Jodie O’Connell Ponkos

My journey to becoming enrolled as an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) student at Maria College was an unexpected change of direction from the 25+ years as a Retail Store Manager. At the age of 16 I lost my dominant hand and acquired my 1st prosthetic devices 30+ years later in June of 2015. Almost immediately my life began to change. I was able to learn pattern recognition that makes it possible to multi-articulate–quickly open and close my hand, do various grips, and do pronation and supination with ease. I felt a confidence emerge and realized that I wanted to take this experience further.  With the guidance of my Occupational therapist, who is a congenital amputee, I found myself enrolled at Maria College. My experience at Maria has been profound; the professors and staff make me feel like I can accomplish anything and they understand my challenges. They are very supportive and understanding as I learn to perform many OTA lab practicals with and without a prosthesis and it’s been an amazing experience. I have recently decided to pursue my Bachelor’s in Health & Occupational Science and plan to later enroll in a Masters OT program. I’m so excited I decided to pursue a career where I know I can enhance and impact the lives of others in a positive manner.

-Jodie O’Connell Ponkos


  • Comment:

    It’s been a pleasure to see you work so hard to get where you’ve gotten; it’s obvious that you are reaching even further… Granted, you’ve had some encouragement from others, but the motivation and effort are yours to claim.. All who know you are impressed…

    Submitted by Thomas Passero on

  • Comment:

    Hey Jodi,

    Great choice for a career . I returned at 42 to obtain MS in OT. You bring a unique perspective to the field and will be a valuable asset to your clients. Stay with it, I wish you well.

    Tom Trainor, MS,OT/L

    Submitted by Tom Trainor on

Leave a Comment