Downstate Occupational Therapy Students Inducted into OT National Honor Society

May 18, 2016

Student Christine Weston to Participate in Summer Institute of Future Scientists in OT 


SUNY Downstate Medical Center occupational therapy student Christine Weston has been selected as one of only twenty students nationwide to participate in The Summer Institute of Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy, a program matching potential student scientists with doctoral students and post-doctoral mentors.

A collaboration between the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, the program’s goals are to identify potential scientists in entry-level education programs; to connect potential entry-level scientists with mentors in the occupational therapy scientific community; and to develop a peer network.

Joyce S. Sabari, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the School of Health Professions, noted that “in addition to developing clinical skills for occupational therapy practice, Ms. Weston has set the goal of earning a PhD and investigating the prevalence of sensory processing differences in children born preterm, the impact of the sensory stimulation experienced in the NICU on infants’ development, and occupational therapy interventions that can be used to ameliorate these sensory challenges.”

Ms. Weston has also been awarded a community practice grant for her work at the Brooklyn Children's Museum to provide sensory experiences to children with and without disabilities.

She also was also one of ten students in the Master of Science Program in Occupational Therapy recently inducted into the Alpha Kappa chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon, the national honor society for the occupational therapy profession, and one of five students presented with awards to implement exemplary community service programs they developed in the Community Practice course.

“These students, who represent a wide range of undergraduate and professional backgrounds, have achieved academic excellence and made significant contributions through volunteer activities,” said Dr. Sabari.

Pi Theta Epsilon inductees are: Brittany Ackerman, Giovannina Arcese, Joshua Beyer, Evan Conquest, Caroline Goldman, Talya Keschner, Thomas Pearl, Aline Sutton, and Eve Tam, in addition to Ms. Weston.

Community service awardees are: Madeha Ayub, whose community service program focused on   social skills training to promote self-efficacy at the Muslim American Society Youth Center; Chanel DeLisser, for her program on ergonomics education for students at the High School of Fashion Industries; Megan Laitman, for her caregiver support program at the Martha Stewart Center for Living; Robyn Varon, for her falls prevention program at Sunrise Senior Living; and Christine Weston, for her sensory exploration program at Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Additionally, SUNY Downstate's Student Occupational Therapy Association is dedicated to serving the OT student body by running a variety of events throughout the year that are educational, extracurricular, and benefit the community, including:

  • New Student Orientation
  • Occupational Therapy Month in April
  • Backpack Awareness Day
  • Autism Awareness Fair
  • Annual participation in the New York State Occupational Therapy Association's Lobby Day
  • American Occupational Therapy Association Capitol Hill Day
  • Triwall Positioning Device Project at Brooklyn United Cerebral Palsy (UPC)
  • Fundraising to support AOTA conference representative
  • National Alliance for Mental Illness annual NAMIWALK.

For more information on the Occupational Therapy Program at SUNY Downstate’s School of Health Professions, please visit:



About SUNY Downstate Medical Center

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively.

SUNY Downstate ranks twelfth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.