Student Profiles, Class of 2025

Kevin Bandt

Kevin BandtKevin Bandt is originally from Fort Valley, Georgia and graduated from Jacksonville University with a Bachelor’s in Kinesiological Sciences. He chose JU’s OT program because of the smaller cohort size, wonderful facilities, and amazing faculty and professors. Kevin was first introduced to Occupational Therapy through an OT who worked alongside his mother, a pharmacist, at a hospital in Georgia. He later worked with OT students during his undergraduate internship with Brooks Rehabilitation in the Neuro Recovery Center. During his undergraduate program, Kevin also competed on the Varsity Clay Shooting program at JU and is currently the Assistant Coach for the program. After graduation he plans to specialize in hand therapy in an orthopedic setting.

Nancy Brian

Nancy BrianNancy Brian is originally from Newberry, FL. She attended the University of Florida, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, with a minor in Innovation, as a part of the Innovation Academy. After graduating, Nancy began working at UF Health Shands Hospital as a Rehab Aide, where her love and passion for Occupational Therapy began. She saw first-hand the impact that occupational therapy has on both pediatric and adult patients, hospitalized in various levels of care. Nancy chose Jacksonville University’s OTD program because of its dedicated faculty and staff, small class size, facilities, and hands-on practice. She is excited to one day help individuals in gaining their independence and purposefully participating in the things they care about. After graduation, Nancy hopes to work in pediatrics and is passionate about low vision therapy.

Lauren Brooks

Lauren BrooksLauren Brooks is originally from Port Salerno Florida. She graduated from Indian River State College in Human Services. She has always been interested in the mental health side of occupational therapy and how someone’s mental state impacts their physical state. She first found occupational therapy when she was twelve and since then that is all she wanted to be. She specifically would like to be in a geriatric setting like an assisted living facility. Her observation hours at The Palms Nursing and Rehab really showed her the value of being present for your client both emotionally and therapeutically.


Kristopher (Gage) Burns

Gage BurnsKristopher (Gage) Burns is from Hope, Arkansas, and received his Bachelor’s in Exercise Science at Southern Arkansas University. He chose JU because of JU’s amazing reputation and location. He completed his internship of 540 hours at Temple Memorial Pediatric Center in Texarkana, Texas and had a blast doing it. After graduation, Gage would love to work with spinal cord injuries or pediatrics. He suffered a T-12 incomplete spinal cord injury at the age of six and had to undergo both OT and PT, and one of his six younger siblings had to undergo OT for seizure complications. He would like to help pass on the care he received when he needed it the most to others who are in a similar position as he once was.  


Amarachi Charles-Okezie

Amarachi Charles-OkezieAmarachi Charles-Okezie is originally from Nigeria and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, IN, with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant. She chose JU because of its location, student-to-professor ratio in class, and because the professors/staff that are teaching have expertise and experience in different practice areas related to the field of occupational therapy. Additionally, she learned from current students how dedicated the professors are to making the students understand the learning material, which she knew was important to her for learning at a school where she is attaining her degree. Her decision to pursue OT as a career path comes from attending one of the few elementary schools in Nigeria that advocated for the needs of kids with disabilities and those on the Autism spectrum in the classroom. Furthermore, she also desires to help people in different settings using their occupations and things they find meaningful to help them reach milestones, prevent further decline in their conditions, and enable them to live. After graduation, she intends to work either in the pediatric outpatient services with kids with an Autism diagnosis or developmental delays, or in the inpatient unit at a hospital. She is also interested in collaborating with patients/clients with neurologic diagnoses such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, or individuals before or after heart surgeries. For these diagnoses, she is open to working with pediatric or geriatric populations. 

Madison Duncanson

Madison DuncansonMadison Duncanson is from Gainesville, FL and graduated from the University of Florida in 2022 with a Bachelor of Health Science with a degree in Health Science and a minor in Disabilities in Society. She chose JU’s OTD program because of the small cohort sizes, diverse faculty specializations, and the occupational therapy house which set the program apart from others and provided countless opportunities for growth and success. Madison was first exposed to occupational therapy while babysitting a young boy with autism who received OT services, and she was amazed with the progress he made over the course of his therapy sessions and was then inspired to pursue the profession. She loves the creativity and persistence that all OT’s possess as they work to help their clients in every way possible. She believes that she wants to work with children with developmental disabilities after graduation from JU. However, is open to other paths and settings as well as she knows that she will have the chance to make an impact regardless of which population she works with. 

Sara Flowerday

Sara FlowerdaySara Flowerday is originally from Rochester, NY. She graduated from Jacksonville University with her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in May of 2022. Sara chose to continue her education at Jacksonville University because of the of the outdoor environment, campus size and the supportive staff and faculty. She chose the OT program here due to the small cohort size, opportunities offered, and the wide range of backgrounds in OT that the staff holds. Sara was exposed to OT during her experience working as a substitute teacher’s aide in a primary school education setting. Sara fell in love with the impact the OT’s had on the kids she worked with and their approach to improve their lives. After graduation she hopes to work as a pediatric occupational therapist for children with special needs in the school or outpatient setting or as an OT in the NICU.

Kayleigh Hahn

Kayleigh HahnKayleigh Hahn is originally from Atlanta, GA, and graduated from Lander University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science. She chose JU’s OT program because of the smaller cohort to build close relationships with and the accessibility to advanced technology. During undergraduate, Kayleigh interned at an outpatient pediatric clinic as well as observed OT through a skilled nursing facility. After completing her undergraduate, she worked as a rehabilitation technician in an acute care hospital setting. This is where Kayleigh was originally exposed to OT and saw the incredible impact OT had on the lives of some of the clients and how personable and client-driven OT truly is. Now, she wants to use her skills to impact the lives of others as well. Upon graduation, she would like to work with the geriatric population in a hospital or nursing facility setting. 

Eden Hawes

Eden Hawes

Eden Hawes is originally from Panama City Beach, FL, and graduated from Georgia State University with an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science. She chose the JU OTD program due to its accreditation, smaller competitive cohort size, professors with backgrounds in multiple specialties, and the OT House. She was initially exposed to OT by her friend’s mom, a geriatrics OT and when her grandfather was working with an OT. She completed a 375-hour internship with a Hand Occupational Therapist and loved the profession and the creativity that came with it. She desires to become an occupational therapist because of the physical, mental, and emotional healing of enabling someone to gain independence by doing what they love. After graduation, she is still deciding on which specialty to pursue but is interested in hand therapy, traumatic brain injuries, and animal-assisted therapy.  

Camryn Landis

Camryn LandisCamryn Landis is from Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from The University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health. She chose JU’s OT program because of the opportunity to earn a doctorate degree in a small, close-knit program. Camryn was originally exposed to OT through observation at an early childhood intervention program. She was amazed by the creative aspect of the family-centered care the OT’s provided. As an undergraduate, she volunteered in the Dominican Republic, where she worked at pop-up clinics and shadowed medical professionals. She also spent time at Children’s Rehabilitation Services of Alabama, where she saw the evaluation and early intervention side of OT. Camryn is still deciding on which area of OT to focus on after graduation, but she is interested in mental health, pediatrics, and traumatic brain injuries.

Lexus Lealie

Lexus LealieLexus Lealie graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. She chose JU because the faculty truly strive to give their students the best opportunities for success. The professors are kind, patient, and have so much knowledge to share. Also, JU has Anatomage tables which is a technologically advanced system for viewing anatomy and is a formidable experience. At JU, she believes she can choose a discipline with confidence and use the knowledge and expertise from her professors to excel in the field. She loves to socialize by talking to others and getting to know them on a personal basis and OT is a perfect career for this. Not only will she be helping people be their best selves, but she will be having fun. 

Alexandra Lewis

Alexandra LewisAlexandra Lewis is originally from Hilliard, FL, and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s in health education and minors in Disabilities in Society and Educational Studies. She chose JU's OT program because of the location, her connection with current students and faculty, and the technology available to help the students succeed. Alexandra was first exposed to OT in high school while volunteering in a special education elementary classroom. She continued volunteering at elementary, middle, and high school classes throughout undergraduate. She was also the mentoring director for a program that matched college students to elementary, middle, and high school students in the Alachua County school system. After graduation, Alexandra plans to work with a pediatric population, specifically with children with developmental or physical disabilities. 

Madeline Luke

Madeline LukeMadeline Luke is originally from Crestview, Florida and graduated from the University of Florida with an undergraduate degree in Health Education and Behavior with a focus in Community Health Promotion. She chose JU’s OT program because of the small size of the program, which would allow her to have more personable interactions with professors and fellow students. Also, JU’s OT professors are invested in ensuring that their students are fully prepared to enter the OT profession after graduation. Madeline was originally exposed to OT after shadowing an Occupational Therapist in an outpatient pediatric setting. As an undergraduate, she volunteered at HOPE- Horses Helping People in Archer, FL and watched an Occupational Therapist utilize hippotherapy in her treatment sessions. She also was a student intern at UF Health Shands Inpatient Rehab and assisted Physical and Occupational Therapists by performing the duties of a rehab aide. After graduation she plans to work in pediatrics, specially within the NICU. 

Alyssa McDermott

Alyssa McDermottAlyssa McDermott is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from Maryville University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She chose JU’s OT program because of the small cohort, advanced technology, and doctorate curriculum. She became interested in OT after experiencing a wrist injury. Throughout her undergraduate experience she participated in A.B.L.E., which is a disability awareness and advocacy club. She also worked as a therapy technician for ApexNetwork Physical Therapy, where she found a passion for hand therapy and helping patients through recovery. She feels that her psychology degree helped her to connect with patients and understand everyone’s unique journey in therapy.  Upon graduation, Alyssa is interested in working in the NICU with premature infants or in a hand therapy setting. 

Sarah Sheahan

Sarah SheahanSarah Sheahan is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences along with minors in Medical Sciences and Psychology. She chose JU’s OTD program because of their unique appreciation for continued innovation as well as the faculty’s continued research. Sarah was first introduced to occupational therapy through being a patient herself. At fourteen she was diagnosed with a rare chronic pain disorder and underwent extensive rehabilitation to retrain her nervous system and regain function of her body. Through her treatment she collaborated with occupational therapists and was inspired by how they treated her for the person she is instead of merely a condition or illness. From that point on Sarah knew she wanted to give the same holistic treatment to others who endure life-changing illness and adversities. She understands what it is like to lose the ability to do the things we want and need to do daily and hopes that her experience will allow her future clients feel less alone. She is excited to join the JU OT community! 

Raymond (Brody) Shockley

Raymond (Brody) ShockleyRaymond (Brody) Shockley is from Ocean City, Maryland. He graduated from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. He chose JU’s OTD program because of the intimate school environment where staff felt like a family that would be supportive, encouraging and committed to his graduate career. Additionally, the OTD faculty background was accomplished and diverse. His intense internship in pediatrics was an experience that moved him to move forward in the path of occupational therapy. Through this and other experiences, he saw the many positive impacts that occupational therapy can bring. Upon graduation, he wishes to explore the fields of hand therapy and neurological dysfunctions or return to pediatrics.

Hannah Wedding

Hannah WeddingHannah Wedding is originally from Jacksonville, Florida and she graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree of Health Science. She chose JUs program for the location being close to home and the small cohort size to have more personal one on one interactions. She was exposed to OT from her middle school research project where she was paired with an OT in her community and fell in love with the profession. During undergraduate she shadowed a pediatric OT and hand therapy specialist. Also, during undergraduate, she was a gymnastics coach where she taught private lessons to children with autism. After graduation she hopes to collaborate with patients of all ages in the neurological, developmental disorders, or special needs community.