Lauren CogginsLauren Coggins of Huntsville has accomplished a lot in the short amount of time she’s been an occupational therapy student at UAB. She was inducted into the OT National Honor Society (Pi Theta Epsilon), she currently serves as public relations chair for the Student OT Association, and was director of last month’s “Run and Walk with OT 5K race.” This is coming from a student who didn’t know that much at all about her chosen profession until a few years ago.

“After learning more about the profession, I can see how the field uses my talents and gifts I have been given and allows me to make the most of those,” said Coggins.

Choosing UAB was not a tough decision for her either.

“After speaking with friends who have previously been through the program, it really seemed like the style and structure of this program best fit my personality and style of learning,” said Coggins. “It’s also very nice to be so close to home.”

Coggins learned the creativity OT allows for a practitioner and was something she was quickly drawn to in the beginning.

“I love that this is such a client-centered profession, and that requires you to form great relationships with each client and really come up with creative treatments that are going to cater specifically to them,” said Coggins.

She said she has a heart and passion for pediatrics and specifically, children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. But she cautions incoming students to keep their options open.

“I thought I knew exactly which setting I wanted to work in,” said Coggins. “However, throughout program classes and fieldwork experiences, I have realized that there is a variety of settings I could see myself in.”

Coggins is expected to earn her master’s degree in December 2013 with hopes of staying in Birmingham and working in a pediatric setting.

“Working in some type of school setting would most likely be my ‘dream job’ specifically because of the population I would be working with, but as for now, I am keeping my options open and look forward to seeing which direction I am directed in over the next year,” said Coggins.