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ATSU Master of Science in Occupational Therapy student says faculty invested in student success

What makes someone from St. Cloud, Minnesota, decide to go to graduate school in Mesa, Arizona? 

One visit to campus is all it took for A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) Master of Science in Occupational Therapy student Morgan Peterson, MSOT, ’25.

“I chose ATSU because the second I stepped foot on this campus, I knew it would become my home away from home,” Peterson said. “I spoke with first-year students in the program who were there to answer all my questions, and eased any stress I had felt in making the decision of where to go to grad school. 

“I was told how much our professors and faculty in our program truly cared for each student’s success. I had the opportunity to sit down and have lunch with some of the OT department staff before accepting my offer and knew that they cared about me as a whole person. ATSU’s mission and values aligned so nicely with my core values. I love that ATSU focuses on whole person care, community health, diversity, and most importantly the focus on underserved populations.”

Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree in education (major in special education, with an emphasis in rehabilitation; minor in leadership studies and practice) at the University of Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her talented cat, Mylo (“He plays fetch, hide-and-seek, knows how to sit, run on a cat wheel, and enjoys walks outside on his leash…yes, he is practically a dog.”) and is a bit of a sports fanatic.

“I love watching sports in my free time. Ohio everything! Ohio State Buckeyes, Cleveland Browns, and Cleveland Cavaliers on my teams,” Peterson said. 

Peterson also enjoys volunteering, and serves as vice president of the Student Occupational Therapy Association and is a student ambassador. 

“Being a first-generation college student, the thought of making a decision that will pave the path for my future was terrifying,” she said. “I had the opportunity to speak to two amazing student ambassadors before making my commitment, and I knew I immediately wanted to be able to give back and help ease the stress of these big decisions for future students. 

“I am so passionate about what ATSU stands for and I love sharing our awesomeness with future students. I think it is so important to give incoming students the opportunity to ask the hard questions. I love that I give them the opportunity to find more about what ATSU has to offer and why our program would be the best choice for them. I love giving tours of our beautiful campus, but also love getting the opportunity to speak about all the amazing resources available to students, like free tutoring, free textbooks, free therapy, and the amazing student life and clubs to be a part of.”

Peterson said the ATSU campus community is tight, with interdisciplinary events bringing students from various programs together. 

“I love how connected ATSU is,” Peterson said. “The recent BBQ and volleyball tournaments we had, and Founder’s Day was a super fun thing to be a part of, especially the Super Puff football tournament.”

Occupational therapy students joined with Speech-Language Pathology program and Audiology program students to form a team.

“We made it to the championship game, and although we didn’t win, we won the spirit stick for best morale and sportsmanship,” Peterson said. “There are so many opportunities to get to know the other students in different programs and I love that about ATSU.”

Ultimately, Peterson is looking forward to making a difference in the healthcare of her future patients. She’ds like to one day have her own practice, and said ATSU-ASHS is giving her the confidence and feedback she needs to pursue those goals.

One day, she hopes to pay back the people who have done so much for her.

“It is my goal to be able to retire my parents,” Peterson said. “They have sacrificed so much to allow me to be where I am today, and I could not do this without them.”

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