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March 4, 2021

After graduating from Shawnee State University twice with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Occupational Therapy, Alissa Cannoy (’10, ’12) enrolled in the university for a third time in the university’s first doctoral program – the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (PP-OTD).

Alissa Cannoy

Cannoy first chose Occupational Therapy (OT) after shadowing at an outpatient rehabilitation clinic. While there, she witnessed a therapist helping a child learn how to kick a ball.

“It was rewarding to experience the excitement of the child,” she said. “I knew then that I wanted to help people be independent and share in their excitement when accomplishing new skills and overcoming obstacles.”

Entering the OT field, Cannoy found a sense of belonging among her patients and career. While completing her master’s degree, some of her favorite memories was hearing her clients share their experiences and successes.

“I was on a fieldwork site and was leaving for the day when a client was also leaving his outpatient appointment,” she said. “I was almost to my car and I heard the client yell across the parking lot – ‘Alissa, I used my fishing lures that we made in therapy, and my friends used them too!’ In that moment, I knew that I had chosen the correct career path.”

As a new program at SSU, Cannoy enrolled in the first cohort for the PP-OTD program, hoping to improve her clinical reasoning, leadership, and management skills.

“I hope to improve my ability to apply evidence-based practice to help my clients achieve their occupational goals,” she said “The mentorship of the PP-OTD program has been one of the most beneficial aspects of the program thus far. It is a great feeling to know that the professors are supporting and encouraging the students to go above and beyond.”

Upon hearing of the introduction of the doctoral program, Cannoy was excited to see this opportunity come to SSU.

“The PP-OTD opens up doors for all students to learn and grow in a supportive environment,” she said. “This program allows occupational therapists to be competitive in their area of expertise, and improve their clinical, professional, and leadership skills to better support and serve our communities.”

The Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate is a 16-month online program introduced to Shawnee State University in Fall 2020. To learn more about the program, visit