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PTE National Coordinator

Michele Fernandez



4720 Montgomery Lane

Bethesda, MD 20814



The purposes of Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), as stated in the society's constitution, are to:

  • Recognize and encourage scholastic excellence of occupational therapy students
  • Contribute to the advancement of the field of occupational therapy through scholarly activities, such as 
    research development, continuing education, and information exchange between student and alumni members; and
  • Provide a vehicle for students enrolled in accredited programs in occupational therapy to exchange information and to collaborate regarding scholarly activities.


The mission of Pi Theta Epsilon is to support the practice of occupational sciences and the practice of authentic occupational therapy by promoting research, leadership, and scholarly activities by its members. In this way, the organization serves not only the profession, but helps to ensure quality healthcare services for the general public.


  • Stimulate, recognize, and reward clinical practice that demonstrates the principles of authentic occupational therapy; and
  • Stimulate, recognize and reward educational systems that support excellence in scholarship, research, and critical thinking (related to authentic OT) in its students and faculty.

For example, we want to support educational systems which prepare students to:

  • Become practitioners of authentic occupational therapy;
  • Endeavor to conduct research;
  • Strive to attain the ideals of PTE; and
  • Stimulate research through a program of awards and mentorship. 

Pi Theta Epsilon began at the University of New Hampshire in the fall of 1958.  In 1987, the American Student Committee of the Occupational Therapy Association (ASCOTA), now the Association of Student Delegates (ASD), surveyed existing chapters about standards to establish and maintain a national honor society. In 1988, the Board of Directors of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation agreed to provide sponsorship and assistance in achieving recognition as a national honor society.  An advisory committee was established and an operating budget was provided to support Pi Theta Epsilon activities through 1994. Work was undertaken to increase the number of chapters, register a logo, and become recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS). By March 1995, there were 43 operational chapters in the United States.  In 2008, the AOTF Bylaws were amended to include the PTE president as a voting member of the Foundation Board of Directors. There are currently over 90 active chapters.





PTE President Pooja A. Patel (2017-2019)

Pooja A. Patel, DrOT, OTR/L is a born and raised Jersey girl who graduated from the University of Sciences (USciences) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in May 2017. She is a travel therapist, currently in an inpatient rehab setting about an hour outside of the heart of Chicago, Illinois. Her primary areas of interest are research, program development, and entrepreneurship to further the profession of occupational therapy with respect and dignity. Outside of the OT world, Patel serves as a lead curriculum developer on a team launching a health education program for a nonprofit serving incarcerated, abandoned, and orphaned youths in India. With her previous experiences of holding multiple offices for the USciences SOTA and PTE chapters, continuously conducting and presenting research, taking advantage of networking opportunities, and working for a nonprofit organization, Dr. Patel exemplifies the qualifications necessary to hold the position of president at a national level for PTE. Time management, strategic planning, organizational leadership, and mentoring are some of her strongest skills, which are continuously developing through her ongoing participation in leadership roles. By holding this office, she believes she will fulfill her desire to speak to the growing occupational therapy industry at large and work towards her vision of occupational therapy being recognized, understood, and respected as are its allied healthcare counterparts. 

PTE Vice President -- Kimberly Clark (2014-2018)

Kimberly Clark, OTD, OTR/L, graduated from Creighton University with her OTD in 2014. Originally from California, Kim completed her BS in kinesiology with a psychology minor from California Polytechnic State University, She served as PTE Alpha Iota chapter president while at Creighton University from 2013-2014. As a new practitioner, Kim has several interests including neuro-rehabilitation, community integration, and international services. Recently, as part of her final clinical rotation, Kim spent two months in China where she collaborated with local therapists, students, and professors. While in China, she gave several academic and advocacy lectures at conferences. She also engaged in earthquake recovery efforts, training local therapists and health professionals on medical and psychosocial considerations. Kim views this position as VP of the national board as an opportunity to continue to be an active part of developing her own skills as a leader as well as fostering high-achieving students for the future of our profession. 

PTE Secretary -- Rebecca Grondin (2015-2019)

Rebecca Hastings, MS, OTR/L, is a 2015 graduate of Sage Graduate School (MS, OT) in Troy, New York and a 2013 graduate of SUNY Oneonta (BS, Human Biology), New York. During her time at Sage, Rebecca served as president of the Gamma Pi chapter from 2014-2015. She was also an active member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association where she served as a Student Senate Liaison. Rebecca currently works in inpatient and outpatient clinics at Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation in Richmond, Virginia. She is a member of the iReach research team which aims to identify best practices for neurologically-based upper extremity dysfunction. Rebecca is grateful for the opportunity to work with the rest of the PTE national board and chapters around the country to promote scholarship and research in occupational therapy.  

PTE Treasurer -- Sean Brim (2016-2018)

Sean Brim, MOT, graduated from Florida International University in 2015 where he was the president of the Mu Chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon. Sean led the chapter's expansion of scholarly activities and participation into the AOTF St Catherine Challenge. Sean was also involved in the Student Occupational Therapy Association and was the first delegate FIU sent to the Assembly of Student Delegates. Currently, Sean is a full-time pediatric therapist and works part time in an orthopedic setting. As treasurer, Sean aims to facilitate better communication about upcoming fundraising events to PTE students.



PTE sponsors the Mary J. Bridle First Research Award (an annual award of $750) to encourage students to become actively involved in OT research.  Applicants must submit their research manuscript to the national office by October 1. Learn more about this award here.



The Martha J. Kirkland Endowed Scholarship is one of over 50 scholarships available from the AOTF and state occupational therapy associations. PTE membership is a requirement to be considered for the Martha J. Kirkland Endowed Scholarship.  Click here for information on AOTF scholarships.


The President's Award honors and recognizes one or more PTE chapters that organize and implement outstanding scholarly activities. Each chapter may submit one application detailing one scholarly chapter event. Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis but must be emailed to the PTE national office by October 1 to be considered for that year. The winning chapter will be recognized at the PTE Annual Business Meeting at the AOTA/NBCOT National Student ConclaveLearn more about the President's Award.






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