When Kylie Van Roekel applied to Washington University School of Medicine’s Program in Occupational Therapy ─ the number one Occupational Therapy program in the nation ─ she figured it was a long shot.
"When I got the letter of acceptance, it was a feeling of pride and joy,” Van Roekel said. “It also caused me to reflect on how Dordt has helped me shape my future. Without the opportunities Dordt provided me, I would not have the experience I have today.”
Van Roekel will stay in St. Louis until she graduates in 2020. From there, she hopes to apply what she has learned and become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Occupational Therapist. She is focusing much of her research on parent-child interaction in the NICU and is hoping to help improve NICU’s by implementing new programs and services within them.
Van Roekel found the ability to develop relationships to be something vital in her experience so far as an occupational therapist. The world of Occupational Therapy is focused heavily on the client and their needs; the ability to be personable is necessary for anyone interested in pursuing it.
“Because of the emphasis Dordt puts on engagement with peers and professors, I feel comfortable jumping into any social situation with ease,” Van Roekel said.
Van Roekel spent much of her time as an undergrad at Dordt in the psychology department.
“I hold the psychology professors and fellow psychology peers in extremely high regard,” Van Roekel said. “I know that I can call or email them to this day if I ever need anything.”
After being away from Dordt for almost a year, Van Roekel finds herself missing the wide-variety of student activities Dordt has to offer. Wednesday chapel, Thursday night worship and the Women of Promise Bible Study are all things Van Roekel wishes she could still participate in.
“Dordt provided me with opportunities that I would never have gotten if I went to a large state school,” Van Roekel said. “From traveling abroad, to leading Bible study, to cheering on athletics, to interacting closely with professors, to finding my soulmate, Dordt has so much to offer and something I will cherish forever.”