Mentor: Kelsey Sullivan, OTD '21

Mentee: Elena Cheek, OTD '24

Location: Northeast Arc Early Intervention-North Shore, MA

What has the alumni mentorship you received during your clinical education experience meant to you?

Elena shares:

"The mentorship I received from Kelsey during my clinical education experience was extremely beneficial to both my personal and professional growth. Because Kelsey attended the IHP, she had an understanding of my background knowledge which made her mentorship skills more tailored to me. Additionally, I felt an immediate sense of community and familiarity with Kelsey having attended the IHP, which was special to me particularly during a time that can often feel isolated out on your own during clinical experiences. I felt comfortable going to Kelsey with questions and concerns throughout the process, in part due to the initial sense of trust and connection because we had the common background. Lastly, since Kelsey attended the IHP, I had full confidence in her mentorship abilities given the extremely high standards that I have witnessed first-hand during my time here." 

What has this mentorship experience meant to you as an alum of the IHP?

Kelsey shares:

"The opportunity to mentor Elena has been a priceless way for me to give back to the institution that has helped not only pave the way for my career but also connect me with lifelong friends and professional contacts. As an alum of the institute this experience has also brought me a sense of connection again with the IHP community. I’ve taken great pride in the education I received at the IHP and the gratitude I feel that my supervisors too recognize how my schooling and experience have prepared me to be Elena’s clinical instructor and mentor while she completed her second Level II placement." 

What role do you think mentorship plays in educating today’s IHP students?

Elena shares:

"I think the experience of an IHP mentor plays a crucial role in the education of today’s IHP students. A mentor is your first guide to the tightknit occupational therapy community and having Kelsey as my trusted resource to lean on as I started my professional journey has given me a strong foundation to start branching out on my own. Heading to the field for the first time can feel daunting and unfamiliar, but going through that experience with someone that you know went through the same thing, with the same education, made the experience more manageable and in my opinion opened the door for more learning opportunities during our time together. I also think having an IHP mentor increased the confidence that I have in my abilities to make an impact as an OT. Seeing Kelsey thriving in her career and helping the lives of so many families showed me exactly the path that IHP graduates can begin after school."

What affect has this mentorship experience had on your professional development?

Kelsey shares:

"This mentorship opportunity has brought several learning opportunities for me as a clinician and clinical instructor. Personally, this experience has led me to continue to incorporate evidence-based practice in a setting that is more transdisciplinary in nature, requiring further learning and implementation of interventions on areas outside of an occupational therapist’s scope of practice. The professional growth I saw in Elena, I also saw similar ways in myself as we reflected throughout the learning experience. Areas included continued development of communication skills, the ability to articulate child development, and rationale for recommendations provided to families and caregivers. While reflecting on the caseload that Elena had the opportunity to treat, I was able to identify further areas of interest for future families I treat, specifically those with feeding development and sensory needs. I feel that Elena and I both went through a mutual learning experience over the course of the 12 weeks and continue to identify areas of professional development even after the formal mentorship period ends."