor in Spanish.  I have been interested in the healthcare field as long as I can remember and always knew I wanted to be a profession that helps others. I hope to work in pediatrics, specifically school-based OT, or mental health in my future and I am excited to see what fieldwork placements I will get to be involved in! I enjoy playing with my dog, traveling, camping, hiking, skateboarding, reading, and teaching my dance students.  I am excited to be a part of the Kalamazoo SOTA e-board this year and can't wait to see all the fun ideas and events we will do!

    WSA Representative: Riley Groves

    Hello everyone! My name is Riley Groves and I am humbled to be the Special Events/Volunteer Coordinator and the WSA Representative for Western Michigan University's Student Occupational Therapy Association this school year. I just graduated from Davenport University with a Bachelor of Science in Medical Case Management. During my time at Davenport, I was a student-athlete on the volleyball team and have worked as a rehabilitation aide at Athletico Physical Therapy! This is my first year in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at WMU and I cannot wait to enhance my knowledge in this field and promote occupational therapy within the university and community! Occupational therapy is such a beautiful field to be a part of and I am excited to further my passion to help guide individuals to their independence and quality of life. When I am not studying, I love to go shopping, workout, go to sports events, go to concerts, and hangout with my family and friends. With that being said, I am super grateful to be able to represent on WMU's Kalamazoo SOTA E-Board for this upcoming school year and advocate for this profession with my fellow classmates!

    Secretary: Shreena Shah

    My name is Shreena Shah, I’m the current secretary on the E-Board and I started my second year of the OTD program! My preferred practice area in OT is adults and children with neurological conditions and I would love to work in an inpatient rehabilitation or outpatient neuro clinic one day! Community involvement and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are very important concepts to me and I plan on bringing more DEI events and opportunities for SOTA this year! I am looking forward to working with my fellow E-Board members to support OT students at WMU.

  • Grand Rapids SOTA Board

    President: Carissa Heestand

    Things about me:

    1. My favorite occupations are cooking and baking, watching The Office, skiing and spending time with friends!
    2. My favorite thing about OT is the variety of populations we are able to help and advocate for.
    3. My favorite areas in OT are pediatrics, orthopedics, and acute care!

    Vice President: Jessica Zydorczyk

    Things about me:

    1. My favorite occupations are watching TV, crocheting, and visiting with friends and fam.  
    2. My favorite thing about OT is all the creative problem solving we get to do.
    3. My favorite areas in OT are pediatrics and mental health. 

    Event Coordinator: Emily Markovicz

    Things about me: 

    1. My favorite occupations include trying new restaurants, sipping wine, listening to true crime podcasts, and reading an occasional book. 
    2. My favorite thing about OT is helping individuals improve their quality of life regardless of the trials they endure.
    3. My favorite areas in OT are hand therapy, neuro, and orthopedics. 

    Secretary: Stephanie Velasco 

    Things about me: 

    1. My favorite occupations: Hiking, camping, going to the beach, and being competitive at board games.
    2. My favorite thing about OT: Meeting and connecting with all types of people and working with them to make positive changes in their life.
    3. My favorite areas in OT are: Adults, neuro, and ortho.

    Treasurer: Nitasha Cooper 

    Things about me: 

    1. My favorite occupations involve taking my doggos for walks, watching movies, & spending time with friends and family. 
    2. My favorite thing about OT is the ability to work with so many different people and make a positive impact in both their lives and the people around them while also engaging them in fun impactful activities. 
    3. My favorite areas in OT are oncology and neuro in adult populations. 

    Public Relations: Mallory Vance

    Things about me:

    1. My favorite occupations: Biking, going to the lakeshore, movie marathons, and spending time with my family and friends.  
    2. My favorite thing about OT is: The ability to meet a client where they are at and promote greater quality of life no matter their situation.  
    3. My favorite areas in OT are:  Pediatrics, low vision, and mental health.