Portraits of two occupational therapy students, both smiling at camera. Left: Jordan Agabin. Right: Elise Parker.

In recognition of their academic excellence, OT students receive national scholarships

Two Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) students at the University of New England have received scholarships from industry and trade organizations, underscoring their excellence as students and future occupational therapists (OTs).

Jordan Agabin (M.S.O.T., ’23) has been awarded the E.K. Wise Scholarship from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the national professional association for OTs, while Elise Parker (M.S.O.T., ’23) has been awarded the Care for Underserved Communities Award from Exxat, a national company that develops education management platforms for health sciences programs.

Portrait of Jordan Agabin, smiling in front of flower bush

Jordan Agabin

The E.K. Wise scholarship is awarded annually to just three students across the country. The scholarship supports entry-level occupational therapy students from diverse backgrounds and is renewable for a second year.

Agabin said he was initially surprised to learn he was selected for the award.“My surprise was followed by feelings of immense joy and gratitude,” he said. “News of my scholarship made me realize the body of work I have produced since I embarked on my occupational therapy journey."

"This was a huge win for me in my academic career, and I am thankful to be one of the three recipients,” Agabin added.

Agabin said he is also thankful for the supportive community of the occupational therapy program at UNE.

“I’m grateful for all the opportunities and resources available to me at UNE that have helped me express my passion and devotion for occupational therapy,” he remarked. “It also feels empowering to have a community of OT faculty and peers that have supported me in graduate school every step of the way.” 

Parker, who is also a graduate assistant in UNE’s Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education (CECE), is one of just 16 students nationally to win a scholarship from Exxat and one of only four to win the Care for Underserved Communities Award. According to the company, winners of the scholarship play an instrumental role in removing barriers to health care for underrepresented communities.

As an occupational therapist, Parker said she would like to explore the unique role that OT plays in community mental health and within the criminal justice system.

Portrait of Elise Parker

Elise Parker

Recently, she was involved in the assembly of over 1,000 harm reduction kits for newly released inmates, in a partnership between UNE and the Maine Department of Corrections.

“I want to utilize my career to foster connection for others in order to support wellness,” she said. “I plan to continue to engage in harm reduction efforts as well and to find sustainable ways to continue the projects that I have started as a student.”

Parker said she would not be able to partake in such efforts if it were not for the support she has received from UNE’s M.S.O.T. program and CECE.

“I have received an abundance of support to make these goals come to fruition, and it would not have been possible without their assistance,” she remarked. “Additionally, CECE’s support in making these efforts interprofessional has transformed the effectiveness of my contributions and has assisted in making these harm reduction efforts truly unique and innovative within the world of academia.”