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The Bonita Kraft Occupational Therapy Doctoral Student Scholarship

The Bonita Kraft Occupational Therapy Doctoral Student Scholarship will support an occupational therapist doctoral candidate in pursuing research in the areas of mental health and serious mental illness.

The scholarship will be an important tool for an outstanding emerging OT scientist to acquire his/her degree and help increase the visibility of occupational therapy in mental health for adults.

Scholarship amount: $5,000

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible, the applicant must: 

  • Be an occupational therapist enrolled in a research doctoral program (PhD, ScD, EdD, DrPH) who has a focus on the treatment, rehabilitation, prevention services and/or wellness research for chronic conditions of serious mental illness in adults. Preference will be given to students with studies focused on: schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, mood disorders and other personality disorders.
  • Have completed all department and institutional course work requirements with the exception of writing and defense of the dissertation.
  • Have successfully defended their dissertation proposal at the time of their application, however, they may use the funds for a research study (in the areas of mental health and serious mental illness) other than their dissertation study.
  • Have IRB approved or in process at the time of completing the application. Scholarship funds will not be released until the IRB approval is received (if awarded).
  • Agree to utilize scholarship funds during their time as a doctoral candidate without carryover thereafter (if awarded).
  • Have a mentor who has expertise in the area of research study.
  • Conduct research at a US academic institution.
  • Be a US citizen or have appropriate residence/visa documents.

Application Instructions for 2022-2023 Scholarship

Open: August 15, 2022, 12:00 a.m. (PDT)

Deadline: October 7, 2022, 11:59 p.m. (PDT)

  1. Applicant biosketch  (sample biosketch and instructions)
  2. Mentor biosketch (sample biosketch and instructions)
  3. Letter of Recommendation from mentor
  4. IRB approval documentation: Optional for application submission, however, approval is required for funding.
  5. Hi-resolution photo (300 dpi or higher jpg) of applicant.
  6. Proof of citizenship/permanent resident permit/visa documents

Questions? Contact research@aotf.org.


About Bonita Kraft

Bonita Kraft is an occupational therapist who spent 45 years working in community mental health. She has long been an advocate for OT and mental health; passionate about promoting the need for occupational therapy to be a part of mental health services and treatment as well as for building evidence for occupational therapists to use in practice. Bonita is a proud alum of San Jose State University (BSOT), has been a dedicated volunteer for AOTF, The California Foundation for Occupational Therapy, the Occupational Therapy Association of California as well as a long-time member of AOTA. She is excited to support the next generation of OT scientists with this scholarship who will add new knowledge to the profession and better serve those with severe mental illness and mental health issues.

Bonita Kraft Occupational Therapy Doctoral Student Scholarship Awardees

2022- Janell Pisegna, MOT, OTR/L, The Ohio State University, Examination of Poststroke Occupational Therapy Mental Health Care in Inpatient Rehabilitation