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, DrOT, OTR/L
Dr. Patel is an acute care occupational therapist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois serving a mostly geriatric population. She graduated from the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in May 2017. After graduating, she spent a year as a traveling OT, gaining experiences in acute care and acute inpatient rehab. Her primary areas of interest are research, academia, program development, and entrepreneurship to further the profession of occupational therapy with respect and dignity. Pooja is a strong presenter with consistent state- and national-level poster presentations, formal and informal board meetings, and student mentorship. By holding this office, she believes she will fulfill her desire to work towards her vision of occupational therapy being recognized, understood, and respected as are its allied healthcare counterparts. Outside of the OT world, Pooja serves as a lead curriculum developer on a team developing a health education program for a nonprofit organization serving under-served youths in India. As PTE president, Pooja also serves as the PTE representative on the AOTF Board of Trustees.
PTE Vice President Richard Whalley
Richard Whalley is an OTD student at Washington University in St. Louis and will graduate in 2019. Originally from Long Island, New York, he completed his BS in human development with a minor in sociology at Binghamton University in 2011. While an undergraduate, Rich spent two months as the lone American on an international team working in the West Bank to build sustainable programming for the Jahalin Bedouin children of Khan Al-Ahmar. Following his undergraduate degree, his first career was in clinical research working with OTs on the clinical trials of the implantable miniature telescope for end stage age-related macular degeneration. This experience with OTs ultimately led him to pursue the profession. Rich's primary practice and research interests include student-run clinics and their role in underserved populations, hand therapy, and the low vision population. He is active as the Conference Committee chair for the Xi Chapter of PTE, and has held past committee chair positions for the OT student association at Wash U. He believes serving PTE in this capacity will allow him to promote OT research and scholarship, and develop community across PTE chapters and its members.
PTE Vice President Kimberly Clark, OTD, OTR/L
Dr. Clark graduated from Creighton University with her OTD in 2014 and was PTE Alpha Iota chapter president form 2013-2014. Originally from California, she completed her BS in kinesiology with a psychology minor from California Polytechnic State University. As a new practitioner, Kim has several interests including near-rehabilitation, community integration, and international services. 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 her position as an opportunity to continue to 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, MS, OTR/L
Rebecca Grondin is a 2015 graduate of Sage Graduate School (MS, OT) in Troy, New York and a 2013 graduate of SUNY Oneonta (BS, Human Biology). During her time at Sage, Rebecca served as president of the Gamma Pi chapter from 2014-2015 and was also Student Senate Liaison of the Student Occupational Therapy Association. Rebecca currently orgs 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, MOT
Sean Brim graduated from Florida International University (FIU) in 2015 where he was the president of the Mu chapter. Sean led the chapter's expansion of scholarly activities and participation in 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 working on his post-professional doctorate at Eastern Kentucky University. During Sean’s first term he worked to ensure many new lifetime membership benefits such as the free webinars offered by OT.com, and new scholarships. 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 and increase lifetime memberships.
THE MARY J. BRIDLE FIRST RESEARCH AWARD
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 September 17 NOTE NEW DEADLINE. Learn more about this award here.
THE MARTHA J.KIRKLAND ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP
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
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 the PTE national office must receive it by January 31 to be considered for that year. The winning chapter will be recognized at the PTE Annual Business Meeting. Learn more about the President's Award.
THE PTE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INTERCHAPTER COLLABORATION
This award has been established to honor and recognize Pi Theta Epsilon chapters who have exceeded in creating interchapter collaborations which support the PTE mission. Interchapter collaborations must have been organized and implemented by two or more chapters with the aim to increase knowledge, develop professional skills, and contribute to the advancement of the occupational therapy profession. Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis but the PTE national office must receive it by January 31 to be considered for that year. Learn more about the PTE Award for Excellence in Interchapter Collaboration.