Ali Ross stands smiling against a blue background

Ali Ross '20

Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T)


I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I changed majors a few times in my undergrad. It was always patient-oriented. First it was nursing, then physician assistant (PA), and then I picked up a psychology minor. Still, I didn’t know what my direction was.

Then there was a moment when I discovered what occupational therapy was. I was told that it’s client-centered and that you get to help people be their best selves in their own ways. I was sold. That’s exactly what I want to do. I want to be able to help people in their unique ways to be their best selves because not every person is the same — we’re not all robots.

I’m originally from New Jersey, but UNE drew me in initially because Maine is so beautiful. I was looking around at schools in New England, and I came to UNE to interview. I got to meet so many great people that day. I decided immediately that if I got accepted, I would come to UNE. I had no question about it. The people at UNE are the kindest people. I could tell right away that it was a place I wanted to be. The people that I interviewed with showed genuine interest in me and the other interviewees. I knew that they cared about why I was interested in coming here and would be invested in my learning.

Hands-on Learning

I like working with all populations of people from kids to older adults. We’re in our pediatric semester right now, and I am enjoying working with kids. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do in the future. We still have our fieldwork ahead of us. Right now, I’m drawn to the rehabilitation and older adult population. I think that’s what I want to do.

I like working with older adults because it’s similar to the work that I am used to as an EMT. It’s fast-paced, and it’s more structured than working with kids. All of the older adults that I’ve worked with carry so many stories. They each have years of wisdom, experience, and life. I’m drawn to that because in those scenarios I’m not just going into a room and manipulating an arm. Instead, I’m working with the person, their history, and their story. I learn a lot from them. That’s what I like about the older adult population.