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November 2, 2016 In Lakeland University Blog
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Trista Barron wasn’t sure what to expect when she began professional school for occupational therapy this semester at Mount Mary University.

But after a short time on the Milwaukee campus, Barron, a 2016 Lakeland graduate, realized just how well-prepared she is for the 2.5-year journey that lies ahead.

“It’s early, but I’m doing very well in all of my classes,” says Barron, who graduated from Lakeland with a degree in exercise science. “Right now I have all A’s.”

Bill Ebben, Lakeland’s associate professor of exercise science, places strong emphasis on – and takes great pride in – helping students earn master’s degrees or Ph.Ds after they graduate from Lakeland.

“He wrote me strong letters of recommendation, helped me with the application process when I had questions and pushed me hard in class,” says Barron of Ebben. “His classes were challenging, but very rewarding. Now I see the benefits that came from putting in all that hard work.”

In addition to pursing her master’s in OC, Barron serves Mount Mary as a women’s basketball graduate assistant coach, which means she does not pay tuition. Barron, a former starting guard at Lakeland, said Muskies head coach Aaron Nester made a phone call on her behalf for that position.

“If I hadn’t gone to Lakeland, I don’t think I would have been accepted into Mount Mary,” Barron says. “Without Dr. Ebben’s and Coach Nester’s help, I wouldn’t be in this position. I’m really thankful for everyone at Lakeland who has helped me get to where I am.”

Occupational therapy is similar to physical therapy, but OT is designed to help people regain motor skills, perform day-to-day living tasks and become independent again after illness or injury.

Barron is considering two possible career paths – helping children regain functionality or working in a brain trauma unit.

“I just really want to help people accomplish their goals in life,” she says.