Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Amanda Schlenker arrived at Ithaca College in the fall of her freshman year knowing she wanted to become an occupational therapist. What she didn’t know was how far an IC education could take her in this interactive, hands-on field.
She completed Ithaca’s five-year, B.S./M.S. occupational therapy program in 2009, and then launched her career in Boston with Thom Child & Family Services, a leading provider of programs for children with developmental difficulties.
“It was a job where I had to be independent,” she says. “My classes and fieldwork and internships gave me the experiences and the self-confidence I needed.”
Her experiences included work at the College’s own OT clinic, internships that put her classroom knowledge to real-world test, an anatomy class where she dissected a human cadaver (an option for OT students), and a thesis exploring how happiness affects performance, which she presented at the World OT Conference in Santiago, Chile.
Now she’s back in the Ithaca area, working at Child’s Play Occupational Therapy where she helps kids overcome challenges to live more fulfilled lives.
“I specialized in sensory integration,” Amanda says. “Everything we do comes to us through our senses. If there’s a problem there, it can throw off a kid’s world. So I come in and help families see how their child is interpreting the world differently, and then I offer ways to help get the kids back on track.”
Child’s Play is run by the IC faculty member who taught the pediatric occupational therapy courses Amanda took at Ithaca.
As for the future, Amanda is full of ideas. She’d like to combine music with occupational therapy, practice in a low-income community, or perhaps return to South America to share her skills.
“I knew in high school that OT would be a good fit for me,” she says. “I just followed that pathway through IC to graduation and into my career. There are so many opportunities. Ithaca’s given me the resources I need to learn and grow.”
>> More on this story: Occupational and Physical Therapy Clinic
Tim Reynolds developed shoulder pain while playing baseball in high school. After several weeks of physical therapy, he was finally pain-free.
“I realized I wanted to help others the way that therapist helped me,” Tim said. “When I heard about the reputation of IC’s physical therapy program, I wanted to go there.”
Tim received his bachelor’s in clinical health studies in 2012 and then entered IC’s two-year doctorate of physical therapy program, gaining clinical experience as well as academic honors—including an award recognizing him as one of the country’s top undergraduates in an allied health field.
Tim expected that IC would offer him opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in physical therapy. What he didn’t expect was that IC would offer him the chance to become a businessman. After taking a course in neuromuscular control, Tim saw a way to transform a standard dumbbell into a kettlebell.
“Kettlebells are spherical weights with a curved handle to accommodate a two-handed grip,” Tim said. “They combine strength, cardio, and flexibility training into a single workout. But an entire set costs hundreds of dollars and takes up a lot of floor space.”
With the help of two faculty members, Tim and a friend designed a clasp with a handle shaped like a subway strap. Securing the clasp around a dumbbell bar of any weight transforms it into a kettlebell. After dubbing the device a KettleShell, Tim needed to market it. Ithaca’s School of Business showed him how.
“I took classes on developing business plans and then pitched KettleShell at the New York State Business Plan Competition, which attracted over 430 entries. KettleShell took third place in the products and services category and $1,500 in prize money. Naturally I was encouraged.”
Tim is currently testing a prototype of his product at five colleges across the country and hopes to have KettleShells in production by the end of 2013—just five months before he completes his graduate program in physical therapy.
“I never considered becoming an entrepreneur, but once you get passionate about an idea, it’s a remarkable feeling. Being able to take courses in the business school shows how IC provides its students with unexpected opportunities. I’m a CEO and I’m still in college.”
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