As a liberal studies student, Erica Mackey learns a variety of lessons in the classroom to help prepare her for graduate school and her dream of becoming an occupational therapist. In fact, she decided to come to Florida College specifically because it would help her reach those goals.
“Florida College fit my educational goals,” Erica said. “I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to go to grad school and do occupational therapy, so I had to make sure that wherever I went for my undergraduate education would work for me.”
Erica grew up around children with disabilities, and those experiences inspired her desire to become an occupational therapist. While she was in high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Erica volunteered at a facility that allowed children with disabilities to go horseback riding. She quickly fell in love with the kids she was working with and enjoyed watching how excited they were when they accomplished something new.
“I love kids and seeing how they can grow in situations with someone helping them and guiding them along,” Erica said. “I feel like they have a strong desire to work and they have a tenacity that is sometimes overlooked.”
Someday, Erica hopes to use her skills as an occupational therapist to benefit children with disabilities. She is looking forward to using her liberal studies background to help her treat the whole patient, rather than focusing on one aspect of a child’s disability.
“One of the cool things about occupational therapy is about being creative with therapy and applying it to the whole life,” Erica said. “I feel like the liberal studies program is a microcosm of that. I’ve gotten a broad education in a lot of different areas, and I’ve been able to see how they all relate to each other.”
Erica works hard in the classroom, and she is constantly looking for ways to apply her liberal studies components, behavioral science, history and physical education, to her future work as an occupational therapist. Her efforts have been rewarded with membership in Florida College’s two academic honor societies, Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Chi.
In addition to her studies, Erica has been extensively involved in campus life. She has been a part of student body government, societies, Alpha Club and Camp Friends. This year, she is also serving as the academic ambassador for the liberal studies program. Erica’s involvement has helped her to develop strong relationships with a variety of Florida College students, faculty and staff.
“Florida College has given has given me a network of Christians who I love and respect and can look to as mentors across the country,” Erica said. “I’m thankful for all the relationships I’ve built and how they have challenged me to be a better servant for the Lord.”
Erica hopes to use both the personal and professional knowledge she has gained at Florida College to spend her life in service to God and man.
That’s how Erica Mackey is living His way.