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.
In the early afternoon on Thursday, August 2, 2012, Meghan Musnicki took off on the ride of her life. Eight athletes focused on becoming one, rowing with a combined strength and fluidity that made them seem to fly over the surface of the water. The coxswain set the pace and shouted encouragement from the stern of the shell. Nobody could catch them.
In over two years of training with the U.S. Rowing team, Meghan won a handful of medals, including gold at the 2011 World Rowing Championships. But in the cool waters of Eton Dorney, Meghan’s greatest rowing goal was realized—the U.S. women’s eight had won Olympic gold.
Before joining crew at Ithaca College, Meghan could not have known that rowing would be part of her life after graduation. She transferred to Ithaca as a sophomore psychology major. "They were all very welcoming and friendly. They didn't make me feel like I was an outsider even though I had just transferred in the middle of the year," Meghan recalls.
The camaraderie Meghan felt only grew from there, as she formed lasting friendships with her teammates and coach, Becky Robinson. The team trained hard together and saw competitive success along the way. They won two NCAA titles, and Meghan was a 2005 first-team Division III all-American. It was then that she first saw the possibility of rowing in her future.
After graduation, Meghan decided to pursue a career in nursing. She applied to a number of accelerated nursing programs and was accepted—but the call of the water was strong. She had begun training more regularly and intensely, and put nursing on hold to work toward her Olympic dream. Among the many things she carries with her from her time at Ithaca College is the drive to be the best rower she can be.
"I love to win. I've always had a passion to compete, train, and be fast. It takes a level of commitment, drive, and willingness to push yourself beyond where you think you can go."
» More on this story: Women's Crew
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
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