How A Degree Can Turn Into A Dream

How A Degree Can Turn Into A Dream

Miranda Gould Contributing Writer

    Recent UMF graduate Olivia Sullivan celebrates being hired on-the-spot for her dream job of occupational therapy. As Sullivan works towards getting into graduate school, she is also working as a registered behavior technician through A Brand New Day, an occupational therapy center for children on the autism spectrum, located in Southington, CT. 

    “It was really important to me to be able to work in the field I went to school for and am most passionate about,” said Sullivan. After getting the job, she got to work immediately the following week. 

    Before graduating, Sullivan completed over 450 hours in the occupational therapy department and at Franklin Memorial Hospital. She spent her time at the hospital every

week day split between in-patient care and out-patient care. “I worked really hard to get to this position in my life,” said Sullivan, “I’ve always wanted to be an occupational therapist, but the internship my school provided for me before I graduated really made me want it more.” 

Olivia Sullivan with her parents at the 2019 UMF Commencement (Photo courtesy of Olivia Sullivan)

    “During my time working in-patient care, I would work with patients on placing them in long-term care facilities,” said Sullivan. “When working in out-patient, I would see the same patients for a longer duration of time.” Sullivan worked with these patients on rehabilitating themselves so they could meet their daily life activities, such as hygiene needs, getting in or out of a bed, and preparing themselves meals. 

    Sullivan feels this internship really expanded her knowledge on occupational therapy and has prepared her for what is to come. Working as a behavior technician, she is exhibiting her new skills that she learned through her internship and time at UMF. 

    Her job consists of working closely with children with autism and their families in their home. She has taken on three different cases since graduating, and continues to work with them at home daily. “I feel like I’m really helping these kids and their families,” said Sullivan. 

    Sullivan notes that the job isn’t always easy, for sometimes the children are reluctant to listen, but it’s really rewarding at the end of the day when she realizes she has made an impact and is continuing to pick up skills that will help her grow as an occupational therapist.

    In the future, Sullivan hopes to attend graduate school and get her master’s in occupational therapy. She has been working on applying and deciding which school is the right fit for her. “I think my future is really bright,” said Sullivan, “I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.”

UMF Graduate Begins Second Year Teaching in South Korea

UMF Graduate Begins Second Year Teaching in South Korea

By Evan Gorr Contributing Writer

Tori Lands, pictured with a team of young basketball players, while teaching abroad at Daegu International School in Korea. (Photo courtesy of Tori Lands)

Tori Lands, a 2017 UMF graduate, has started a second year of teaching at Daegu International School (DIS) in South Korea and is immersed in the Korean culture.

  Lands graduated UMF with a degree in Secondary Education, and also holds a minor in International and Global Studies. Lands completed student teaching at DIS, which is operated by Maine’s Lee Academy, and really enjoys the experience.

   When Lands was offered a full-time position teaching 5th grade, she couldn’t resist. “I highly recommend taking advantage of studying or teaching abroad,” said Lands, who believes that the opportunities to travel and meet new people are the most satisfying parts of teaching abroad.

   Lands believes that teaching abroad has had positive impacts on her perspective of the world. “Prior to moving to South Korea, I had never traveled out the U.S. or Canada,” said Lands.

   Lands learns something new everyday and is starting to feel at home in her new environment. From bowing when greeting someone, to using Korean language, Lands has become more comfortable with the culture.

   Lands is getting to live in and explore parts of the world that some people never visit. During her first year of teaching, Lands took students on a weekend trip to an island off of Korea. Lands said, “It was really cool to see a new part of Korea with my students, most of whom are Korean.”

   In addition to the trip with students, Lands takes advantage of her time off of work. “Most weekends and breaks I am exploring either in Korea or other countries in Asia,” Lands said. “Korea has some awesome hiking and biking trails and being active is a huge part of the culture here so I also try to take advantage of that.”

   Lands has had some great experiences in South Korea. “I am constantly surprised at the environment I have the opportunity to work and live in,” said Lands.

   Lands has learned that education in Korea is one of the highest priorities for families. The support Lands receives from her community is helpful and gladly accepted. Lands was also pleasantly surprised to find out that her students put in an immense effort towards their education.

   Lands finds that the hardest part is being away from home. “With anyone who moves away from where they grew up, you realize that life doesn’t stop just because you aren’t there anymore,” said Lands.

   There is a 13 hour time difference between South Korea and Maine, so communication with family and friends can be tough for Lands. In addition, the flight back to the US is at least 24 hours, so it becomes difficult to make it to important events like weddings or birthdays.

    It is custom in Korea to have the youngest person pour all the drinks at a table. Lands is the youngest teacher at DIS, so she finds herself participating in this tradition often. She has also had to learn parts of the Korean language, as it is a necessity to get around certain places. “The Korean language is very different from English, and for myself, very difficult to learn,” said Lands. Although Korean is hard to master, Lands has begun to feel more at home each year.

Education is very important to their families so it becomes important for the kids, too.