Allen College

Tarissa Ollendieck
Allen College Class of 2017 - Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Employment History

Occupational Therapist at Central Rivers AEA

What led you to pursue your education at Allen College?

I am originally from Readlyn so I was immediately drawn to Allen because it was close to home and my family. As I learned more about the new occupational therapy program, I was excited to learn that it would largely focus on occupational therapy in rural settings, which is where I wanted to end up. I also appreciate the small campus and class size where I knew I would be known as more than just another student.

How did Allen College help prepare you for where you are now?

Allen College helped prepare me for where I am now by giving me the opportunity to complete one of my fieldwork rotations at an amazing school in Wisconsin. I learned so much about working with children with disabilities during this 12-week rotation and those experiences definitely helped to prepare me for working with students in the schools. Allen College also prepared me by offering various pediatric courses throughout our time studying on campus.

What led you to your exact career path?

It is hard for me to pick one instance, experience, or person that led me to my exact career path. I really believe that, in general, it was a lot of being in the right place at the right time and meeting the right people who saw something in me that they thought would make me a good fit as an occupational therapist. In terms of working in the schools, my mom is a para-educator and I always admired her for that and all she did to help the students in her classes. I think sometimes people just know they are meant to work with kids while others know they are meant to work with adults or the geriatric population.

Hobbies or interests?

Outside of work, my hobbies and interests include spending time with my family and friends as well as attempting to entertain our chocolate lab puppy! I am a summer lover and during the warmer months I enjoy skiing with the Waterhawks Ski Team and golfing.

What piece of advice would you give to current Allen students?

Know that all of the hard work, time, and energy you are putting in now will pay off in the end. I know it can sometimes feel like you will be studying and going to class for forever but in no time, you will be walking across that stage in your cap and gown, wondering where the years went. Keep your classmates close. They have been an important part of your journey and will be even more important during your first couple of years in the real world. Enjoy every second and always keep your end goal in mind when things get rough. You are likely at Allen because you want to make a difference in other people’s lives and you will do just that if you set your mind to it.