Tom_GleasonNew York native Tom Gleason has been all over the world serving in the United States Air Force as a Digital Subscriber Terminal Equipment & Cryptographic Technician. After spending the majority of his adult life in Europe in various technical positions, he decided to return to school for a second career.

“It was a managerial position at UAB Hospital that provided the opportunity to realize an aspiration to enter the health profession,” said Gleason. “The position brought me full circle in life and made me realize the desire I’ve had to contribute more and the niche in society where I could provide service.”

He realized his dream was just down the street in the department of occupational therapy. He quit his position at the hospital and became a full-time OT student.

“A career in occupational therapy provides me the opportunity to interact with and assist individuals with a wide range of abilities,” said Gleason. “I’ve had the privilege to witness the endurance and fragility in life, and the difference an occupational therapist can make in a patient’s life.”

Gleason said the UAB OT program has quality professors that show a true commitment to their students.

“The program offers diverse community experiences, accessible professors, and an emphasis on research,” said Gleason. “Reflecting on my experience, UAB has provided me with an excellent education and an experience I will never forget.”

He is currently working as a therapy technician at Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital and plans to earn his graduate degree in December 2012.

After graduation, I plan on taking an active role in the community, especially in the minority segments where services are not as accessible,” said Gleason. “My experience with diverse cultures and language skills will serve me well connecting and communicating with segments of the population that are not well integrated and have yet to experience the comprehensive nature of occupational therapy.”