Student Profiles | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Student Profiles


Janet Bucey, OTD '15

Janet Bucey OTD '15

The OTD journey at Chatham University was invigorating and rewarding!

Despite the fact that I was 30 years into the field before I started the OTD program at Chatham, it was an excellent time for me professionally and personally to succeed and gain maximal benefit from the program. Regardless of dedicated participation and continuing education in pediatric occupational therapy over the years of my practice, I lacked understanding of the expanded occupational science, professional theory, and evidence-based practice skills.

Chatham's program allowed me to share my experience and strengthen my professional passions through the collaborative cohort approach and the opportunity to focus one's study to individually preferred topics. In addition, the program set up was flexible enough for me to live in Germany while completing it.

The degree journey gave me expertise in evidence-based practice. It gave me exposure to occupational therapists in various practice areas and broadened my appreciation of the contemporary profession.

I am now positioned to contribute more significantly to the profession by being a better analyzer, clinical researcher, mentor, and leader in the health field.

Steven Eberth, OTD '15

Steven Eberth OTD '15

In 1996, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and quickly discovered my desire to both learn and teach. I obtained my master’s degree in order to be able to teach in an OT program and greatly enjoyed the experience. 

Ten years later when I became a program director of an occupational therapy assistant program I realized I also wanted a doctorate degree. I determined my interests were in applied research and knew I was looking for a doctorate in occupational therapy program that was broad enough in scope to allow me to advance my skills overall.

When I enrolled at Chatham University, I received a welcome folder in the mail with large print that said, "Ready to Think Big?" I had practiced for nearly 20-years in many settings and I can say that during my time at Chatham University both my professors and my fellow students challenged me to think big.

I had no idea just how big I would begin to think about my own possibilities as a result of the academic experience and encouragement I received. I can assure you that I apply the lessons learned here in my practice with my clients, in my patient safety business, and with my students at the University where I teach part-time. I was well-prepared to think big!

Elaine Keane, OTD '15

Elaine Keane OTD '15

I had wanted to earn a doctorate degree for over 20 years but there were no doctoral programs within driving distance that interested me and family responsibilities kept me in a relatively isolated area.

When online occupational therapy programs started opening I looked again, but the cost continued to keep me from applying. As I began spending more time in Ecuador the onsite components of many online programs also made me hesitate because I worried that I couldn't fit the onsite into my schedule.

A postcard in the mail about Chatham's Corporate Partners program nudged me to look at Chatham again. I quickly realized that Chatham had everything that I had been looking for, flexibility to meet my needs as an international practitioner, classes in Evidence Based Practice and Occupational Science and a Capstone project that I could design around the needs of my nontraditional workplace.

The two onsite visits were short and scheduled at times that worked well for me. Although it was still expensive, it is impossible to measure the value of the knowledge I gained during the course of the Chatham OTD Program.


Chris Meister, OTD '14

Chris Meister OTD '14

I earned my B.S. degree in OT in 1989 and told myself that I would go back and get my master’s degree within five years. Well, life went on, and my job and family kept me busy, and that just never happened.

When I had been out of school almost 23 years, two of my college friends that had been a part of my undergraduate program told me that they were applying to the OTD program at Chatham. I figured that if I was ever going to go back to school now seemed like a better time than any, and maybe I could be a part of the program with my two friends.

The bridge program appealed to me because it allowed me to transition into the OTD program even though I did not have my master's degree. I won't say that it wasn’t a challenge learning to use new technology and being part of an on-line group, but it was very possible. I was immediately surprised by how close I felt to the other students and faculty in the program even though almost all of our communication was on-line.

It was great to hear what other OTs were doing in their practices all over the country. My two friends and I successfully graduated from Chatham in May 2014. For me, the program helped me to feel much more in touch with the current trends in OT, helped me to learn more about technology, gave me more confidence in my knowledge, and gave me a renewed interest and excitement for the profession.

Jeffrey Hatton, OTD '13

Jeffrey Hatton '13

The professional doctorate of occupational therapy program at Chatham University helped to define and further prepare me for leadership roles within my own institution. As a full-time faculty member and department chairperson of an exercise science and wellness program I am faced with many challenges, including distinguishing between good and bad information. The unique approach involving evidence-based practice and the threading of the concepts throughout the program proved invaluable. I am applying lessons and concepts realized in the program on a daily basis with pronounced success. The content offered in the program is nothing short of exceptional, but even the content cannot effectively measure up to the compassionate faculty and supportive learning environment fostered by all involved. I was immediately welcomed as a member of a new family and the bonds forged in this program are solid and meaningful. The diminutive size of the cohort allowed for deep discussion and interaction throughout the entire program. I would not hesitate in the least to recommend this program to any working professional in the field of occupational therapy. The short time frame is challenging but the professional and personal rewards are countless.

Lynne Huber, OTD '13

I had been in the field of occupational therapy for over half of my life when I began the doctoral program at Chatham. I graduated from Mount Aloysius as an OT Assistant and worked for a few years before becoming inspired to do more in the profession. I wanted to learn more, understand more, and do more than I could as an assistant. I returned to school at College Misericordia to obtain my BS in OT. In 2010 I received the Master Clinician of the year award from the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association. After being honored in such a way and feeling like there was more of an impact that I could make on a daily basis I decided to apply to Chatham’s bridge to the OTD program. It was a wonderful decision.

I am thankful for the educational experience, the leadership and support at Chatham. It has opened more doors for me than I would have thought possible just three short years ago. I have embraced evidenced-based practice, instituted a structured communication system in my clinic and have taken on leadership roles in the workplace and the state organization. I owe a lot of this to the wonderful faculty at Chatham and the experience of the doctoral adventure. This experience has helped me to have a greater engagement in all my occupations.

Tammy Bickmore, OTD '11

Chatham has exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Once I decided to do the OTD and not the PhD, I am grateful that I met someone who so strongly recommended Chatham. She was a friend of a one that I really knew and yet her endorsement was overwhelmingly positive. It seemed like everything took me back to Chatham as an option. Continued positive reputation...and rightly so! The faculty and my fellow cohort members are amazing, talented practitioners and it has been a pleasure to work beside you all. I never thought that an online program would offer me the quality of education that Chatham has provided.

Ann Stuart, OTD '10

My MOT degree was 30 years old...I was excited to try some new directions, but lacked entrepreneurial skills, 21st century teaching competencies, and the computer skills required for effective evidential searches in support of best practice interventions. Chatham University’s online OTD program provided me the framework, timetable, resources, inspiration and collegial support necessary to further pursue my professional passions. Coursework was easily connected to practice, opened new access to current professional theory and evidence, and built logically toward completion of my capstone project. Chatham University is true to its mission of preparing students to excel and engage in their professions, to be globally conscious, and to be lifelong learners and citizen leaders!