If Maria College had an award for a student who travels the farthest to classes, Peter Aldana would be the recipient. He travels from his home in San Francisco every other weekend to attend Maria’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program. His decision to travel the 5,868 miles round trip twice a month was multi-fold.
“I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology because I wanted to help people, then I was hired by a Fortune 500 specializing in commercial mortgages. While it pays the bills, it doesn’t feed my soul. I was longing for a career in healthcare and occupational therapy seemed to fit, but I needed a weekend program and Maria College came up in my search—a top ranked program with Saturday and Sunday classes that cater to working adults. I contacted Maria and connected immediately with Scott Homer and Karyn Shenker-Gould.”
Peter started the Maria OTA program in the fall of 2017 and he is very optimistic about his future in helping others. This summer, he will begin the hands on training at a San Francisco healthcare facility. He stated, “I am eager to live Maria’s mission in the next phase of the OTA program by working in direct patient care near where I live. Maria College helped me find this opportunity. I’m grateful for their support, so I can achieve my dream of helping individuals regain every day living skills they lost from an injury or illness.”
According to Peter, the newly renovated lab space has enhanced his experience in developing skills with simulations based upon real life direct patient care scenarios. He stated, “Experiential learning activities and training take place in a variety of labs including, a pediatric lab, orthotics lab, sensory room, and activities of daily living or ADL lab, which includes a kitchen and bedroom unit.”
The new space is also equipped with cameras that allows lectures and lab demonstrations to be transmitted online allowing students who are working in remote field locations to continue to participate. Peter stated, “I am looking forward to continuing my Maria OTA studies in my home state this summer and the new state-of-the-art synchronous learning technology makes this possible.”
A year from now, in the spring of 2019, Peter has his sights on taking the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam. He stated, “This is a long-term commitment and investment, but I feel so privileged to be working with some of the best professionals in occupational therapy and I look forward to lifelong professional growth.”