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Pandemic Can’t Stop EKU’s Advocacy for Students

A male EKU student in suit and tie works on a laptop

Eastern Kentucky University has a long-standing reputation of going the extra mile to ensure student success. While COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of life, and especially for students, EKU professors have made sure students continue to gain valuable educational experiences and graduate prepared to enter the workforce.  

One example of professors advocating for students is EKU alumna and Occupational Therapy Professor Casey Humphrey. When students lost their fieldwork placements last spring as a result of COVID-19, Humphrey did not simply throw in the towel. As the academic fieldwork coordinator for the Occupational Therapy program, she worked around the clock to find students internships at schools, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. 

“If that was me and I was in the student’s position, I would need someone to be my advocate, so it wasn’t an option, I had to do that for them,” she said.

Humphrey used her network of colleagues, alumni and professional acquaintances to find internship opportunities for all 75 students who were unable to complete their placements when the pandemic made its way to the United States. 

“I made the decision that I was not going to give up. I would call and call until someone said yes,” said Humphrey, “It was a creative process, I came up with modifications to the fieldwork experience so they would still meet department policies while being COVID-19 compliant.”

Once all 75 students had their placements, Humphrey went right back to work finding placements for the next 73 students starting their fieldwork in January. While the ability to locate placements has become easier, she said, there are still many disruptions from COVID-related illness and quarantine impacting students. She’s been working closely with students to modify fieldwork timeframes, due dates and discuss appropriate ways to make up time to adjust to the ongoing impact of the pandemic. 

As the School of Opportunity, EKU remains committed to offering exceptional academics and a quality college experience, regardless of the challenges. EKU’s faculty and staff, such as Humphrey, embody this mission, prioritizing student success and opportunity above all else.  

If you’re looking for a community of support in your college education, you’ll find it at Eastern Kentucky University. We want you to achieve your dreams, and we’re here to help you make it happen. Make an appointment today to chat with an admissions counselor.  

Published on February 25, 2021

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