Hansford drives for a doctorate

Amanda Hansford presents her research on veterans in early April. Hansford is working towards her doctorate in occupational therapy.

Amanda Hansford was nominated for outstanding senior for this academic semester. She is currently a senior at Eastern Kentucky University in the entry level occupational therapy doctorate program, and she is completing her bachelors of occupational science this semester.  

Hansford grew up in Somerset. She lived with her family on a farm where they had a wide variety of animals.  As a child, she viewed herself as more of a tomboy. She loved being outdoors and being with her farm animals. 

“I enjoyed getting out and playing in the dirt,” said Hansford. 

As a high school student, Hansford played multiple sports, including softball, basketball and volleyball. Along with sports she did bible quizzing, she liked staying active when it came to extra curricular activities. 

“I did about everything I could think of to stay busy,” said Hansford. 

Hansford is a non-traditional student, who began attending Eastern after her junior year. Prior to this, Hansford attended Madisonville Community College where she studied and in turn certified as a pharmacy technician. Despite this accomplishment,  Hansford knew she didn’t want to do this for the rest of her life. 

While speaking with her mother regarding her future plans, the topic of occupational therapy was discussed. Hansford became interested in the topic and wanted to find out more. So, she decided to do some research.

“The more I researched it, the more I was fascinated and the more I craved to learn more about it,” said Hansford. 

Her initial fascination led to her pursuit of a career as an occupational therapy assistant.  

While working towards her associate’s degree in the program, Hansford  jumped on the chance to be in the EKU inaugural entry level occupational therapy doctorate  program. 

Hansford still resides in Somerset, and commutes to campus. While doing so, she found it hard to meet people with similar interests, which can be hard to do while being a commuter and a non-traditional student. 

“I wanted to get involved and meet new people,” said Hansford. 

Hansford joined the student occupational science association where she was able to connect with other students in the program. Additionally, she became a member of the Student Alumni Ambassador (SAA) association, where Hansford  was able to connect with  current students at EKU.

“I got to meet so many great people, students, alumni and faculty,” said Hansford.

She is now the co-service chair of the Student Occupational Science Association, and the treasurer for the council of exceptional children, along with many other programs at EKU. 

“I’m in a lot but I enjoy every minute of it,” said Hansford. 

Hansford has made lots of great connections with her professors as well. She stands out to professors like Leah Simpkins by taking the lead in classes. 

“She is definitely a leader in class and takes ownership of her work,” said Simpkins.  

Professor Susan Skees-Hermes is a big advocate for Hansford. 

“As a student volunteer she exceeded my expectations constantly, she would pursue resources in the community actively to try and help her classmates,” said Skees-Hermes. 

This year, Hansford was nominated for the outstanding senior award during the 2022 Student Excellence awards, hosted by EKU Student Life. 

“I didn’t know how to feel at first. You don’t think people recognize,” said Hansford. 

Her dedication and drive in the program is recognizable, and her impact as a student continues to improve the occupational science program.

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