ellen joerger

Ellen Joerger

Lifelong Learning Is My Ambrosian Value

Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Class of 2020

"As a practitioner, I understand the importance of lifelong learning that was established in the OTD program."


The transition from student to practitioner can be challenging. Luckily Ellen Joerger '17, '20 OTD, OTR/L, had at her fingertips the expertise and mentorship that the St. Ambrose OTD program faculty provides. The experiential knowledge Joerger received while at SAU acted as the ultimate guide to help discover her professional identity.
Ellen Joerger helping a student

Education Never Ends


In 2017, with a completed bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Ambrose with minors in biology, ethics, and occupational justice, Joerger was not quite done with her pursuit of higher learning. She knew she wanted a future in occupational therapy. "I was able to complete my undergraduate degree one year earlier than expected, accelerating my entrance into the OTD program. As a practitioner, I understand the importance of lifelong learning that was established in the OTD program." Joerger currently works as an Occupational Therapist for Spring Lake Park Schools in Minneapolis, Minn.

ellen with student

Doctoral Capstone

The Consummate Bridgehead Into Professional Identity

Within the OTD program, students are provided the opportunity to unearth their career interests through a Doctoral Capstone project. "With my interest in family-centered interventions for the early childhood population, I researched Early Intervention Providers' Perspectives of Family Guided Routines Based Intervention." Joerger had the opportunity to share her findings with the Iowa Department of Education at the Iowa Occupational Therapy Association Conference in 2019 and the American Occupational Therapy Conference in 2021.

OTD Curriculum

exterior ambrose hall

Why SAU?


What makes us stand out among the rest? The answer is simple: personalized learning opportunities. "At SAU, the faculty get to know students, creating personalized learning opportunities. The faculty know your strengths and needs and can challenge you to grow to your potential."

Why SAU?

Words of Advice


Joerger hopes to mentor prospective OTD students through fieldwork opportunities, but in the meantime, she offers this advice to prospective students: "Appreciate the depth of knowledge within the OTD faculty, and take advantage of opportunities to form connections, learn, grow, and be challenged by them."

Learn more about the Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy at SAU

30+ Years of Excellence

Where you receive your doctorate-level training in occupational therapy is important. At St. Ambrose University, we've trained hundreds of OTs since our program began in 1989, and year after year, our program reported a 100% pass rate on the national licensing exam.

See pass rates for the OTD program

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.