Hello, friends! Happy Saturday! We are diving deep into the next feature I have to share with you all for the Occupational Therapy Speaks mini-blog series this month! The homie and colleague, Melin, will be speaking to us today about her personal experiences sharing how OT initially spoke to her as well as her exciting plans for the future of OT! Melin is a beautiful, sweet soul inside and out who has such a desire to advocate for OT through various avenues. I am thrilled for you all to read her interview down below!
Irene: What are your name and pronouns? Give us a quick synopsis of who YOU ARE!
Melin: Hi everyone! My name is Melin Guerrero (she/her) and I am from El Paso, Texas. I am the first in my family to attend college and pursue a career in occupational therapy. For me, growing up on the border of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico has had a huge impact on who I am today! I feel like I have a super power, a double identity. Not in a Hannah Montana type of way, but more so being fluent in two languages and being a part of two cultures. On a Saturday afternoon, I could pick between watching telenovelas with my mom or a 90s show on Nickelodeon with my twin sister. Aside from my upbringing, I am a huge football fan, go Greenbay! I have visited 5 out of 30 NFL stadiums and hope to visit the remaining ones once I graduate. My favorite Disney movie is Encanto, which was recently released. I love how it has a big emphasis on family and identity. Plus, let’s not forget about the songs!
Irene: Why OT? Tell us a little bit about how you found OT and what got you into this field.
Melin: During high school, I struggled to find a profession I wanted to pursue. All I was sure of was I wanted to be in the healthcare field but the sight of blood made me woozy, so nursing, phlebotomist, and technician were all out. I began to think, Is it even possible to be in healthcare and not deal with blood or open wounds? until I was introduced to an OT student and the rest was history. However, my interest did not turn into my passion for OT until I worked with the City of El Paso to develop the first program in the city where all abilities and talents were recognized and valued. I introduced participants to the fundamentals of sports, and through this, I was able to gain a deeper appreciation of the value of occupations and their ability to assist individuals not only in overcoming challenges but also making them feel included. I witnessed my students gain confidence, experience moments of success, and make lasting friendships through the simplicity of playing a sport.
Irene: Choose three words that come to mind when you think of “OT”. Define each word in its relationship to OT. Why did you choose these three words?
Creative – OTs use a variety of arts and crafts for all sorts of populations. It allows clients an outlet to express themselves. By doing a simple snowflake craft during the holiday season, children are working on bilateral coordination, fine motor skills, crossing midline, and many other skills.
EBP – Evidence-based practice allows occupational therapists to select the most effective treatment techniques. It helps answer the golden question asked by many clients, “Why do I have to do this exercise?”
Evolving – Occupational therapy is an evolving profession that over time has grown and become essential. It is going to reach new heights such as trauma-based care, pelvic floor, and adaptive sports.
Irene: What is the most beautiful thing about OT to you?
Melin: There are so many beautiful things about OT, it is hard to only pick one! Ultimately if I had to choose, it would be that it is holistic. It takes into consideration the whole person by being aware that both body and mind need to be taken into account.
Irene: What are your plans for the future of OT? How do you want to revolutionize the field of OT in the future?
Melin: Ever since entering graduate school my plans for how I want to revolutionize the field of OT have been constantly changing and evolving everyday. One day I really want to focus on adaptive sports but then the next I want to explore the roles OTs can play or have in colleges and universities. Education is one of the 8 types of occupations that we do not hear about enough with the young adult population. They face many unique challenges when transitioning from high school to undergraduate or undergraduate to graduate school. There are also a lot of things in between that can get lost such as identity, roles and responsibilities.
Irene: Can folks connect with you to learn more about you/support you? If so, please drop your social media info down below!
Irene: Anything else you want us to know about you or anything you want to share with the readers? Feel free to drop it down below!
A letter to my first-generation college students,
Being the first is not always easy. Being the first means you are going into an uncharted territory without any map to guide you. There will be individuals that will be a hindrance toward your growth, belittle you and discourage you along the way. But, always remember that you are capable, you are strong and you are paving the way for future generations. Keep pushing forward, si se puede!
Yall, Melin is FREAKIN awesome. I’ve always been in such awe of her. I absolutely love the letter at the end and know that she is already a huge inspiration (and will continue to be) to so many first-generation college students who are currently going through the difficulties of navigating university and trying to define their occupational roles. Also, how cool is it that she is a twin?? There are TWO of these great individuals just existing on this earth? Lastly, having a double identity is so powerful and I know will make a tremendous impact on how she will forge relationships with future clients and communities.
Well Renrenspeakers, I hope that yall felt as inspired as I did today reading Melin’s perspective on OT. Stay tuned for the NEXT beautiful aspiring OT that I will be highlighting next SATURDAY for Part 3 of my Occupational Therapy Speaks mini-blog series!
Peace and light,