Alexis Clapper pointing at photo of ADA bill getting signed

Alexis Clapper


Gainesville, Virginia

Undergraduate Major

Public Health

Defining Occupational Therapy

I would define OT as basically helping individuals get back to doing activities that bring joy and meaning to their lives. Whether that's creating adaptive equipment, and using that, or looking at their body movements and being able to focus on the different body movements that they are performing and being able to use that to help guide their daily routines, daily activities so that they can do it or that they can increase their quality of life.

So, it's using things that they enjoy, such as gardening, art, walking, running, sewing, any type of activity that they really like, and using that as the forefront of a therapy and rehabilitation approach. You can do so much with it. You can do anything with any type of physical injury to their upper extremity or anything from a stroke to a traumatic brain injury, anything with mental health. 

Motivated by the Military

Since the military has been such a huge part of my life, I have always had a desire to serve my country and then also serve, not only the soldiers, but the family members, because you also work with children and their spouses. 

I would like to, upon graduation, do a direct commission into the army and be an army occupational therapist.

So, what all that will entail is: working with units, being there, being on post, doing deployments with brigades and military, and so being able to just give back

Choosing a Hybrid Doctoral Program

I didn't want to be sitting in a classroom necessarily from 9 to 5 every day and this program just covered so much more. Being able to explore D.C. and see everything that the nation's capital has to offer has been very insightful, not only for my education but for who I have become as a person as I'm evolving.

My experiences in D.C. so far have been awesome! By going to these different community sites, you can kind of see the need for an OT there on-site, how they could benefit from seeing an OT, then being able to use our OT brain to create adaptive ways and activities, to incorporate healthy habits, and to better their quality of life.

It's been very, very life-changing and I really have enjoyed every second of it.

Trusting the Faculty

The faculty are very open, very upfront, and very approachable. I enjoyed getting to know them on a deeper level, as well as a professional level. And so, it's been really, really life-changing and honestly has impacted my education because unlike undergrad, I actually know that the faculty really want the best for us. I very much value everything that they discuss with us.

They're very thoughtful with everything that they assign, as well as they genuinely care about you and want to get to know you.

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