Adrianne SmileyAdrianne Smiley, AOTA Emerging LeaderAdrianne Smiley, a 2nd year student in the UAB Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program, is the first UAB student to be accepted to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Emerging Leaders Development Program.

“I am enthusiastic about opportunities to shadow and work with AOTA's national officers on projects that focus on prioritized strategies, such as diversity and advocacy, in efforts to achieve goals outlined in our profession's Centennial Vision,” said Smiley.

In her application essay, Smiley said she was eager to serve the occupational therapy profession and wishes to be actively involved and lead initiatives that contribute to the profession's effort to be a recognized as a powerful, widely recognized, and science-driven profession. She emphasized her experiences in leadership roles within the Birmingham community and even identified areas where she believes she can grow as a leader to best serve the profession.

“Adrianne has always been a hardworking student with an interest in leadership,” said Laura Vogtle, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, professor and director of the UAB OT Postprofessional Master’s program. “This is a unique situation – our students send representatives to the AOTA National Student Conclave and many go to national meetings, but Adrianne is the first student we have had who has even been interested in applying for the Emerging Leaders Development Program. She put a great deal of time and effort into her application and we as faculty are very excited with her accomplishment.”

Ultimately, Smiley wants to practice in a pediatric clinical setting while also actively serving in state and national leadership roles. She hopes to contribute to the profession's goals by developing innovative ways to promote leadership and involvement amongst practitioners. She also wants to help identify and promote ways to advocate for the profession's role in primary care.

“I discovered the more I learn about the occupational therapy profession, the greater my desire grows to be involved with specific AOTA related projects,” said Smiley. “As I advance in my career, I desire to always take advantage of opportunities to grow as a practitioner and leader.”