ACC Student Spotlight: Esther Shepphard


While many of Esther Shepphard's American Career Collegeo ccupational therapy assistant classmates posed for selfies or chatted after the chort's pinning ceremony, Shepphard went around the room holding a blue shirt and a pen.

She handed the shirt to classmates and instructors, and asked them to sign it or write something on it — like a wearable yearbook.

"This is my family," Shepphard said, while one of her instructors signed her shirt. "It's a celebration and I want to be able to look at this and remember today and use it to help me in the future."

Shepphard and her 37 classmates were taking the next step of their OTA program — two 10-week terms of fieldwork. Shepphard, who worked in rehabilitation for more than 20 years in her native Columbia, got visibly emotional when she received her OTA pin.

"This pinning ceremony is for the instructors to tell us that we're ready to be able to go and start the second part of our education journey," she said. "I've been looking forward to this for a long time."

Why did you choose to join the occupational therapy assistant program?

I like to serve. I think that is my passion, to help others, to serve others, to be useful to society, so I think occupational therapy gives that to me and fulfills my need to be a giver. I wanted to have a career where I would be able to interact with people, give the best of me and make a difference in someone else's life.

What's the hardest part about being an OTA?

You have challenges. You're dealing with people and you will find here and there some personalities and situations that will be new to you, but they prepare you so well to overcome and be a problem-solver, and to go ahead and deliver. There's no field that doesn't present a challenge and this field is no different.

What advice do you have for new OTA students?

You make the decision to be an OTA and you will never be sorry. You're going to be fulfilled. If you are the kind of person who is a giving person and who likes to help, this is the right place to be. 

ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student. For graduation rates, median debt of graduates completing this program and other important information, visit

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