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Eastern Kentucky University alumni and professor Casey Humphrey has been going above and beyond to ensure that Occupational Therapy students find the placements needed in order to graduate on time. 

Humphrey is the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the Occupational Therapy program and has been working around the clock to find students internships as schools, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities have had to change procedures during COVID-19.

COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of life. For the Occupational Therapy program, COVID-19 resulted in the majority of students losing their placements. But Casey Humphrey did not simply throw in the towel.

“If that was me and I was in the student’s position, I would need someone to be my advocate, so it wasn’t an option, I had to do that for them,” she said.

Humphrey used her network of colleagues, alumni, and professional acquaintances to find internship opportunities for all 75 students who were unable to complete their placements when the pandemic made its way to the United States. 

“With my kids not being able to go to school and me working from home, I personally felt the impact of the pandemic,” said Humphrey, “I just knew that the stress I was feeling was a fraction of what the students were feeling so I empathized with that feeling.”

She took phone calls and participated in virtual meetings from parking lots as she travelled for work duties. She worked evenings and weekends and was on call at all times. She was in constant contact with the students throughout the process to alert them to what was being done on their behalf.

“I made the decision that I was not going to give up. I would call and call until someone said yes,” said Humphrey, “It was a creative process, I came up with modifications to the fieldwork experience so they would still meet department policies while being COVID-19 compliant.”

Now that all 75 students from last semester have their placements, Humphrey is already working on placements for the next 75 students that will start in January.