Pathway to Occupational Therapy School: Former KIP Student Alexa Destrampe’s Story

My name is Alexa and I am currently an Occupational Therapy student at Concordia University Wisconsin.

As an undergraduate student at Michigan Tech, I studied Exercise Science and also earned a minor in Psychology. As a pre-Occupational Therapy student at MTU, I was able to learn about the human body from many different perspectives. In addition to kinesiology and psychology classes, I also took courses in biology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, neuroscience, epidemiology, neurology, mindfulness & meditation, psychopathology, & archaeology. Every course I took at Michigan Tech helped me become the occupational therapy student I am today, as OT is a holistic medical profession that highlights all branches of human health. That said, having a focus on movement science was especially helpful when learning the basics of the human body.

I chose occupational therapy as my future profession because it combines science and creativity effortlessly. For example, if two different clients came to see me for carpal tunnel treatment, their treatment plans would look very different from each other, even with the same diagnoses. Each patient requires treatment based on their unique occupations; things you need, want, and are expected to do in society. I was drawn to the vastness of opportunity that this career holds. I will never be bored and will always be helping others live their life to the fullest as an occupational therapist. Additionally, being an occupational therapist will require action through advocacy. Advocating for the profession as a whole, future clients, populations, as well as myself is something I am passionate about. 

I went into my first semester at MTU nervous to get involved but quickly shed that fear. While I was at Tech I spent a lot of my time in the athletic training room, in the sleep research lab, and out in the campus & local communities promoting healthy habits & lifestyle changes. I invested time into experiences that I was passionate about. Through these experiences, I gained confidence in professional and medical language, developed interpersonal skills, and sharpened my analytical skills. 

None of this would have been possible if I did not network with my professors, academic advisors, and mentors. The people at Michigan Tech are what sets my experience apart from what “could have been”. I truly don’t think I would have had the opportunities I did at MTU had I went elsewhere. The class sizes are small, the librarians and tutors are helpful, and the community that Michigan Tech creates is a safe one. 

I applied to Concordia University – Wisconsin’s program right on time. CUW’s OT program was one of the only post-baccalaureate programs in the country to have a January start. I just so happened to graduate in December and knew if I had the choice, I wanted to head right to OT school. If I hadn’t been accepted, I would have applied to other schools and took the next few months to take a breather. But, it was fate, so I packed my bags and headed South to Milwaukee! Concordia’s OT program is a great fit and the view of Lake Michigan even reminds me of home. 

My number one piece of advice is to take initiative when planning for your desired successes. When applying to OT school you should stay organized and be intentional about the choices you make starting your very first semester of undergrad. Talk to your pre-health advisor to plan both your academics and extracurriculars. I would also highly suggest shadowing practicing occupational therapists throughout your undergraduate career. This helped me directly learn about OT and stay excited about my future even when I was overwhelmed with the common stresses of school. 


Steve Elmer Named AKA Leadership Institute Fellow

Steve Elmer has been named an American Kinesiology Association (AKA) Leadership Institute Fellow for the 2023 cohort.

The AKA Leadership Institute utilizes a mentoring model to provide exceptional training and networking for emerging faculty leaders. Fellows are limited to around 10 per year, and the AKA maintains a fellows-to-mentors ratio of no more than 2:1.

Elmer will begin the 12-month leadership program in January 2022.


KIP September Seminar: Public Health

Please join us this Friday, September 17, from 2 to 4 pm for two KIP Seminars.

The first seminar (2-3pm) will focus on “Careers in Public Health” and the second seminar (3-4pm) will focus on “The Intersection of Kinesiology and Public Health”. The seminars will take place in-person in ATDC 101 or they can be attended virtually through Zoom.

More information on the panelists and presenters, as well as how to join the Zoom meeting, can be found on the flyers below.


KIP Student Rachel Clayton Spent Her Summer Creating a 3D Vestibular Model

Read more about how Rachel’s internship inspired her to create a vestibular model that demonstrates what happens in the inner ear with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Josh Hill, DPT at UPHS-Portage Rehab Center. My special project for the internship was the creation of a vestibular model. This model can be used in the clinic to demonstrate to the patient what occurs in the inner ear with the condition Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV occurs when a crystal from the otolith organs becomes dislodged and falls into the semicircular canals of the vestibular labyrinth. The crystals that fall into the semicircular canals respond to changes in head positions that they would not normally respond to causing the patient to feel dizzy. 

The idea for my project arose in an appointment when Josh was trying to explain what causes vertigo in the case of BPPV. He shared, with me, instructions to create the model that would benefit patients’ understanding in these cases. I began the project by working with the 3D printing lab at Michigan Tech to print the base of the model. Mineral oil, clear plastic tubing, and crushed stone inlay were used to create the semicircular canals. The clear plastic tubing was increased in scale to represent the actual dimensions of the semicircular canals. The tubing was filled with mineral oil and a little crushed stone inlay. The small size of the stones in the mineral oil fall at the approximate speed at which the stones would move in the semicircular canals. 

Follow the link here to watch a video of Rachel’s model in action.


COVID-19 Town Hall Thursday, August 26: Dealing with the Delta Variant

Join us Thursday from 7:00-8:00pm ET for the COVID-19 Community Town Hall. Organized by the Health Research Institute at Michigan Technological University, the 60-minute Town Hall broadcast can be heard live at 7:00pm ET on 97.7 The Wolf (WOLV-FM) and 99.1 (WIKB-FM) and viewed through a Zoom Webinar and Facebook Live. The Town Hall can also be viewed on ABC 10 Sunday at 12:00pm EST. Town Hall moderators Steve Elmer and Kelly Kamm (KIP/HRI) will discuss a range of pandemic-related issues (vaccines, community transmission, mental health and well-being, and more). More information along with the Zoom link for the Town Hall can be found on the Health Research Institute’s COVID-19 Town Hall Series webpage.


COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics at MTU

With the beginning of the Fall semester around the corner, Michigan Tech in partnership with the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center will be holding walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics on campus. These clinics are open to all students, faculty, and staff.

The dates are August 24 during Orientation Week, and then September 1 and September 2 at the Rozsa Center Lobby from 3 to 5 pm. No appointment is required.

Please visit MTU Flex’s website for more information about the upcoming clinics and for additional information on quarantine guidelines and COVID-19 vaccination.


Gain Experience through the Athletic Training Student Aid Program

For those interested in Athletic Training, there is a great opportunity to gain some experience at Michigan Tech!

The Athletic Training Student Aid Program gives students the opportunity to work under an athletic trainer to acquire knowledge and skills related to the domains of athletic training, which can be valuable to all healthcare professions. Areas of opportunity in the ATSA Program include assisting in practice and game coverage, observing orthopedic injury assessments, and potential travel to MTU away games.

Please find the ATSA Program’s flyer and visit the program’s website for more information.


KIP Department Presenting at the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics

The 45th annual meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics will take place August 10 through 13.

Jessica Pitts (MS, Kinesiology) and Dr. Carolyn Duncan’s (KIP) team will give two presentations during the virtual meeting. Below are the titles of each study and the colleagues who worked on them. Best of luck to all!

For more information on the American Society of Biomechanics and its annual meeting, visit the ASB’s website.

“Effect of Wearing a Backpack on Speed and Kinematics of Reactive Stepping”
Pitts, J., Verbrigghe, D., Siko, C., Smith, A., Elmblad, K. Komisar, V., Nussbaum, M. A., Duncan, C. A. (2021)

“The Influence of Huntington’s Disease on Reactive Balance Movement Latencies”
Pitts, J., Gainer, A., Seidowski, C., Gwaltney, C., Duncan, C, A. (2021)


Applications for the CMU DPT program are Open for Michigan Tech Students

If you are thinking about or are preparing to apply to doctorate in physical therapy programs, Michigan Tech University’s partnership with Central Michigan University’s DPT program is a fantastic option. Information on the program, requirements, and how to apply can be found in the flyer below. Also, find KIP’s website for even more information on this program.