Alumna Finds Passion And Purpose In Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Johan Gutierrez has had a passion for occupational therapy since she saw how beneficial it was for her young cousin.

“My cousin is my ultimate best friend … watching him progress and learn all these wonderful things the therapist was teaching him made me realize, ‘Wow this therapist is providing these wonderful skills for independence for him through play,’” she said. “I thought that was so fun. I love to play all day, so why not do it?”

Gutierrez found that the Master of Occupational Therapy program at West Coast University gave her the student-centric education she didn’t have at her undergraduate school.

“The professors really did take into consideration each of the student’s personal narratives and their stories,” she said. “They got to know us on a super personal basis.”

Gutierrez also formed strong bonds with her classmates. Her program had 34 students, which allowed them to connect personally and professionally.

“We grew as a family,” she said. “We struggled together. We conquered together. We went through it all.”

Since graduating in 2019, she has found deeper meaning in the ways she can impact and improve the lives of her patients through her work.

“Occupational therapy is a very rewarding and humbling career,” she said. “You have the opportunity to help people achieve their goals.”

Gutierrez also offers her insights into the occupational therapy profession via her social media account. She uses her platform to spread awareness and encourage others who may be interested in pursuing occupational therapy at WCU.

“I love to help out and spread information about occupational therapy and West Coast,” she shared. “It’s honestly so great to get paid for what you love to do. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true.”

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.