This year’s World Occupational Therapy (OT) Day theme: Opportunity + Choice = Justice. The concept hits home for Arantxa Amaya, a second-year OT student at NAU.
“Occupational therapists strive to promote occupational justice, so individuals have an equal opportunity to engage in diverse occupations that are meaningful and purposeful to them,” she said.
This, she said, is what makes OT such a unique profession—a profession she is thrilled to join so she can help those in need.
Pursuing a degree in occupational therapy was not always Amaya’s plan. What she did know early on was that she was interested in a field related to family and child services.
“I discovered OT about a year after graduating from the University of Arizona with my bachelor’s in family studies and human development,” Amaya said. “I decided to get a job in Arizona Early Intervention to learn more about OT and get exposure to the profession. During my time working for Early Intervention, I had the opportunity to learn from and work with an amazing occupational therapist that sparked my desire to pursue OT as a profession.”
Amaya, who hopes to use her degree in OT to serve underrepresented communities, said growing up in Yuma heavily influenced her decision to attend NAU.
“What caught my interest in the NAU OT program was its dedication to serving Arizona,” she said. “Being able to learn from my community and give back is significant to me. Having a supportive community in the program has been helpful in my learning and preparing for my career as an occupational therapist.”
Throughout her time at NAU, Amaya has advocated for OT through the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity NAU Chapter, worked with local organizations to implement OT skills and met like-minded friends who helped her grow and succeed. She believes the collective experiences she’s had as part of NAU’s OT program prepared her for a successful future.
“In the future, I would like to continue my OT journey in the field of pediatrics. I know I want to serve my community, working with underrepresented populations and advocating for diversity within the profession.”
About World Occupational Therapy Day
Since its first celebration in 2010, World Occupational Therapy Day has become an important day for everyone in the occupational therapy (OT) field, as this day is used to promote and celebrate the profession at a global level.
The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) is the international voice of the occupational therapy profession which globally comprises of 107 national occupational therapy professional organizations. World Occupational Therapy Day is the opportunity to heighten the visibility of the profession’s development work and to promote the activities of WFOT locally, nationally and internationally.