Passionate occupational therapy student leads her field

Duch holds a certificate with Olian, Kohlhepp and Bondoc.

Leading her field

Felicia Duch, '18 MOT '20, was awarded a prestigious scholarship from the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions. Here, she smiles with President Judy Olian, Dean William Kohlhepp and Chair of Occupational Therapy Salvador Bondoc.

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elicia Duch, ’18 MOT ’20, is one of only 12 students nationally who have been awarded the Scholarship of Excellence from the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions. The award recognizes students in the allied health professions who show both academic excellence as well as potential to be a future leader in their field of study.

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“The occupational therapy program here is education-focused,” she explained. “I know that my professors are here to ensure that I am prepared to safely treat my clients with an individualized plan and with an evidence-based approach.”

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Duch stands in a dress on outside steps.

Exploring academic opportunities

Duch created a dress for her Eco-Fashion Class made of recycled maps, bags, cafeteria materials, tissue paper, and a seatbelt.

“Felicia is a role model both inside and outside of the classroom, said Erica DeFrancesco, clinical associate professor of occupational therapy. “She enhances the classroom experience with the rich insights she offers. She has held several leadership roles over the years; in addition to official titles she has held, she is the epitome of a servant leader.”

The importance Quinnipiac places on the academic environment helped her succeed in the classroom, Duch said.

Being a leader in her field means being an advocate for ways occupational therapy can create positive outcomes in new and different groups of people — such as the homeless community and the currently or formerly incarcerated. She sees her Quinnipiac education as teaching her to challenge the status quo and to see these new possibilities where others may not. 

“Quinnipiac has provided me with a holistic education,” she said.

Duch has taken classes in such subjects as criminal law, eco-fashion, U.S. history and even a rocks and ropes course. 

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“All of these courses have led me to connect dots between what social resources exist now and what can exist in the future to assist underserved populations,” she said. “I can use this understanding and passion to advocate for my clients as an occupational therapist.”

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Students from band stand with trumpets in front of stadium

Performing on a big stage

Duch performed in the pep band at some of the largest athletic events around the country

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Outside the classroom, Duch has traveled around the country as a trumpet player in the pep band, hosted a radio show on our student-run radio station, WQAQ-FM, called “The Jazzy Flea” and put her passion for serving others to good use with Habitat for Humanity and the Student Occupational Therapy Association.

As a peer catalyst in the Learning Commons, she’s helping other students to see connections in their educations the way she has learned to do.

Whether in student activities or in her future career, Duch’s focus is on serving others.

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“Felicia is a compassionate soul who understands how to best use one’s heart, talent, and knowledge to uplift others," said Salvador L. Bondoc, chair of occupational therapy. "She is a selfless leader and embodies the altruistic and humanistic values of our profession.”