Skip to main content
An elementary school boy sits in front of a computer in his special education school while holding up a page of autographs.



Meet Emily: Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Meet Emily: Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

March 1 is Employee Appreciation Day! We are celebrating our team members all month long by sharing their stories. Read more about Emily Bowman, Occupational Therapy Assistant, and how a strong team is crucial to the success of the students at our Harrisburg and New Cumberland locations. 

What is your favorite thing about working here? 

The challenge of solving problems to support my students’ success and independence in routine tasks provides me with a significant sense of accomplishment. I also appreciate that these problems do not need to be solved alone. The staff’s collaborative and supportive approach not only assists the student’s growth but also each staff member. 

What keeps you coming to work each day? 

I celebrate the accomplishments, big and small, that my students make every day. To me, seeing my students’ success pushes me to work hard, utilize research to plan treatment sessions, and train staff for proper carryover.  

How do you make an impact on students’ lives? 

In addition to supporting students in improving their skills that are required for functional and meaningful participation within the classroom setting, I get to connect with them and build relationships that impact them. Connecting with my students by building strong rapport and creating positive interactions encourages them to try hard and make good choices, but most importantly, to feel cared about.  

Last year, we rolled out our BetterTogether guiding principles. Which one of our values resonates with you most personally and why? (Integrity, Accountable, Collaborative, Inclusive, Supportive) 

To me, collaboration helps drive growth within the individual and the team to create a positive culture within the workspace that demonstrates a pursuit of knowledge. One of my favorite quotes is, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much," by Helen Keller. Each staff member brings unique views and knowledge to the team. In order to benefit from each other, there has to be collaboration.  

What does a “day in the life” look like for your role? 

The keywords when it comes to being in school-based therapy are flexibility and collaboration. Every day has a unique schedule, that often gets changed a number of times throughout the day. However, it always starts by reviewing emails, consulting with staff for carryover, and preparing my materials for the day. As soon as students begin arriving, I start pushing in or pulling students out of the classroom for direct one-on-one sessions. During our sessions, we work on anything from washing our hands to writing or revising paragraphs. Each student’s needs are unique and therefore they have different, individualized tasks to complete during their sessions. At the end of the day, I write my session notes and attend Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings.  

Can you talk a little bit about your career trajectory and what led you to where you are now? 

When I was young, I used to babysit for several families. In doing this, I learned that I loved working with kids and planning unique activities for them to engage in. Eventually, this led me to work for a daycare program and a summer camp program. I learned a lot about pediatric development along the way and worked with a few kids who had special needs. I decided I wanted to work with this population because I saw how much these kids wanted to fit in and be able to do the things that other kids were doing.  

After I graduated high school, I went to Penn State - Berks Campus to earn my associate degree in occupational therapy. While I was here, I completed my fieldwork in pediatric settings. After I graduated, I began working in a pediatric outpatient clinic working with patients from 6 months to 21 years old. I took continued education credits in sensory processing and regulation and feeding. I also earned my bachelor’s degree in healthcare science from Alvernia University.  

After about 2 years, I moved out of the area and practiced occupational therapy in a public school. I worked in kindergarten up to sixth grade. Recently, I moved again to be closer to my family. With this move, I began working with New Story Schools in the Harrisburg and New Cumberland locations.  

What has been your proudest moment or accomplishment in your role? 

Every day as I walk out of work, I have a sense of pride for my students and their accomplishments. I will always have a hard time picking my proudest moment because of this. However, if I had to choose one moment since I began practicing occupational therapy, I would say that it was seeing one of my clients progress to learning how to complete a hygiene routine with visual directions only. His mother was in tears when she said that her son carried the skills over to the home after practicing them for some time. She also said the behaviors that came with completing the routine were no longer something she had to worry about.  

What is something about you that not many people know? 

During high school, I worked at my uncle’s butcher shop.  

Want to be notified of new articles and resources from New Story Schools? Click here to submit your email and opt into our newsletter.