North Florida sisters turn occupational therapy in to family tradition at Keiser University Tallahassee

A tradition of caring for others is growing strong in one North Florida family. Three sisters are tracing each other’s footsteps to Keiser University Tallahassee.

Amber Harrison is a graduate from the university’s Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant program and is now working as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Panama City.

Her younger sister, Cristin Baxter, is also a recent graduate and working as an OTA in Marianna.

And now, their youngest sister, Mikayla Bozeman, is pursuing an Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree at KU Tallahassee, working towards a career in the same field.

“I just saw how much more creative they were with their patients and the things they could do with them, how engaged they were, and how personable they were with their patients,” Bozeman said.

Occupational Therapy Assistants provide services to individuals affected by developmental, physical, emotional, or social disabilities, and help them achieve maximum independence.

In their small hometown of Grand Ridge outside of Marianna, Baxter says little is known about the industry. Working in home healthcare, she says, allows her to do something she was meant to do: help people.

“We figure out what they need and what they don’t need, and what they need help with. At the end of the day I’ll get to discharge somebody, and they’re all happy and smiles because they’re able to move around and adapt to their house,” Baxter said. “It’s very fulfilling at the end of the day knowing that you got to help somebody.”

Giving back and serving in the healthcare field passing through the bloodlines, Bozeman says she hopes to follow her older sisters by caring for geriatric patients.

“You’re helping other people, that’s obviously going to make you feel good. In turn, you do something positive, positive things happen to you,” Bozeman said. “There’s a lot of people out there that need assistance that don’t get it. I feel like every one person that can contribute to OTA or OT, they’re making a big difference.”

As they begin to find their footing in new careers, their connection through OTA is helping the three remain close despite the miles between them.

“We talk just about every day,” Bozeman said. “I have them to lean on if I have questions or something, or if I don’t understand something they can explain it to me.”

They hope to raise awareness of Occupational Therapy in their hometown, and set an example for the next generation.

“It’s now a thing you can teach people, and educate them on Occupational Therapy,” Baxter said. “It also brings my kids specifically, because I have children, they get to see, momma went to school, momma did good, momma works on our community, she takes care of people.”

Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a  designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 5 in the U.S. in Social Mobility by U.S. News And World Report in 2022.


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