Outstanding Houston student graduates with promise of return
National internships, faculty relationships and a goal of helping people recover from injuries are why Esmeralda Lizcano is proud to receive her master of occupational therapy degree from Texas Woman’s University in Houston Dec. 9.
“To be able to help someone regain a piece of their identity, to help them do that, that’s a huge honor for me” Lizcano said.
According to her professors, Lizcano is bright, capable and very intelligent, as well as warm, kind, and committed to a life of helping others — traits that are necessary for a successful career in occupational therapy. She currently is studying for her state board exams, and plans to work as an occupational therapist for a few years before returning to pursue her doctorate and help the next generation of occupational therapists.
Humbly, she describes how grateful she is to be receiving her degree, and takes little credit for all her hard work and accomplishments, thanking the faculty, “who have helped and inspired me, through the way they’ve helped and mentored me.”
When she described her time at the University, Lizcano discussed the close relationship that developed between her cohort and the faculty, and how prepared she felt for a career in occupational therapy.
“The faculty are the stepping stones; they want us to succeed and make sure we have everything we need to do so,” Lizcano said.
In addition to a strong mentoring relationship, Lizcano shared how important the integration and collaboration between theory and practice is in her field, something she feels TWU faculty model through their relationships with the community.
She also believes that being more aware of public policy will help her be a better occupational therapist, a concept she has become very involved with through her work with the national professional occupational therapist organization.
She was selected as the student intern for the Mental Health Special Interest Section for the American Occupational Therapy Association, and has served the organization for the last two years. The American Occupational Therapy Association is the national professional organization for occupational therapists. Her role as intern includes attending conferences, contributing to the gathering of knowledge in the mental health field, and disseminating it to the general public.
In addition, Lizcano has also received the Executive Women’s International Scholarship for two years in a row, the Member of the Year Service Award from the TWU Student Occupational Therapy Association, the Texas Occupational Therapy Foundation scholarship and the Alpha Kappa Alpha EAF scholarship.
As she begins her new role as an occupational therapist, Lizcano says she is proud to be a TWU graduate.
“Being a TWU alumni comes with a high standard. [Our alumni] have a high quality of education, proficiency and professionalism,” she said.
Lizcano’s commitment to the collaboration between scholarship and practice, and her dedication to service will undoubtedly position her for all the great things to come in her very bright future.
U.S. News and World Report ranks TWU’s graduate program in occupational therapy 15th in the nation and the university is among the top producers of occupational therapists in the nation. For more information about TWU’s occupational therapy program, visit www.twu.edu/occupational-therapy/.