EKU Online Outstanding Student Award Winner Plans to Pay It Forward

Image Outstanding Student Winner Smiling Female With Trophy Casey Humphrey

The EKU Online OTD degree positioned Casey Humphrey to take her career to the next level. “It’s already helped me to reach a personal career goal by assisting me in obtaining a faculty position,” said Casey, who was recently hired as an assistant professor by the occupational therapy department at Eastern Kentucky University.

Casey was named EKU Online Outstanding Student in the graduate student category in December 2017. Dr. Dana Howell, coordinator of the university’s OTD program recently nominated her for the honor. “Casey is a role model for the experiences and successes that are possible through the online OTD program and well-deserving of the title of ‘Outstanding Online Student,’” said Dr. Howell.

The online format allowed her to build her credentials while raising two small children and working full time as an occupational therapist for people with brain injuries. “The program also does an impressive job in balancing structured class schedules and flexibility, which made the courses seem less overwhelming,” said Casey.

With support from the faculty, she made the most of the opportunities that came her way. She presented her capstone research on non-contact boxing for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease at the Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association’s annual conference. Casey also served as the student representative on a committee to evaluate EKU’s OTD curriculum.

The rigor of the program prepared her to advance her career. “The variety of content that is applicable to real world practice has challenged me, and allowed me to grow my confidence as a leader in my field,” she said.

She chose EKU because of its reputation among occupational therapy programs. The relationships she developed with faculty and classmates also served her well. “The OTD faculty do an excellent job of making you feel like you are part of a community even though you are off campus,” she said. “I have also been able to use my experience to network with other leaders in the field of occupational therapy.”

 “The program also does an impressive job in balancing structured class and schedule flexibility which made the courses seem less overwhelming,” said Casey. She offered the following advice for anyone thinking about earning an OTD while working: “Schedule specific times to work on course work. Reach out to the faculty and your peers for support, because they are always willing to help.”

Now, Casey shares her knowledge and love for the profession with others through teaching and continues to count the ways the OTD has made a difference in her life. “I’m more marketable for higher-level administrative positions within the clinical field,” she said, “and I am excited that my OTD will allow me to have even more opportunities to advocate for populations that I have a passion for through publications and presentations.”

Published on December 12, 2017