Spring 2021
Directors Message
Our spring 2021 newsletter focuses on what brings value and joy to society. We are lifting our heads from the daily challenges of this past year and moving forward in gratitude. In our spotlights on faculty members, you’ll see how they find fulfillment in their work and roles. We highlight experiential learning opportunities in the community as offered by Claudette Fette and at a specialty hospital by Angela Shierk and Heather Roberts’ Therapy Together program. We are proud to share about our state and national leaders William Sit and Shannon Levandowski.

As for all of you alumni, we are excited that the Pioneer Occupational Therapy Alumni Chapter is up and running thanks to a group of alumni from across campuses and programs. Congrats to national awardees Tara Alexander (MOT) for her AOTF Meritorious Service Award, and to Amiee Piller (PhD ’16), recipient of the AOTF Virginia Scardina Award of Excellence and owner of Piller Child Development. We want to know even more about our alumni, and in future newsletters, we will highlight many of you who run your own clinics with entrepreneurial spirit.

There is so much to be excited about unfolding before us… and so much joy to experience. We hope you have a fulfilling summer—being well and occupied.

Noralyn D. Pickens, PhD, OT, Sr. Associate Director
News and Events
New TWU Occupational Therapy Alumni Chapter established
On February 4, 2021, the Occupational Therapy Alumni Chapter was recognized as an official TWU Pioneer Alumni Chapter. The chapter’s mission is “to engage and unite Occupational Therapy alumni to build strong connections in our profession, link our common interests and encourage future alumni to support the TWU School of Occupational Therapy as leading examples in work and in the community.” Five alumni chartered this organization:

  • Chair: DeLana Honaker (BS ’94, MA ’99, PhD ’01), OTR, CLT, FAOTA
  • Outreach Ambassador: Felisha Smith (MOT ’10), OTR
  • Communications Ambassador: Wendie B. Heine (BA ’08, MOT ’10), OTR
  • Programs/Events Ambassador: Ashley B. Harrell (MOT ’99), OTR
  • Social Media & Comms. Ambassador: Marie Nadine Garza (MOT ’14), OTR

We encourage everyone to keep your email updated, join us on Pioneer Network and follow us on Facebook.
We also want to acknowledge the passing of Dr. DeLana Honaker and recognize her important leadership in developing the new chapter. Her love for Texas Woman’s was evident in all she did. She brightened every room and every interaction. We are proud of her as a multi-alumna from her bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees, and so proud of the work she did as an entrepreneur, educator and advocate. Her leadership at TBOTE and her national service will be missed.
Vanderkooi Endowed Lectureship goes virtual with Slagle award recipient
The 2021 Vanderkooi Endowed Lectureship, held in April, blazed new ground in innovation, leadership and commitment in more ways than one. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, TWU faculty and students pivoted to host the event virtually for the first time in the history of its establishment.
Faculty create intervention program for children with unilateral cerebral palsy
TWU School of Occupational Therapy Assistant Professors Heather Roberts, PhD, OT, and Angela Shierk, PhD, OTR, collaborated with Scottish Rite for Children in Dallas this spring to complete a feasibility study of Therapy Together, an intervention program developed for infants and young children with unilateral cerebral palsy.
TWU Student Occupational Therapy Association stays active in local communities
The TWU Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) is making the world a little brighter through service to local communities of Denton, Dallas and Houston.
Student Spotlight
Occupational therapy graduate has a passion for helping others
Houston native Anthony Bui wanted to make a difference in the world, but wasn’t sure how to accomplish that. He knew it would involve serving others, though, and joined the U.S. Marine Corps right after graduating high school. Now, he’s set to receive his MOT degree in TWU’s May 2021 Houston commencement ceremony.
Educator Spotlights
TWU School of Occupational Therapy educators are dedicated to their students, research and enhancing the profession. We spotlight a few faculty and their outstanding contributions.
Faculty Accomplishments
  • Shannon Levandowski, EdD, OTD, MS, OTR, BCP, SCSS, associate clinical professor and academic fieldwork coordinator for Denton, Dallas and Houston, was appointed as AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) Academic Leadership AFWC chairperson.

  • Heather Roberts, PhD, OTR, and Angela Shierk, PhD, OTR, received a $20,000 private donation for their Therapy Together program.

  • William Sit, PhD, OT, BCPR, associate clinical professor, was named TOTA’s 2020 Texas Occupational Therapist of the Year, received the TWU Dallas Campus Outstanding Faculty Redbud Award and served as AOTA Representative Assembly for Texas in 2021.
Faculty Publications
  • Burns, S. P., Terblanche, M., Perea, J. D., Lillard, H., DeLaPena, C., N. Grinage, A. MacKinen, & E. Cox (2021). mHealth intervention applications for adults living with the effects of stroke: A scoping review. Archives of Rehabilitation Research and Clinical Trials. doi: 10.1016/j.arrct.2020.100095

  • Espiritu, E. W., & Smith, T. M. (2021). Health, wellness, and well-being of a non-traditional occupational therapy student: A case study. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health: A Journal of Psychosocial Practice and Research. 37:1, 87-103, doi: 10.1080/0164212X.2020.1832942

  • Juengst, S. B., Terhorst, L., Nabasny, A., Wallace, T., Weaver, J., Osborne, C.L., Burns, S.P., Wright, B., Wen, P., Kew, C.N., & Morris, J. (2021). Use of mHealth technology for patient-reported outcomes in community-dwelling adults with acquired brain injuries: A scoping review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18(4), 2173; doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042173
Are you a TWU OT alumnus and an entrepreneur?
We would love to hear how TWU helped prepare you for leadership and your personal business story.

Please email [email protected] or let us know how to reach you through our contact form below.
Support TWU Students

Please consider giving any amount to the Occupational Therapy Faculty and Alumni Scholarship, a robust scholarship fund that, when endowed, will provide financial support for OT students in need.
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