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Alumni Spotlight: Learning What a Classroom Can’t Teach

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Alumni Spotlight: Learning What a Classroom Can’t Teach

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TAHS Class of 2015 Alumna and current Penn State junior Naomi Walk will study abroad in Ireland this summer to gain experience working with people with disabilities in another culture.

“I hope [studying abroad] will help me to look at how individuals from different ethnicities and backgrounds view how treatment is administered here in the States and allow me to provide more efficient, individualized treatment plans,” said Walk.

In order to reach her goal of becoming an Occupational Therapist, Walk is studying abroad for four weeks in Ireland this summer to gain valuable, hands-on experience.  As an Occupational Therapist, Walk will be working with a very diverse population on a daily basis. Studying abroad will provide Walk with the opportunity to work directly with people with disabilities in another culture.

While Walk will not be taking any formal classes while in Ireland, she will earn six credits for attending the study abroad program, and will be able to learn skills that cannot be taught in a classroom.

Studying abroad is an experience that just can not be taught in the classroom. I know with this experience I am going to learn so many valuable lessons and experience things I will never have the opportunity to in the United States. ”

— Naomi Walk

“Studying abroad is an experience that just can not be taught in the classroom. I know with this experience I am going to learn so many valuable lessons and experience things I will never have the opportunity to in the United States. It will help set me aside from other people I am competing against in grad school admissions and also allow me to be a better and more culturally competent therapist one day,” said Walk.

Initially Walk was accepted into Penn State’s Engineering program, but switched her major to Psychology at the end of her freshman year.  

“I wanted to help people on a more personal level so I switched [my major] to Psychology” said Walk.

However, once Walk realized she would graduate late trying to fulfill the requirements for a Psychology Major and complete the prerequisites for Graduate School, Walk switched her major to Rehabilitation and Human Services.  

“I love [Rehabilitation and Human Service]. It is definitely my calling and my grades reflected my interest in this field the moment I switched,” Walked commented.

With her newly declared major, Walk will graduate in May of 2019, and plans to attend graduate school at University of Pittsburgh or  University of Colorado and get a doctorate in Occupational Therapy.

Don’t let the cost of a study abroad opportunity prevent you from applying/accepting. There are literally thousands of scholarships for study abroad programs and all kinds of different fundraisers you can do”

— Naomi Walk

Studying abroad will provide valuable knowledge that Walk will need as an Occupational Therapist, which is reflected in the price of the trip.  Excluding airfare and meals, the trip will cost $7,781. This cost is composed of Penn State summer tuition, summer technology fee, education abroad fee, and an education administrative abroad fee.  Walk estimates the trip will cost her $9,881 in total.

To help pay for the trip, Walk applied for the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, which is worth $5,000.  If Walk receives the scholarship, it will pay for about half of her trip. The scholarship recipient is determined by cumulative GPA and major GPA, as well as how the trip will impact the trip will impact the student’s future career goals, first generation college students, and minority groups.

“Don’t let the cost of a study abroad opportunity prevent you from applying/accepting. There are literally thousands of scholarships for study abroad programs and all kinds of different fundraisers you can do,” said Walk.

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About the Writer
Emma Hoover, Features Editor

Hi, my name is Emma Hoover, and I am a Senior at TAHS.  This summer I was a Lifeguard at Delgrosso's Amusement Park.  During the school year, I’m a...

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Alumni Spotlight: Learning What a Classroom Can’t Teach