Meet Our Instructors

It is our team that sets us apart!

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For OT Practitioners
By OT Practitioners
Empowering OT Practitioners

Because we are BETTER TOGETHER! 

Aspire OT instructors are OTs and OTAs who are eager to share their clinical experience and expertise to help you grow your OT skills. 

Instructor Bios

Instructor bioS
Katherine Aylmer, OTD, OTR/L
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Occupational Therapy's Role in Medication Management & Adherenc
e & Evaluating Medication Management in Occupational Therapy

Dr. Katie Aylmer is a research occupational therapist and student mentor with extensive experience in addressing medication management with a variety of clients. Katie has over six years of clinical experience working with adults in skilled nursing facilities, senior living communities, and their homes. She is passionate about empowering clients and caregivers with self-management skills and the translation of evidence-based practice into clinical care. 

DISCLOSURES
Financial: Katie is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor.
Non-financial: Katie does not have any non-financial disclosures.
Instructor bioS
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Rose Adams, OTD, OTR/L
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Beyond Tabletop: Creative & Practical Activities for Supporting Motor Skills in OT

Rose Adams, OTD, OTR/L is an occupational therapy practitioner with a clinical focus in pediatrics. She works with children and families of children on the autism spectrum and other neurodiverse needs. Dr. Adams has worked in schools, private practice settings, and community-based programs. She is the executive director at Changing Lives Occupational Therapy, P.C., where she provides consultative occupational therapy services and mentorship for aspiring and current occupational therapy practitioners. She is a contributor at Exceptional Needs Today magazine and an academic mentor at Boston University’s Sargent College post-professional occupational therapy doctorate program. Dr. Adams enjoys developing interactive and engaging educational and training experiences for parents, caregivers, and multi-disciplinary learners. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors, playing, and baking with her school-aged twin children. Dr. Adams is delighted to be a part of the Aspire OT family of Instructors. 

DISCLOSURES
Financial: Rose is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor.  She is also the Executive Director at Changing Lives Occupational Therapy, P.C.
Non Financial:  Rose does not have any non-financial disclosures.
Instructor bioS
Lisa Baxter Hong, OTD
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Demystifying Dementia for Occupational Therapy Practitioners

Lisa Baxter Hong, OTD, is an Occupational Therapist with a specialty in dementia care for over 15 years. She completed her undergraduate and graduate work in Occupational Therapy at Idaho State University and received her Doctor of Occupational Therapy at Eastern Kentucky University.  She is a private practice owner in Eastern Idaho, doing outpatient therapy and community outreach . Lisa has served as adjunct faculty and community educator at Idaho State University, and works with University of Missouri in fieldwork education and other committees. She serves as the Legislative/Reimbursement Chair for the Idaho Occupational Therapy Association. As caregiver education is an important part of her professional life , Lisa works as a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association as a board member and community educator. Lisa lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho with her husband Todd and loves to spend time with her children and grandchildren. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys archery, volleyball, and playing her oboe in a community ensemble. 

DISCLOSURES 
Financial: Lisa is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor. She is also the co-owner and Co-Founder of Aging Gracefully.
Non Financial:  There are no other disclosures.

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Moira P. Bushell, OTD, MEd, OTR/L, BCP
Aspire OT Instructor

Course:
School-based Goals for OT Practitioners: Writing Strength-Based, Measurable, Collaborative, and Participation-focused Goals for Students

Moira P. Bushell OTD, MEd, OTR/L has been working as a school based occupational therapist for 10+ years. Her vast experience with program facilitation and passion for education make her an excellent advocate for children. As an AOTA Emerging Leader, she focused on pediatric occupational therapy practice advocacy as it relates to federal and state education law and knowledge translation. She has made numerous presentations about education law, its implication for occupational therapy practice and integration of Tier 1 services into the classroom environment. Within school setting practice, her expertise includes creating inclusive environments for all learners and supporting those with students with behavioral concerns. She currently serves the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association and American Occupational Therapy Association in multiple volunteer roles. 

Photo Megan Doyle, MS, OTR/L
Megan Doyle, MS, OTR/L, FPS, Cert-APHPT
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Addressing Acute Pain Through the Power of the Biopsychosocial Model

Megan obtained a MS in Occupational Therapy from Indiana University in 2012 and has worked in a multitude of settings focused on adult populations including acute care, long term care, work site injury prevention, and outpatient ortho/neuro/post-concussion. Currently, she works as an inpatient OT in Boise, Idaho. During her OT career, she has been drawn to focusing on holistic pain intervention from an occupation-based perspective, health and wellness, and mental health. In 2017, Megan obtained her Therapeutic Pain Specialist Certification through the International Spine & Pain Institute (ISPI), one of the first OTs to do so, and eventually she sought out Fellowship in Pain Sciences, graduating from this program as the second OT practitioner to achieve this designation in 2020. She has also achieved her Applied Prevention Health Promotion Therapist Certification in 2018 through The Academy of Prevention and Health Promotion Therapies, the first occupational therapy practitioner to do so. She is slated to co-author the chapter “Pain Management” in the upcoming 3rd edition of “OT in Acute Care.” She is INCREDIBLY passionate and truly in love with the scope of practice that occupational therapy provides, and this is exactly why she became involved with the Idaho Occupational Therapy Association (IOTA) currently serving as their President-Elect. Her passion is fueled each and every day by her husband, Joe who works full time as a Major in the National Guard and her two children, 6-year-old James and 2-year-old Morgan.

Instructor bio
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Kelli L. Fetter, M.S., OTR/L
Aspire OT Instructor

Course:
OT's Role in Dysgraphia & Specific Learning Disability in Handwriting

Kelli Fetter is an Occupational Therapist and Certified Handwriting Specialist. She formerly practiced OT for 10+ years and has extensive experience in pediatrics and more recently learning differences, including dysgraphia. She is trained in Handwriting Without Tears curriculum, Size Matters Program, and Because Neatness Matters Handwriting Programs and has specialized knowledge with Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, ADHD, Autism, Developmental Disabilities, and more. She also has personal experience as a parent of a child with dyslexia and dysgraphia, which has led to her passion in helping children who are struggling with academics. Kelli has experience as an adjunct professor teaching pediatric and kinesiology courses in an occupational therapy assistant program. Kelli is the owner of Handwriting Solutions, which is a resource for families who need handwriting support.
DISCLOSURES 
Financial: Kelli is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor. Kelli is the owner/operator of Handwriting Solutions
Non Financial: There are no disclosures.
Instructor bioS
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Lynn Festa, OTR, CHT, CDWF
Aspire OT Instructor

Courses:


Strategic Solutions to Banish Burnout for OT Practitioners

Lynn Festa OTR, CHT, CDWF has been an Occupational Therapist since 1988, and has worked as a clinician and business owner in a variety of settings for over 33 years. In 2012, she found herself disillusioned with her career in healthcare, prompting her journey to become a coach to other professionals who are also seeking more fulfillment from their careers. Lynn now combines her work as an OT with providing training and guidance to professionals in promoting wellness and resilience and limiting burnout, through private coaching sessions, webinars, and customized group workshops. She attained a certificate in positive psychology, a certificate in “the science of happiness at work” and is a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator through The Daring Way ™.  Lynn is also a certified health and wellness coach, trained at Duke Health. She has presented at international, national, and state conferences, webinars, keynotes, and group workshops. In her free time, Lynn enjoys open water swimming, hiking, reading, and pursuing a career as a singer. She is the owner of Lynn Festa Coaching. Learn more about Lynn on her website: www.lynnfesta.com, or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynn-festa/



DISCLOSURES

Financial: Lynn is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor. 
Non Financial:  Lynn is the owner of Lynn 
Festa Coaching.
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Vera Gallagher, OTD, OTR/L, BCP
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Creating Sensory-Motor Smart Environments in School Based Occupational Therapy Settings 


Vera is a pediatric board-certified practitioner with over thirty years of experience in school-based practice. She obtained a post-professional doctorate degree researching the practice patterns and perceptions of occupational therapists collaborating with teachers. She is passionate about leadership and advocacy roles as central themes for occupational therapy providers. Positive reviews from local, state and national presentations ensure attendees will enjoy an interactive learning experience. 


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Amy L. Jennings, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Using Neuroscience to Optimize Recovery in Occupational Therapy


Amy L. Jennings, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR earned her Bachelor's of Science in Neuroscience from Regis University in Denver and her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Creighton University in Omaha. She has been practicing the last 10+ years in North Central Washington State with a focus in outpatient neurorehabilitation for Confluence Health. As an integral member of this rural healthcare system, she also has gained experience in acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, and skilled nursing. She helped develop a robust driving safety program, LSVT BIG Parkinsons program, and multidisciplinary wheelchair clinic. In 2020, Amy earned her Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation and was awarded the AOTA Choosing Wisely Champion Recognition for her dedication to meaningful and purposeful occupation-based intervention. She is involved with both state and national OT associations and serves on the Roster of Accreditation Evaluators for ACOTE. Amy’s passion is living the role of occupational therapist and educator, but also wife and mother of three adventurous boys.  
Instructor bioS
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Melissa Kimmerling EdD, MOT, OTR/L,
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Using the FUEL Levels to Describe & Predict Upper Extremity Recovery Post-Stroke


 Dr. Melissa Kimmerling EdD, MOT, OTR/L is the Program Director for the Master of Occupational Therapy Program at NMC. Dr. Kimmerling has clinical experience in acute care, rehabilitation, skilled nursing, outpatient, and home health. She is the elected Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for the Nebraska Occupational Therapy Association (NBCOT). Dr. Kimmerling serves as the Ambassador from the State of Nebraska to the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Dr. Kimmerling has presented her practice research locally, regionally, and nationally and has also been a speaker for community-based organizations. Dr. Kimmerling holds her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and her Doctorate in Health Professions Education from the College of Saint Mary. Dr. Kimmerling spent three years in full time academic appointment for College of Saint Mary prior to moving into the consulting role and then Program Director role for NMC, where she has been since 2014. Dr. Kimmerling is also certified in LSVT-BIG Parkinson’s Protocol, certified and licensed in Physical Agent Modalities, and Certified in Kinesiotaping. She is the mother to a child with autism.

DISCLOSURES

Financial: Melissa is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor. 
Non Financial:  Vera does not have any non-financial disclosures.
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Stephen Nawotniak, OTR/L, NYCPS
Aspire OT Instructor

Courses: Occupational Therapy & Mental Health: Applying the Practice Framework from the Lived Experience

Occupational Therapy Mental Health Strategies for Adult Physical Dysfunction Settings


Stephen Nawotniak OTR/L has a Self-Designed Masters from Buffalo State College, a Masters in Occupational Therapy from Utica College, and is a New York State Certified Peer Specialist. Starting in August, 2000 Steve set out on an 8-month, non-motorized Trek of service where he hiked, biked, sailed and canoed from Buffalo, NY to Key West, FL. He gave presentations to over 1000 youth on the values of volunteerism and education and completed over 230 hours of community service along the way.

Two years later, in August 2002, Steve was hospitalized for a week with a major depressive episode and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. From that point forward, Steve has spent his life learning how to live with his condition on the journey from hospitalized patient to licensed healthcare professional. Steve has spoken internationally on occupational therapy and mental health. He has also published the books "Handbook for Healthy Living with a Mood Disorder" and "Bipolar Life Hacks: Keys to Loving Life with a Bipolar Disorder" to share the skills and tools he uses daily to live, what he calls, a desired quality of life. Steve lives and works in Buffalo, NY.
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Katy Schmidt, OTD, OTR/L,
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Motivational Interviewing for Occupational Therapy Practitioners


Katy Schmidt (OTD, OTR/L) is an assistant professor of occupational therapy at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Born and raised in Nashville, Katy is an alumna of Belmont University, where she has earned her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, Bachelor of Psychological Science, and Bachelor of Music. She is also an alumna of the Johns Hopkins Mental Health Occupational Therapy Fellowship. Katy has clinical experience serving children and adults in inpatient psychiatric hospitals, outpatient psychiatric clinics, school systems, criminal justice systems, and community-based programs. She is especially passionate about serving individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders, and chronic pain as a clinician, researcher, and advocate. In her free time, Katy enjoys playing the clarinet in local orchestras, playing board games, and hiking. 

DISCLOSURES

Financial: Katy is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor. 

Non Financial:  Katy does not have any non-financial disclosures.
Instructor bioS
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.Marina Scott, MS, OTR/L,
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Executive Function in Pediatric and School-based Practice: Where Do OT Practitioners Fit In?


Marina Scott MS, OTR/L is an accomplished pediatric occupational therapist with over 21 years of experience. She is a clinician, writer, and public speaker.  She has extensive experience in pediatrics, spanning from early intervention through college. She has spent her professional career in schools, early intervention, private clinics, and teletherapy.  
Her hobbies include knitting, reading, and spending time with family and friends


DISCLOSURES

Financial: Marina is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor. 
Non Financial:  Marina does not have any non-financial disclosures.
Instructor bioS
Jaclyn Schwartz, PhD, OTR/L 
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Occupational Therapy's Role in Medication Management & Adherence & Evaluating Medication Management in Occupational Therapy


Dr. Schwartz’s work is focused on improving medication adherence across populations. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. She is an avid writer and presenter, and she has shared her work through the conferences and journals of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr. Schwartz has developed key resources on medication management including the 2017 AOTA position paper on medication management. In 2015, she was recognized by AOTA for her work and service to the profession with the Gary Kielhofner Emerging Leader Award. 

DISCLOSURES
Financial: Jaclyn is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor
Non-financial:  Jaclyn does not have any non-financial disclosures.
Sami Tayeb
Content Contributor


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Martha Garrett Theisen, MA, OTR/L
Aspire OT Instructor

Course: Handwriting Instruction & Remediation for Today's Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practitioner


Martha Garrett Theisen, MA, OTRL is an occupational therapist with 39 years of experience. She worked in mental health for 6 years and over the past 33 years, her work has focused on pediatrics.
Though she loved her early work in Sensory Integration Clinics, Martha has devoted the bulk of her career, 24 years, to working in the school setting, helping children gain the fine motor, sensory motor, and handwriting skills they need to thrive in one of their main occupations of being a student.
She has utilized her knowledge and 39 years of experience to develop Because Neatness Matters, research and fun based handwriting programs for instruction and remediation.
She is SIPT certified and is a member of both the American Occupational Therapy Association & the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.
Martha has been married for 36 years, and is the proud mother of three wonderful adult children, two amazing daughters-in-law, and two mischievous cats!

Toni Thompson, DrOT, OTR/L

Toni Thompson graduated from the University of Illinois in 1975, and completed her DrOT at Nova Southeastern University in 2017.  Her work experience includes the Peace Corps/Ecuador; the National Cerebral Palsy Association in Caracas, Venezuela; adult mental health in FL and IL; and some SNF.  While at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa for 22 years, she developed various programs, became certified in NDT-Pediatrics and SIPT.   She has presented at multiple state, national, and international OT, prosthetic-orthotic, World Federation of Occupational Therapist, and human trafficking conferences.  Keynote addresses include the India Golden Jubilee in Kerala India and the Pan Asian Student Congress in Malaysia.  She authored three chapters in cultural competence works, over 40 professional articles in OT and orthotics-prosthetics magazines.  Besides presenting a pediatric splinting continued education workshop for 10 years, she fabricated over 10,000 pediatric splints.  She developed the first CEU about human trafficking directed to OT practitioners. Currently, she mentors doctoral students on trafficking and cultural humility capstones, and serves as an instructor for TherapyEd exam preparation services. 

DISCLOSURES

Financial: Toni is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor. 
Non Financial:  Toni does not have any non-financial disclosures.
Instructor bioS
Joanne Trammel, MS, OTR/L
Aspire OT Instructor

Joanne Trammel, MS, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with a specialty in dementia care for over 15 years. Joanne completed her entry-level Master’s Degree in OT at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has worked with the general adult population for over 30 years. Joanne developed her love for understanding the behaviors related to dementia and finding nonpharmacological interventions while working at a Geriatric Psychiatric facility. She brings that passion to her current job at Idaho State University where she is the founding director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Dementia care is woven into the curriculum and Joanne also teaches caregivers in the community how to navigate the diagnosis of dementia through ISU’s Continuing Education/Workforce Training programs.  Joanne also works with the Alzheimer’s Association as a community educator and serves on a committee for the State of Idaho’s ADRD project through the Department of Health and Welfare. Joanne is married and has two children and one grandchild. She enjoys gardening, spending time with family and golf.

DISCLOSURES
Financial: Joanne is compensated as an Aspire OT instructor.  Joannes is also the co-owner and Co-Founder of Aging Gracefully.
Non Financial: There are no other disclosures
Photo Niccole Rowe, BA, COTA
Niccole Rowe, BA, COTA
Aspire OT Founding Partner

Niccole Rowe, BA, COTA/L found her way to occupational therapy through her first profession in television news producing. She is grateful one story lead to changing to such an amazing profession as occupational therapy. She is in her 8th year of clinical practice. She treated for 4.5 years at an outpatient occupational therapy pain program. 

Niccole is currently an adjunct instructor for South College in Tennessee. She serves on the AOTA ad-hoc Leadership Development Committee and as a mentor in the Tennessee Occupational Therapy Association's Mentorship Program. Niccole was chosen for and completed AOTA’s Emerging Leader Development Program, and is the recipient of the AOTA 2020 Gary Kielhofner Emerging Leader Award. 


Niccole and Kimberly, together, developed a successful outpatient occupational therapy pain program. They have authored two continuing education articles on the subject of chronic pain and opioid guidelines. Kim and Niccole were honored to serve as co-authors for AOTA's official position statement "The Role of Occupational Therapy in Pain Management" published in 2021. They have also served as contributing authors to an occupational therapy textbook on the same subject of OT in the treatment of pain. They have traveled across the country serving as instructors for various courses on the subject of pain and non-pharmacological interventions for the treatment of pain.  
Photo Kimberly Breeden, MS, OTR
Kimberly Breeden, MS, OTR
Aspire OT Founding Partner

Kimberly Breeden, MS, OTR/L has 28 years of experience working in occupational therapy in a variety of settings. She has an extensive background in clinical program development, leadership, administration and reimbursement. Kimberly served as clinical lead for an outpatient occupational therapy pain program for 5 years.

Outside of the clinic, Kimberly has served as the Vice-Chair for the Eastern District TNOTA, is a founding past member of the Tennessee Falls Prevention Coalition, participated in AOTA’s Leadership Development for Middle Managers cohort in 2017, and St. Mary’s Health System Leadership Program Cohort in 2006. Kimberly has earned a certificate as a Stepping On Leader, CarFit Certified Technician, and Physical Agent Modalities Certified. 2016 PainWeek Scholarship Recipient, and is a member of the Phi Beta Epsilon Honor Society. She received her life coach certificate from IAP Career College in 2021.

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