An Exploration of the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Capstone: Perspectives from Capstone Coordinators, Graduates, and Site Mentors
Document Type (Journals)
Few studies have investigated entry-level doctoral capstone outcomes regarding how the experience and project relate to employment opportunities. This descriptive study reports various stakeholders’ perspectives regarding the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral (OTD) capstone in relation to employment opportunities and awareness of the profession. Authors disseminated a nationwide survey to doctoral capstone coordinators, entry-level OTD graduates, and capstone site mentors. Ten doctoral capstone coordinators, 68 OTD graduates, and 22 capstone site mentors responded to the survey. Collectively, doctoral capstone coordinators reported that 117 OTD graduates obtained employment in a setting related to the focus of their doctoral capstone and gave examples of graduates employed as entrepreneurs, faculty, program specialists, and supervisors. OTD graduates most often completed their doctoral capstones in community-based settings with projects focusing on program development. Sixty-four percent of the OTD graduates were employed at their doctoral capstone site or at a site similar to where they completed their doctoral capstone. Professional background of capstone site mentors varied, and all mentors who were not occupational therapy professionals reported improved awareness of occupational therapy after mentoring an OTD student. Outcomes of the OTD doctoral capstone are needed to support the efficacy of this experience and project. This study begins to provide such outcomes by reporting findings related to employment and awareness of the profession.
Anne Kiraly-Alvarez, OTD, OTR/L, SCSS is Associate Professor and Director of Capstone Development in the Occupational Therapy Program at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL. Her research interests include doctoral capstones, life skills interventions for adolescents & young adults with intellectual and developmental disability, and exploring cultural influences on occupation.
Autumn Clegg, Ed.D., OTR is an Associate Professor and serves as the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Doctoral Capstone Coordinator at UT Health San Antonio. She has clinical experience in adult rehabilitation and expertise working with patients with ALS. Her research interests include doctoral capstones, clinical education, ALS, and community-based research.
Whitney Lucas Molitor, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, BCG is Assistant Professor and Capstone Director at the University of South Dakota. Her teaching responsibilities are in adult physical rehabilitation assessment and intervention, occupational performance for adults, and community-based practice. Research interests include health promotion, cultural implications on occupational performance, and interprofessional education.
Danielle Friberg, OTD, OTR/L is Capstone Coordinator and Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Program at Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, CA. Her research interests include doctoral capstones, clinical education, the role of occupational therapy in maternal health, and early identification and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Kiraly-Alvarez, A. F., Clegg, A., Lucas Molitor, W., & Friberg, D. (2022). An Exploration of the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Capstone: Perspectives from Capstone Coordinators, Graduates, and Site Mentors. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 6 (1). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2022.060114
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