Congratulations to our newest SPARC Award winner, Brindy Klym, OT, Florida Gulf Coast University, Grad Date: May 2019.  Read her winning essay below:

Daily, I do my best to live by Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I envision a world of greater creativity, compassion, and empathy, and strive to embody these traits in order to help others live happier, healthier lives.

My career began as an elementary education teacher. I taught for five years, inspiring children with special needs and those learning English to embrace the world and make a positive impact on others. I strived every day to show up in utmost presence, enthusiasm, and love for my students. I taught over one hundred kindergarteners and first graders, guiding with a sense of adventure and commitment to life-long learning. Each day I was committed to bringing a “spark” to my classroom, a spark that ignited a sense of optimism, confidence, and love for learning in the children that I taught. This spark was evident in my students when they came back to visit me years later, and their families still express gratitude for it to this day as the young children grow into middle schoolers.

While working with students’ with special needs, I discovered occupational therapy (OT) and felt I had discovered my purpose. With my spirit of adventure, sincere care for others, and commitment to personal improvement, I began my pursuit of a career in OT at Florida Gulf Coast University. My commitment to helping others evolved into teaching in a new way: guiding individuals to maximize their functional potential in all aspects of life. OT delights and inspires me because I am able to help others find purpose and independence in their lives. OT is more than a profession; it is an opportunity to teach others holistically and facilitate change at the individual, group, and community level. I feel empowered by my decision to break out of my comfort zone and follow my heart into a new profession, despite the financial and academic challenges it brings. I will never stop learning and will hold strong to my commitment to helping spark a confidence in others that ignites opportunities, happiness, and independence. My purpose is to change the world by inspiring others and teaching a diverse range of individuals to make life better for themselves through occupational therapy.

I appreciate any and all support received and am committed to paying it forward through my commitment to learning so that I may better serve others through OT.