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USD Occupational Therapy Student Selected for Internship with National Association

A closeup of Gunnar Olson with European homes and boats behind him. Gunnar Olson, a student in the USD Department of Occupational Therapy, has been selected to serve as an intern for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

VERMILLION, S.D. – Gunnar Olson, a student in the University of South Dakota’s occupational therapy program, has been selected to serve as an intern for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Olson, from North Mankato, Minnesota, is a second-year student in the USD OT doctorate program. He is specializing in pediatric occupational therapy.

Olson’s internship focuses on AOTA’s Children and Youth Special Interest Section. He will be developing resources for AOTA members and supporting evidence-based practice in different areas of pediatric OT practice.

Olson is excited about being selected for the prestigious internship. “This internship provides me with a unique opportunity to build my clinical reasoning, as well as my advocacy, leadership and communication skills," Olson said. "An important aspiration of mine is to become a leader within the field of occupational therapy, both in practice and professional associations. This internship helps me pursue those goals, even before graduation.”

USD’s Department of Occupational Therapy was one of the first OT programs in the country to offer a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree. Students in the program can earn a practice specialization in one of four areas: pediatrics, mental health, neuroscience & rehabilitation and rural/underserved communities.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News