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Dr. A. Jean Ayres Doctoral Candidate Scholarship

Occupational Therapists play an extremely valuable role in the evaluation and treatment of people with sensory issues. As the population of children and adults with sensory integration and processing differences grows, the OT evidence that supports the practice must keep pace. In addition, with the diversity of the population in need of OT services also growing, the OT evidence must involve and reflect the needs of these underserved communities. 

Now, AOTF is pleased to announce our newest research scholarship which will support a future scientist working in the areas of sensory integration and sensory processing. 

The Dr. A. Jean Ayres Occupational Therapy Doctoral Candidate Research Scholarship has been created in recognition of Dr. Ayres as the originator of sensory integration theory and her significant contributions to the practice of occupational therapy and child development.

This scholarship will support an emerging OT scientist conducting research in sensory integration and sensory processing pursuant to their dissertation plan, or another study focused on sensory integration and processing, to aid, support or pay for expenses related to their research. 

The scholarship award will be $5,000. 

In order to be eligible, the applicant must: 
•    Be an occupational therapist enrolled in a research degree doctoral program (PhD, ScD, EdD. DrPH and other doctoral research degrees will be considered).
•    Have completed all departmental and institutional coursework requirements with the exception of writing and defense of their dissertation and have successfully defended their dissertation proposal at the time of their application.
•    Agree to utilize the scholarship funds to aid a research study related to their dissertation proposal or another research study in sensory integration and sensory processing and agree to utilize the scholarship funds during their time as a doctoral candidate without carryover. 
•    Have a mentor who has expertise in the area of research study conducted by the applicant.
•    Conduct their research at a US academic institution, have their IRB approved or in process at the time of completing the application. 
•    Be a U.S. citizen or have appropriate resident/visa documents.

Application Instructions for 2024-2025 Scholarship

Open: August 1, 2024, 12:00 a.m. (ET)  

Deadline: Sept. 15, 2024, 11:59 p.m. (ET)

Download Application Instructions

Your Philanthropic Gifts Are Vital to Securing the Future of OT Science!

This new doctoral candidate scholarship was conceived and equally supported by Clare Giuffrida, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, and Susan Knox, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. Dr. Giuffrida and Dr. Knox worked closely with Dr. Ayres in her early research years, had advanced training in sensory integration and processing through the USC 610 course taught by Dr. Ayres, were part of the first generation of sensory integration faculty designated by Dr. Ayres to teach sensory integration theory and the administration of the Southern California Sensory Integration Tests (SCSIT) and later the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests. Both have also taught nationally and internationally on the subject as well as published extensively in peer-reviewed journals.

AOTF has been gifted $25,000 to establish this award for 5 years, 2025-2029. But, for this scholarship to continue after 2029, we need your help to build an endowment that will ensure this award lives on in perpetuity, honoring Dr. Ayres’ legacy and supporting future generations of OT scientists working in this field.

If you share our belief in the need for more OT evidence in sensory integration and sensory processing, if you would like to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Ayres, and if you agree that investing in future OT scientists is essential to strengthening the profession and improving the delivery of care, please make a gift to the endow the Dr. A. Jean Ayres Doctoral Candidate Research Scholarship.  Our goal is to raise $125,000, which will allow AOTF to offer an annual award of $5,000 forever. 

Please make your gift below or contact Lawrence Liff at lliff@aotf.org with any questions.
Make your impact today!