Meet Gabi: Occupational Therapy + Health Sciences


 

So excited to feature another STEM babe, Gabi!

Which area of STEM are you in?

-I am in the science aspect of stem, health science specifically.

When and why did you choose this area?

-I have always been fascinated with health care and think being exposed to it at a young age and watching family members receive life changing medical procedures really just proved to me that I want to be a part of this healing process and be able to give back.

What was/has been your most challenging experience in college?

-if I’m being completely honest, I was not prepared at all for the mental aspect of college. My most challenging aspect would be battling my inner self. No one teaches you how to adapt to so much change at once, no one teaches you how to survive home sickness, although college was an emotional rollercoaster it really does teach you so much about yourself and allows you to truly discover the person you’re meant to be.

What do you do for work/What do you want to do with your degree?

-my degree is in public health with an emphasis on community health education. With my degree I will be pursuing a career as a pediatric neurological occupational therapist, however I still have 3 more years left in my doctorate program. Now for work I am a neurological rehabilitation technician where I work in a hospital setting aiding physical and occupational therapist in their treatments.

What is the biggest misconception people have about your field?

-For health education a lot of people automatically assume sex Ed or nutrition, but there is so much more then that! They don’t realize that being instructed on how to do physical therapy exercises is education, or being taught how to use w new assistive device like a wheelchair, or even learning how to write and feed yourself again are all educational tasks that as therapist we take responsibility to educate our patient so they can be as independent as possible.

What is it like being a woman in STEM?

-I feel like in my field of work it’s the opposite our ratio of therapist in our clinic is 5/6 women to every one man! Who runs the therapy world... GIRLS!

How do you stay organized?

-I am a Virgo to a T, my phone is full of lists, I have a calendar, and a binder I carry constantly with me at work to make sure I write everything down when it’s told to me! I have to write or type it to remember it

What do you do for fun on the weekends?

-I love going home to see my family and my two puppies! When I’m not home I’m hanging out with my boyfriend, doing orange theory, or taking advantage of the beautiful city I live in and all the beaches it has to offer.

When you wake up, what do you look forward to?

-When I wake up I just look forward to getting my day started, the day before I usually send myself an email of tasks I need to complete the following day so I don’t forget. I love my job, I love my patients, and I love my coworkers so I really look forward to that social aspect of my job

If you weren’t in your current field, what would you be doing?

-I have thought about this a lot and tbh any time I still think of another career I find it is still in the area of health. If I wasn’t an OT I would for sure be pursuing a career as a child life specialist, and helping prep children emotionally and physically for the hospital stays or pre surgery. But if I had a dream job I would be a therapy/support animal trainer haha one can only dream

Can you share any resume and/or interview tips?

-I was a volunteer at the hospital I currently work at for two years, so my hiring process was a bit different and a lot less informal. As far as experience goes and making connections the best advice I could give is don’t burn your bridges and anywhere you are working/volunteering your time please remember that people are watching. Make those connections, make a name for yourself in your environment, and don’t be afraid to ask about advancement if you believe you are qualified in your work.

What advice do you have for women interested in your field? What kinds of experience should they have?

-As women we are natural nurturers so I think health is an amazing fit for our personalities, however the downfall is we are emotional and we do become attached to our patients so we need to learn how to separate work and home however we are the kindest and endearing physicians and allied health professionals.

Can my followers reach out to you for more info on your field?

-OF COURSE! I would love to spread the word about my field and offer any advice I feel I can, feel free to email me at gabriellethomas619@gmail.com