Several educational pursuits at Quinnipiac shape alumna’s success

June 14, 2023

Headshot of Jennifer Bartiss-Earley, a Quinnipiac alumna

Multiple educational journeys undertaken at Quinnipiac have helped Jennifer Bartiss-Earley, ’94, ’96, OTD ’22, to succeed.

Bartiss-Earley earned her degree as a doctor of occupational therapy at Quinnipiac in 2022, but her Quinnipiac education journey began many years earlier. In 1994, she earned a bachelor’s degree in health science studies, followed by earning a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy in 1996.

For more than two decades, she went on to provide occupational therapy to clients across the continuum of care in many different settings, as well as working in a management position within the nursing home arena. While assisting different types of clients of all ages, she developed a deep bench of skill sets. Several years ago, Bartiss-Earley realized she had an exceptional interest in hand therapy.

“I dabbled in hand therapy even in the beginning of my career, but never really knew that it was going to be my passion,” said Bartiss-Earley.

In 2018, Bartiss-Earley made a career move that allowed her to provide occupational therapy services at Hartford Hospital, where she could connect with hand surgeons. In 2019, she successfully completed the Connecticut Hand Therapy Certification exam.

“During that experience of studying for the certification, I found just how much I craved learning and that I wanted to be a specialist,” said Bartiss-Earley. “I knew how well Quinnipiac prepares its students, across all its majors; but I knew I couldn’t go straight into the doctor of occupational therapy program.”

With a call to Quinnipiac admissions, Bartiss-Earley learned she could earn an occupational therapy/therapist certificate of advanced graduate studies in hand therapy from the university as a “bridge program” to the occupational therapy doctorate program.

During her eight months in the certification program at Quinnipiac, Bartiss-Earley proposed and completed two independent hand therapy classes on sensory re-education and complex regional pain syndrome.

“I feel that the certification program was really useful,” she said. “It helped me to become and stay current. I was in the program from January to August of 2020, and a few days later, I bridged to start the doctor of occupational therapy program.”

In August of 2021, Bartiss-Earley established her unique occupational therapy and hand therapy clinic called “The Vault: Handcrafted Wellness” in Farmington, Connecticut, where she also offers clients concepts and practices of wellness for the body and mind.

The business name incorporates many aspects of her offerings, she said. “Handcrafted” tying to hand therapy services as well as arts and crafts, the earliest form of hand therapy; while “wellness” underscores her emphasis on “…health, wellness and prevention, to empower people to stop chasing the tail of disease,” said Bartiss-Earley.

Bartiss-Earley said “the vault” portion of the name is derived from much more than the fact that her warm and welcoming clinic is a transformed former bank space.

“It helps to show how I feel - I want to vault right into helping people,” she said. “I want to stop their pain and get to the root causes of their issues. Also, the human body is like a vault, and you have to unlock the right combination to get people to health. And, I’m a vault of knowledge!”

Bartiss-Earley credits many key components of her successful small business plan and marketing skills to concepts and ideas fostered in her as a Quinnipiac undergraduate.

“Studying for my undergraduate degree in health and science studies, I took a small business management and entrepreneurship course,” she said. “In that class, with two classmates, I had to do the research and every piece of creating a business and a five-year business plan – not knowing at any point that I might utilize that in my life.”

Bartiss-Earley said she will always be grateful for finding her academic footing and taking the opportunity to build upon it at Quinnipiac.

“You are so much more prepared for your area of study,” she said. “At Quinnipiac, you come out on top, with the skill and qualities to be successful.”

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