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Rebecca Jensen '17

Discovers Passion and Continues to Pursue Occupational Therapy Doctorate


When Rebecca Jensen ’17 started at Simpson College, she was ready to take on college as a pre-medicine student and eventually become a doctor. But this idea was short-lived when she realized she didn’t want to diagnose patients. Imagine being the person telling someone they were sick, possibly dying.

Instead, Rebecca wanted to focus on helping patients post-diagnosis. This is where Simpson’s faculty came in and helped her discover occupational therapy. They set her up with a double major in exercise science and athletic training and set her on her way.

Now Rebecca will be attending Creighton University in the fall as a student in the occupational therapy doctorate program, but getting there wasn’t as simple as it sounds. It took hard work from Rebecca and motivation from her professors like Nicci Whalen and Emily Hanson.

“They are responsible, strong, and direct women who would answer any question and assist your needs in any way,” Rebecca said. “They pushed you out of your comfort zone because they see the potential in each student without judging their decisions.”

Just to be accepted to the OT program, Rebecca took all the required prerequisite classes, took summer classes, completed observation hours, contacted Simpson alumni for advice and did several interviews. It all paid off when she received her acceptance letter.

Beyond her rigorous studies, she was highly involved on campus, participating in track and field, the exercise science club, Wesley Service Scholars, Rotaract, the Spanish club, the athletic training club, Alpha Lambda Delta honor fraternity and work study positions. It sounds like a lot but she knows it’s given her an upper hand in life.

“Have more than one major and work the hardest your first couple of years here. It is better to be ahead of the game when you don’t entirely know what you want instead of trying to play catch up,” she said.

This advice didn’t always come easily for Rebecca. She was pushed out of her comfort zone a few times and taught to take risks.

“Be comfortable with being uncomfortable, have high confidence even if it’s fake, and don’t regret anything because this mindset will help you succeed the most,” she said.