West Coast University graduate Krikor Sarafian jokes that he was on campus so much studying for his master of science in occupational therapy (MSOT), they invited him to become faculty.
“What I’ve learned the most is that I’ve OT’d myself,” Sarafian shared. “The [MSOT] program taught me how to live my life, it’s not all about work, it’s about the quality of life and being happy. You need to constantly keep learning and challenging yourself to keep your mind and body healthy and active.”
Sarafian graduated in December 2015 and now works as an assistant faculty member at WCU assisting current master’s in occupational therapy as well as part-time in the in-patient rehabilitation clinic at Casa Colina.
“As a new graduate I get a lot of questions from students about what it is like to go through the program and I get to speak with them and mentor them,” he said.
Sarafian fell into the occupational therapy field after working in psychology as a therapist with children with autism. Several of his patients were also in occupational therapy and the owner of an OT clinic let him volunteer there, where he discovered his passion for the field. “Half the reason I love working is because of the students. I just like to help people. I love seeing people succeed and that drives me to do what I do,” Sarafian added.
Although Sarafian’s goal was always to work with children, he now says he’s been “blown away” by working with adults. “I heard about WCU from my mentor at the outpatient clinic, who connected me with Dr. Nicolaas Van Den Heever (founding dean of the MSOT program) who shared his vision of health, mental health, class size and location,” Sarafian shared. “WCU has a student first approach and I felt like they gave me that attention. WCU seemed like the right fit.”