Three Different Practice Directions for Graduates in

Master of Rehabilitation Science

MRSc 2008 Winter Grads (left-right): Sue Stanton (associate professor/ program coordinator) and Alyssa Barrie. Unable to attend: Astrid St. Pierre and Deirdre Thornton  

Completing a master's degree while working is never easy. These three graduates of the UBC Master of Rehabilitation Science program accomplished it in their own individual ways and for a variety of reasons.

About the Graduates 

Alyssa Barrie who was a member of the last baccalaureate cohort to graduate in occupational therapy at UBC decided to barrel on through to obtain her master's, not knowing at the time that this credential would make her entry to practice in the United States much easier. Last Spring, shortly after Alyssa completed the requirements to graduate, she and her fiancé moved to Texas. Although she misses her work and the support of her colleagues at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children in Vancouver she is now working as an occupational therapist at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas. Alyssa's research was based on her work at Sunny Hill and the prioritization of students with handwriting difficulties.

Read about Alyssa's research: School-based indicators for identification and prioritization of students with handwriting difficulties for referral to occupational therapy


Astrid St. Pierre said, “I am pleased to state that my job title during and after my master’s is ‘occupational therapist’." A dedicated practitioner, Astrid works at Vancouver Children’s Hospital in the Cardiac Sciences and Home Tracheostomy and Ventilation programs. With a focus on pediatric feeding and swallowing, it comes as no surprise that her research centred on identifying the risk of feeding and nutritional difficulties in infants with congenital heart disease. Astrid presented the results of her research at the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference in June, 2009.

Read about Astrid's research: Content validation of the Infant Feeding and Nutrition Checklist (IFNC:CHD) to Identify Risk of Feeding and Nutrition Difficulties in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease


Deirdre Thornton was one of our learners who decided that working and doing a master's wasn't quite enough. She managed to have two children at the same time! Pre-kids, she was an occupational therapist providing work hardening services to injured workers in a program called Recovery in Motion (RIM) at Sunnybrook's, Holland Orthopaedic & Arthritic Centre in Toronto.  She currently reports loving her role as a stay-at-home mom. However, in the New Year, she plans to use the results of her research project to explore opportunities to develop a private practice that will provide occupational therapists with a resource to enhance evidence-based practice and knowledge transfer. The focus will be in the area of injured worker rehabilitation and ideally she hopes it will be a home-based opportunity!

Read about Deirdre's research: Professional development practices of therapists working in injured worker rehabilitation