Get to know our OT students ambassadors!

Feel free to reach out to any of our OT student ambassadors by clicking on their names in red. They are all happy to answer your questions and share why they chose DU OT!

Meet Rachel DeStefano

Rachel smiles for a portrait photo in a purple sweaterHi, my name is Rachel%20DeStefano. I am a 5th year occupational therapy student from New Castle, PA. I plan to continue to pursue my doctorate in occupational therapy at Duquesne University. I came to know occupational therapy through my grandfather’s journey with Dementia and he is my inspiration to continue working with the geriatric population when I graduate. In addition to my role as a student ambassador, I have been involved in many clubs on campus including Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), Journal Club, Gamma Sigma Sigma (GSS), the Student Advisory Council, Phi Theta Epsilon (PTE) and I am a peer mentor for students on campus with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. My role as a student ambassador is extremely important to me as the cohorts above me were some of my biggest supporters and role models; therefore, I enjoy helping other students learn more about the Duquesne Occupational Therapy Program and help them to feel included in the DU OT family. 

Meet Lauren Rose

Lauren stand outside smiling in green pants, orange top, and a sun hat.Hello! My name is Lauren%20Rose, and I am a 4th year OT student.  I am from Wheeling, WV, and I have a bachelor’s in Exercise Science from Waynesburg University. I enjoy being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and I have a passion for creativity. I hope to bring my love for creativity into the field of Occupational Therapy to help inspire and encourage others. What I enjoy most about Duquesne’s Occupational Therapy program is the opportunity to learn and grow with other students through a variety of learning experiences that the program offers. 

Meet Jessica Ashton

Jessica smiles sitting in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome in a black shirt.Hello! My name is Jessica%20Ashton, and I am a 3rd year OT student. I am also completing the Assistive Technology minor. I work for the department giving tours and doing administrative work, so you might see me in Rangos! On campus I'm involved in Best Buddies, SOTA, and COTAD. My favorite occupations include spending time with friends and family, travelling, and visiting new coffee shops! I knew I loved the DUOT program from my first visit because of how welcoming and encouraging our professors are, and that is still my favorite part of the program! 

Meet Nathan Pearson

Nathan stands in front of a colorful mountain range in a green sweatshirt.My name is Nathan%20Pearson, I am a 4th year student in the Duquesne Occupational Therapy Program.  I am also in the Assistive Technology minor here at Duquesne.  I am from just outside of the city in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.  Some of my favorite occupations are hiking, gardening, and spending time with friends and family!  Presently, I am the President of COTAD – the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity at Duquesne University.  

 

Meet Erica Glaneman

Erica smiles in front of a blooming tree.Hello, I am Erica%20Glaneman, and I am a 5th year OT student at Duquesne from Eighty Four, PA. I am in Duquesne’s entry-level OTD program and will be graduating in December 2023 with my OTD degree. I became interested in OT after working with students who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) throughout middle and high school. I continue to pursue this passion at Duquesne by working as a peer mentor in the pilot Compass program for students with IDD to pursue higher education. In addition, I also serve as a research apprentice to Dr. Meghan Blaskowitz in the OT department and assist her with research related to the Compass program. I have co-presented this research at AOTA Inspire, 2020 in San Antonio, TX. In addition to these roles, I am a member of the Honors college at Duquesne and enjoy volunteering with an adaptive colorguard group, the South Hills Stars. I enjoy serving the OT department as a Student Ambassador so that I can provide guidance and encouragement to younger students as they begin their college and OT journeys. 

Meet Hannah Clark

Hannah stands in a fieldwork of tall corn in a brown plaid coat.My name is Hannah%20Clark, and I am an occupational therapy student in the Class of 2025. Along with my occupational therapy degree, I am also pursuing an assistive technology minor. My interests in the OT field includes going into the foster system, occupational justice, and psychiatric fields with adolescents (including eating disorders, mental health, etc.). I also work in the Occupational Therapy Department giving tours and helping with administration work, and outside the department I am the president of the Duquesne Ballroom Association. 

Meet Brooke Foundas

Brooke smiles in a light blue sweater.Hi there! My name is Brooke%20Foundas, and I’m a 4th year OT student who transferred into the program Spring 2022. I’m originally from Frederick, MD, and got my bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a minor in adult disability from Towson University. When I’m not spending my time learning about OT, some of my favorite activities include indoor cycling, crocheting, hiking, and being a plant mom. What I love about Duquesne University is that it’s right by downtown Pittsburgh, so my friends and I get to explore the city after learning all about OT! 

Meet Ivan Del Toro

Ivan poses for a photo in a suit.Hello, my name is Iv%C3%A1n%20Andr%C3%A9s%20Del%20Toro%20Hern%C3%A1ndez, and I am a transfer student and 2nd year student in the Occupational Therapy program. I am from Puerto Rico and spent my first year in college over there studying nursing where I realized after watching OTs work that I needed to do this to help people recover, not only physically, but mentally as well. As a transfer student from so far away I can definitely understand how big of a decision this is, but once I made it and arrived here, I knew that it was the right one and every step of the way I have been encouraged and supported in every way possible. Other than OT I have a passion for counseling, specifically career and grief counseling. I work as a pharmacy technician, and I really enjoy Pittsburgh and have even come to consider it home. On campus I’m involved in the ASL club, Gamma Phi fraternity, and minorities in philosophy club as I am a philosophy minor. I hope to meet some of you someday and help you with anything you might need! 

Meet Rachel Alexander

Rachel poses for a photo in front of a "Class of 2022" banner.Hi! My name is Rachel%20Alexander, and I am a 1st year OT student. I am from Akron, Ohio, which is about two hours from campus! My claim to fame is that I am a triplet (I have two brothers) and a younger sister. During my short time living in Pittsburgh, I have discovered the Milkshake Factory, shopping and food at the Strip District, and lots of great places to walk to in the city! My experience here at Duquesne has been amazing as I have made so many great friends, fallen in love with the campus, and am learning so much from my professors. I am so excited to continue in the OT program and can't wait to start helping people someday soon!

Meet Isabella Bien

Isabella smiles for a photo next to a tree in a red dress.My name is Isabella%20Bien, and I am a 3rd year occupational therapy major with a psychology minor. I am involved in a variety of other clubs and associations on campus such as Greek life, Orientation, Best Buddies, OT-related clubs, and campus ministry. I am also a camp counselor for kids ages 8-16 over the summer and work at a Pittsburgh hospital during the semester terms. I have been pursuing my interests in occupational therapy as early as my sophomore year of high school and have been extremely fortunate in continuing this passion for my future career with Duquesne University. My favorite aspect about the occupational therapy profession is how client-centered and holistic it is. Its values ring true in many aspects of life, not just in the healthcare setting. Furthermore, with my own firsthand experience as an occupational therapy client and with the exposure I have already witnessed in the field, I can attest to how amazing the effects of occupational therapy really are. I am looking forward to gaining more leadership skills, forming meaningful relationships, advocating, and educating about the Duquesne Occupational Therapy Program as a student ambassador!

Meet Shannon Russell

Shannon smiles for a photo in a blue polo embroided with the words "Duquesne University Occupational Therapy"Hello! My name is Shannon%20Russell, and I’m a 4th year Occupational Therapy student in the DU OT program. I currently serve as the co-president to the Duquesne Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA). I am also involved with the Duquesne Compass Program, promoting inclusive education through mentorship for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). I’m from Clinton, New Jersey, and some of my passions include drawing and painting, baking for others, kayaking and going to concerts. I was drawn to Duquesne’s OT program after visiting and meeting the faculty, where I quickly realized that they truly care about each student and foster an environment for growth and success - long story short, it felt like home!

Meet Johnna Estep

Johnna poses in a gray sweater and white dress.My name is Johnna%20Estep, and I am in the Occupational Therapy program’s class of 2025!  I am also currently studying with a minor in special education since I hope to work in pediatrics following my degree, specifically an elementary school setting! At Duquesne, I am a member of the Health Professions Society as well as on the board of Students for Autism Awareness. Outside of academia related clubs, I am involved in the Duquesne Club Dance Team. 

 

Meet Reagan Ruddock

Reagan standing in front of a stone wall wearing a red dress.My name is Reagan%20Ruddock; I graduated this past May from West Allegheny high school not far from here. I was a competitive cheerleader for about 7 years! I love music, watching movies, and spending time with friends and family. So far, I really enjoy Duquesne and the friends I've made. I also am very excited about continuing through the OT program and all the way to my professional phase! 

 

 

Meet Lauren Beck

Lauren smiles in a purple shirt in front of Duquesne's skyline.My name is Lauren%20Beck, and I am a 2nd year student at Duquesne University. I am from Maryland and am majoring in Occupational Therapy and minoring in Assistive Technology. Here at Duquesne, I am a part of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), Journal Club, Best Buddies, and Delight Ministries. In my free time, I enjoy going to spin classes, reading, and spending time with my family and friends. I am excited to continue learning about Occupational Therapy and look forward to helping people in my future profession!

 

Meet Julie Downs

Julie poses on the ground in a Duquesne sweatshirt.Hi! My name is Julie%20Downs, and I am a 5th year occupational therapy student and will be pursuing my doctorate in occupational therapy. I am from Harrison City, PA, and came to Duquesne as a transfer student after receiving my Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Seton Hill University in 2020. I was drawn to OT because I love its holistic approach that treats a person’s mind, body, and soul. The Duquesne curriculum has helped me explore so many facets of OT and I have fallen in love with adaptive and assistive technology which I hope to continue with following graduation. The DU OT program is also amazing because of its many options for campus involvement. I am a part of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), Phi Theta Epsilon (PTE), and the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD). Being a student ambassador means the world to me as I get to help those interested in entering the amazing and rewarding career of occupational therapy.

Meet Kelly Gregoire

Kelly smiles in a red velvet blouse in front of a garden.Hi, my name is Kelly%20Gregoire, and I am from Buffalo, New York. I am a 2nd year occupational therapy student, as well as a music minor. I am involved in many organizations on campus including Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), a health science fraternity called Pi Kappa Epsilon, and a community service organization called Circle K. I also participate in many music related groups, including the wind ensemble and flute choir. I chose to be an occupational therapy major because I love helping others reach their individual goals. In the future, I desire to be a pediatric occupational therapist. I love Duquesne due to all the amazing friendships and endless activities the city of Pittsburgh has.